My husband and I have spent years in New York, USA. Working our asses off and sending money home monthly to our families. At a point, my job as a hotel attendant was even paying more than my husband’s job. We were coming to Ghana once a while. Sometimes once in three years, other times, once in about five years. We had all our three children in the USA and we have basically built our lives together there. When my husband started having problems with his kidney, it placed a major strain on us. We weren’t sending money home as we usually did, and all the focus was on his health. He had to get back on his feet. Unfortunately, his health deteriorated and he started going for dialysis. Doctors informed us we needed a donor, but before we could even make another step, he died.
This is when my woes begun. His family put me through the worst form of hell I have ever been through. They called me a gold digger. They said I had bewitched their son and he had forgotten about them the moment he got married to me and went with me to the US. The stories were so many and my husband’s side of the family were bent on ‘punishing’ me for their son’s death and absence in their lives. They started forcing tradition on me. They were torturing me all in the name of widowhood rites. I had to stay in the room for three days without going out. I had to cover my hair and wear black for a year. They said I didn’t cry enough during my husband’s funeral. They said I was looking too good for a widow.
They said my eyes were not puffy enough. I had to stop wearing any form of jewelry except the black beads they had given to me. My late husband’s aunt was to come and stay with me in one of the houses we built together to see to it that I was following all the widowhood duties. At this point I had had enough. I told them I was calm because of the love I had for my husband, but I wasn’t going to allow them to torture me in the guise of tradition. My parents have all passed on. I allowed my younger brother and his wife to come and stay in the house. The other two houses have been rented. In the midst of the whole chaos, my three kids and I left back to the US one dawn. We would hold a memorial service for my husband in the US. I promised my brother I will return home a year later to patch things up with my husband’s family. For the meantime I needed him to stay in the house, or else they will take over and it will create further problems. My kids were terrified. This was the first time they had come to Ghana and they didn’t expect so much hostility in the family. My oldest is fourteen and the youngest is nine. When we got to the US, they told me to never return to Ghana again. They feared they will lose me too.
Now my brother calls me everyday. The pressure from my husband’s family is absurd. They want him to leave the house. They want to claim the house. I have all the documents that prove that all three houses are for me and my children. My husband has a will and it is clearly stated. I heard they are also harassing the tenants in the other houses to leave the house. If I resort to court, the relationship between my husband’s side of the family and my children will be destroyed forever. This is the last thing I want to happen. Already, the kids have developed a budding hatred for them. I am just numb right now. Why would family interfere so much in our lives when they weren’t even present when we were toiling and building the foundations for these houses?