Death of a spouse: Are women stronger than men?

Are women stronger than men when it comes to grieving and moving on after the death of a spouse?

I recently watched a YouTube video of a 19-year-old girl who became widowed after her also 19-year-old husband took his own life. According to her, they got pregnant at the age of 16, breaking the news to their loved ones wasn’t easy, but it eventually worked and they got officially marriage at the age of 19.

 

On the day of the tragedy, she returned home after spending part of the day visiting a friend. She sat with her husband and shared how the day had gone, they even started feeding the baby together.

 

This teen couple became famous for sharing their lives with millions of followers on social media.

 

In this narration she takes us back to when their second child was born, it seemed to have hit her husband hard. I want to imagine it was the male version of postpartum depression which is suffered by some women after giving birth. As much as the couple had agreed to have a second child, the reality came with a mix of emotions, anxiety and depression. He made several visits to a psychiatrist as his mental health deteriorated.

On a fateful day, he asked her to forgive him for all the wrongs he had committed, she sensed all was not well and knowing what he had been dealing with, she pledged to love and stick with him for life. After that hearty conversation and unsolicited apologies, he said he was going to take a bath, as she continued feeding the baby.

Thirty minutes later she went to check on her older child who was turning and tossing in bed then it occurred to her that he had not come out of the bathroom, so she walked there to check if he was alright but never found him. She called out his name and walked into the garage, right in the middle of the room his body was hanging from the ceiling. She cut the body loose and called for help. He didn’t have a pulse but it was a few days later that he breathed his last.

Being left alone with two children cannot be easy on anyone, even worse at 19, whether male or female.

I sat down with a widower recently and wanted to know how he coped with it and what he missed most about his wife who has been gone for five years. He said the quarrels and misunderstandings, whose contribution to the relationship he never noticed until they were no more. He also said he missed her cooking, strictness and general care. He confessed he always feels like women do better and live longer after the demise of a husband, but men do struggle for a longer time. He said they also are always vulnerable to other women who see them as an easy pick and needy.

The presence of children could make it even easier for a woman because she will just shift her focus to them. For a man, that complicates things for it means they have to learn how to shop for the household and get accustomed to being mother and father at the same time. Not many fathers take their children for play sessions. That too takes quite a bit of learning when mummy is not there. Do women cope better than men? Maybe.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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