Your Family Matters, PASTOR CHANDA
WEDNESDAY, August 12, 2015: It has been a terrible last few days and Iâ€™m glad things are over. If only my cousin, Esther, knew the work she was leaving behind when she died because of the wrong decisions she made when she was still alive.
Esther studied in Europe and missed out on the years her peers were getting married. She only settled in a love relationship in her early 30s. Her widowed mother only discovered this when her siblings told her that a guy had moved in with her.
Of course, this did not sit well with Estherâ€™s mother, who quickly summoned her to correct the situation. Estherâ€™s response was, â€œMum, itâ€™s my life. Leave me alone. Iâ€™m not a child. Iâ€™m an adult. I have a right to do with my life as I please.â€ Clearly, it was a deadlock.
A time came when we heard that Esther was in hospital and that she had had to undergo emergency surgery. No one was stating plainly what the problem was. Later, I was told that she had had an ectopic pregnancy. This only made her mother more furious.
In May, I got a wedding invitation card from Esther. She had dropped it off at home. I called her mother to find out about this. The mother was infuriated. As she spoke, I almost thought the phone was going to melt in my hands and so I asked to go and visit her instead.
Iâ€™m glad I did because the call would have finished all my talk time. To cut the long story short, Estherâ€™s mom was informed about the coming wedding like all of us. She protested saying that there were cultural procedures that needed to be followed.
Estherâ€™s mother said it was a great offence to the family for a man to â€œmove inâ€ with their daughter. It was like breaking into a home. It was day light robbery and punishable by cultural laws. So, the first issue was that Estherâ€™s boyfriend needed to pay for this.
Secondly, Estherâ€™s boyfriend had impregnated her outside marriage. That was also an offence in cultural laws. So he needed to be summoned to account for this. These matters needed to be processed before negotiations for marriage could even start.
Estherâ€™s response was, â€œMum, itâ€™s my life. I am now an adult. I made those decisions. So, why should people want to kick up a fuss about it?â€ The mother tried to argue that no one is an island. It might be your life but it is not your life alone. Esther could not listen.
Later, Estherâ€™s mother decided to summon her daughterâ€™s boyfriend but instead he sent his friends to meet her. They told the mother, â€œMadam, those are two consenting adults. They have a right to marry whether you like it or not!â€ That was how the matter was closed.
So, Estherâ€™s mother boycotted the wedding. I felt it wiser to keep away as well. The wedding took place in May. Sadly, three months after the wedding – last week on Friday – Esther was involved in a fatal car accident. Issues became very complicated.
We ended up with two funeral homes. The mother refused to go to the home where her daughter was living. Estherâ€™s husband tried to be stubborn but his parents prevailed on him. After emergency family meetings, the funeral was moved to Estherâ€™s brotherâ€™s home.
Estherâ€™s husbandâ€™s relatives knew the gravity of his offence and were willing to pay for â€œdamagesâ€ in order to cool tempers down. Estherâ€™s uncles were now even accusing Estherâ€™s husband of murdering their niece. A whole day was spent in these negotiations.
The final straw that convinced Estherâ€™s husband that you cannot overlook the family was when it was time to appoint an administrator for Estherâ€™s estate. The magistrate insisted he wanted both sides of the family to consent to the chosen person.
It was a lesson that Estherâ€™s husband learnt the hard way. It may be your life, but it is not your life alone. God brings us into this world through a family. We must make decisions bearing in mind that we belong to a family that must be honoured in those decisions.
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Your Family Matters, PASTOR CHANDA