Written by Tara Rana, Communications & Fundraising Officer
Jaya lost her pillar of strength when her husband passed away due to sudden high blood pressure. By this time, her son and daughter both were already in marriageable age. Eventually, her son got married and went to live with his wife’s family while Jaya lived with her daughter. When her daughter got married, Jaya tagged along and continued to live with her daughter’s family.
Jaya’s husband, ten years older to her, was a huge support to her. Together, they had a peaceful marriage. Jaya was a typical Indian wife who served her husband and raised their children. As a housewife she cooked and cleaned for her family and nursed them when they fell sick. She did this out of her unconditional love for them. She never, not even once, thought about her own welfare.
Now, that her husband was gone and her children moved on with their own lives, Jaya felt lost and displaced. At first, her son-in-law didn’t object her staying with them. However, as time passed by, her son-in-law was not very comfortable with the arrangement. Day after day he kept expressing his unhappiness about Jaya staying with them. Her daughter also was helpless in this situation.
Jaya used to receive a small amount of widow’s pension but it was not enough for her to rent a room and live on her own. Not wishing to cause trouble in her daughter’s marriage, one day, she decided to leave not knowing where she would go.
In busy and crowded Mathura Bus Station, a passerby noticed Jaya sitting alone and weeping. She had left all her documents and belongings behind and had taken to the streets. Fortunately, the kind person who noticed her at the station brought her to Maitri’s Old Age Home for Widows. Now Jaya has been living in the Home since August 2015 along with other widows who have similar stories like hers.
In the Home she is usually very quite and private. But whenever all the widows come together for meals, bhajan and other activities she smiles and interacts with them.
“I am happy in Maitri Ghar, here all my needs are taken care of. I don’t have to worry about where to sleep, what to eat and who will look after me when I am sick”.
Today, maybe her own family members whom she spent years nurturing are not around to support her but she has well wishers in Maitri Ghar and the staff who attend to her and ensure she lives with identity, dignity and respect and never ever feels alone.
Extend your support to widows like Jaya and help us sustain the Old Age Homes in Vrindavan and Radhakund, Mathura, India. We have some amazing donors and supporters who contribute to our cause but we need more of you to join the force to end atrocities and injustice that these destitute elderly women have to go through. They are being reduced to the mere status of ‘widows’. They could be more than that and live their lives with dignity – your help is so crucial in this endeavour. Please donate here.