What you need to know:
- The travelling spouse too can barely hide their excitement at the chance to be away from the normal routine.
- The missing starts from around the seventh day, and by then, the spouse that had travelled is on the way back.
“You know that saying, absence makes the heart grow fonder?” Bernard asks, “It is true in every sense.”
Bernard is not talking about a one week trip out of town that your spouse takes and you feign sadness at their departure.
I know I do when I hug him and whisper, “I’ll miss you.” At that time, my thoughts are on all the pillows I will have to myself. Secretly, most of us are happy to get a breather, bed and all to ourselves and finally, radio on throughout the night.
The travelling spouse too can barely hide their excitement at the chance to be away from the normal routine. The missing starts from around the seventh day, and by then, the spouse that had travelled is on the way back.
“We take our spouses for granted. A lot.” Bernard continues.
He is talking about two years of grief. Two years of not talking, sharing, laughing, loving and fighting with your spouse. Two years ago, Bernard lost his wife through a road accident.
Loving a woman
“I sit and watch couples and sometimes I am tempted to walk up to a man and tell him to really treasure his wife. Men take for granted the big and the little things that their wives do.”
Being a widower has taught him more about loving a woman than he ever learnt while married.
“I took so much for granted. I wish I had been more loving, I wish I had told my wife, more often, how much she meant to me and to our children,”
Bernard struggles to organise their life – his and the children’s – but says there is always some form of confusion.
“Either someone’s vests long outgrew them and they only notice the morning when we’re in a rush, or the salt ran out and I only find out before serving dinner.”
His late wife used to buy everyone’s clothing and two years later, he realised that they needed new underwear only when his sons mentioned that their current ones were all worn out or too tight. He went shopping and got each of them three pairs.
“I didn’t know that for kid’s clothes, you have to check age for the fit.”
Missing mum’s cooking
He had picked three sizes too big for the older son and three sizes too small for the younger one. He returned the underwear to the store, hoping for an exchange only to be informed that did not exchange underwear.
The attendant looked at him as if saying, “Who doesn’t know that?”
As he stood there, embarrassed, he wondered how his wife knew all these things. She managed their home effortlessly while also running a thriving business.
Bernard was raised in a typical traditional homestead, where the men never walked into the kitchen. They simply found hot sumptuous meals waiting for them on the table and dived in.
He thought Githeri was a simple enough meal to make, but has long learned that a particular bean will give them all gas while another does not. He often confuses the two!
“I can never get my meals right. I was not taught the basics of cooking.”
His children eat food he has cooked to survive, and are not shy to mention how much they miss their mum’s cooking, something they bring up the second they take a bite of their dad’s meal offering.
Managing a home
Decisions such as meal portions might seem easy enough, but once, Bernard decided to make chips for his boys. He ended up filling all their food dishes and sufurias with loads of fries that eventually went to waste.
“I thought my job was to provide, but my wife did everything, really. She ran our home and also contributed to the finances. I wish I was more involved at the home front when she was alive.”
Bernard says that managing a home is a tiring affair, that with children in the picture, one cannot decide to forego a meal or rewind dirty clothes.
He is regretful of the times he ever raised his voice with his wife.
“Kuzoeana is not good at all, especially us men, once you are married, losing a wife completely disorients you. If your wife is still with you, please love her. She is a gift.”
Bernard reminds us to appreciate the time we have with our spouse, a wakeup call for many of us because as we have since come to learn that familiarity breeds contempt.
Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage. email@example.com