He is gone forever, by Dozie Obiaku.

Education

She went into the house to get something but the sight she beheld stood her transfixed momentarily.

She was shocked beyond description.

It was the body of her husband hanging from a rope tied to their ceiling fan. Finally she gave out a spine chilling wail that attracted the attention of the neighbours. They (neighbours) rushed into their 2-room apartment to know the cause of such wailing.

Indeed they were shocked themselves.

Some of her fellow women were consoling her while some cried with her. Some of the male neighbours made plans and contacted the deceased’s family and the police.

His body was taken away.

He left no suicide note and that increased her misery as she couldn’t fathom what could push her beloved husband into taking his own life. In her grief, she kept wondering why such an ugly thing happened. Could it be diabolic?

Was he murdered and hung there? Was it spiritual remote control? All those and more ran through her mind as she tried to wrap her head around the mystery.

But the answers lay with her.

She was the architect of her problems. She killed him indirectly.

He was an Okada (commercial motorcycle) mechanic before Okada was banned in the state. That put him out of job.

But before his ‘joblessness’, he was in his own way a loving father and husband. He made sure his family lacked nothing. His three children attended an average private school in the area. Food was never scarce in their home. He made sure of that.

Rents were promptly paid, and other bills also. He visited his in-laws generously at intervals. Practically he provided his family with the basic needs of life and made them happy. During his fruitful years in the Okada business he opened a roadside restaurant for his wife and it was flourishing.

Then the table turned and the wife’s business became the source of the family’s livelihood.

That was the beginning of his end.

Verbal abuse became his plight. Within a few months, the once darling husband became ‘’a useless man’’. She didn’t mind what she said to him, after all she was the boss and his benefactor. The Bible quote ‘’He who cannot take care of his family is worse than an infidel’’ became a resonant song to his ears. He heard it every day.

The most heart-wrecking part to him was that the place of the verbal abuse and insults was not discriminated. She said it to him anytime and anywhere.

He became the wife of the house and did all the house chores just to prove his usefulness. Sometimes he served in her restaurant seeking relevance. Yet it was nothing as far as it didn’t yield money directly.

As time went on his mind started playing on him. He started believing he was truly useless. His thoughts were: “It could actually be true. They could actually be better off without me. A mouth less to feed could help.”

His initial plan was to run away from his family with no trace, but he couldn’t bear the shame.

Those thoughts were still on his mind when the switch flipped.

On one of the days he served in her restaurant, she told him she regretted marrying him. She told him bluntly that her greatest mistake in life was choosing to marry him out of all the reasonable and useful men who sought her hand in marriage. That was in the presence of her costumers.

She had helped him decide.

He went home before ahead of his family members. The children were in school and his wife at her restaurant.

The result was what she beheld.

Now that was just a story but can we reflect on it?

Women, how often have you pushed your man to the edge with foul words? Are you waiting for his suicide before you change your ways? It must not be about financial incapacity. It could be sexual, educational or others.

Men, are you guilty of this? Have you been dehumanizing her with foul words because of certain inadequacy of hers? Change your ways before her corpse hangs.

Verbal abuse contributes to the increasing rate of depression and suicide.

We can help reduce it.

Let’s save humanity while we can.