Linda Akello is the first born among five children. Her father worked for the local government and her mother was a house wife and a petty trader. The family lived in a little trading centre in Oyam district in northern Uganda. From her childhood Linda was a well-disciplined girl. Being the first born, she was given many household responsibilities at an early age and she proved to be very responsible.
In the absence of her parents she was a good mother to her younger siblings. Her kind-heartedness, sociability and enterprising nature were not only a blessing to her immediate family, but to the entire village.
Linda did her primary and secondary schooling in local government schools. Within that educational setting she worked hard and performed better than several of her village-mates. It is a fact that if she was given more support, encouragement, conducive home environment and better teaching, she would have excelled in her studies. After finishing her High School education, Linda’s dream was to go to a nursing school and become a nurse.
Through a non-governmental organisation, Linda was fortunate to get financial support to join a nursing school in Kampala. Away from her home, she began to feel the absence of her parents and her brothers and sisters. In her free time she would sit alone and think about her parents and what they have done in her life. Though she always felt grateful for all they have done for her life, deep in her heart she felt that there was something she was missing in her growing moments. She felt that she truly missed parental love and attention especially that of her father.
Linda’s father was a community mobilizer, politician and a civil servant. He was a leading man in local politics and was always busy with several community activities. Their home was often filled with visitors who stayed late at night for meeting and chatting. The father’s drinking habits too kept children away from him. At her nursing school, conversing with her fellow students who spoke about the love and concern of their parents, Linda began to feel that she had been betrayed of parental love and attention as a child. She felt that even though they cared for her welfare, they did not express their love and attention to her which made her lonely and rejected. As the eldest child and a girl she began to brood over the missed love of her dad.
Now for the first time away from home she expected them to visit her periodically or at least meet her dad during his regular business visits to the city. But not seeing him was a big disappointment to her. He always excused himself because he is very busy. This confirmed to her that her father does not understand her feelings and does not have her in his heart. Thus her feeling for dad began to vanish speedily. She felt that there was a big vacuum in her life that needed to be filled. This created in her a sense of distrust to men and made her pessimistic about adult relationships. Consequently Linda put her future emotional life in jeopardy.
Linda graduated as a nurse and soon got employed as a staff nurse in a large private hospital. She put her heart and soul into her work and wanted to be appreciated as a dedicated nurse. She exhibited admirable compassion, patience, tenderness and sensitivity worthy of a nurse. She was known for her availability to all persons—doctors, patients and fellow staff members. Her friendship and hospitality was also reciprocated by others. Smiles and kindness are infectious; often Linda was invited by different people for lunch-out, courtesy rides and tea-breaks.
Linda’s work and her interaction with mature adults opened a new chapter in her life. She became optimistic about life, relationships and looked forward to settling in life. But the fact that she missed her paternal love and care always hounded her, though she found it difficult to own it or express it adequately.
As time went by, Linda came in contact with Doctor James Otim, a senior surgeon at the hospital. Dr. James, a man in his late 40s is well known among the medical professionals for his successful career of over 20 years. He was separated from his wife for several years and lived with a son who is already a university graduate. Linda has assisted Dr. James in some of his complicated surgery and he was always impressed by the dedication and gentle nature of this young pretty nurse. When she was new in the hospital he helped her out in looking for accommodation and meeting few basic needs to settle down in the city and in a new career.
Linda found in James a fatherly figure that was gentle, caring, thoughtful and homely. After a long day of work together in the hospital, the doctor would buy her snacks and drop her at a bus stage where she can get her transport easily. Linda would often praise him for his expertise, professional touch at job and of course his paternal care to her. She could always rely on him for any advice and help, both professional and personal. At James’ request Linda would go to his residence to clean, put in order the “bachelor’s” lonely home and occasionally cook for him.
Even before they realized, the chemistry that worked between them turned into a deep feeling for each other. They began to see each other more often and took solace in sharing thoughts, a relief in their lonely lives. Sooner than they expected, they were already emotionally leaning on each other. Now Linda could not make any decision without consulting and getting approved from James. Being in the warm company of Linda was also a boon to James.
One day as they were having an eat-out at a posh restaurant, James invited Linda to move in with him so as to be of more help to each other; after all he had a very large house with several bedrooms. Soon sharing the same roof became sharing the same bedroom. Though hospital colleagues watched the “togetherness” of this couple intently, they could not guess what was going on between them. Because Doctor James and Nurse Linda were separated by a generation gap of over 20 years. The couple only reflected a paternal-daughter relationship than lovers.
Our childhood experience of living with our parents and the love-relationship we have built with them greatly affects our future relationships, especially the spousal relationship. A child that has missed the love of parents often has emotional setbacks and finds it difficult to relate with the spouse. Often we begin to view and evaluate our spouse the way we have been treated by our parents, especially the parent of the opposite sex. Cross-generational relationships and sex between disparaging age gaps are wrong, exploitive, immoral and unhealthy. As consenting parties are adults law cannot take action, but it remains dissolute. However, analysing and critically evaluating relationships and understanding our emotions will help to solve many pitfalls, such as imbalance in relationships, possible sick offspring and many emotional and cultural hitches.
Fr. Lazar Arasu SDB
Priest and School Administrator
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