Yamith Contreras is a physiotherapist, specialized in orthopedics, who tells how her life changed: “I met my husband when I was 12. His father bought a farm that was neighboring to my father’s farm; the families became friends and we, between games, became lovers; I was 15 and he was 5 years older”.
When she was 22 years old they got married. It was an intimate wedding, only with family and close friends. After a few years, her son Orlando Jose was born. They had been married for almost 5 years.
“My husband was a city official in San Angel, Magdalena. His name was Orlando Castro Escobar. That December 23 we traveled to spend the New Year’s Eve with the whole family and celebrate his paternal grandfather’s birthday in El Difícil, Magdalena, but he was killed”.
“Without God and the support of my family I would not have been able to keep going, and that makes one think that life must go on”.
Yamith never imagined being a widow. “Orlando was a peaceful person, he didn’t like trouble and it never crossed my mind that he was involved in some weird business. However, I thought about it from time to time, because of the situation the country was going through at that moment and because public officials were a temptation to these groups outside the law”, she says.
Things changed from one moment to the next and that is why she says that you have to live one day at a time. “I always remember him with love, I never saw him in a bad mood, he always came out with something that would bring out a smile in me even if the day was grey. That helped me a lot to remember those positive and strong phrases that helped me to overcome the pain. He lost his mother when he was 15 years old and saw life differently with much positivism and trusted people a lot; maybe because he was not hurting anyone, he was sure nothing bad would happen to him”, she says.
She says that she cried at night so that Orlando Rafael, her son, would not see her, until he went into her room and told her: “Mommy, don’t cry anymore, daddy went to heaven and he won’t come anymore, understand it”. Those words made her reflect and immediately think that life must go on, she had a profession and a son who needed her.
It was a long mourning, but today she understands why it all happened: “A friend of my husband visited me one day and brought me a Bible. The truth is, I hadn’t read it and one day, when I woke up sad, I opened it and the verse that came out was the one where God is speaking to the widows. That touched me a lot and I started to look for God more, for his prayer, and then I started to look for a job,” she says jokingly.
She began to take her resume to clinics, but they never called her. She insisted until she started in a company where she worked for 20 years. Today, she works independently and is always grateful for the emotional and financial support she received from her parents and siblings to help her son succeed. As she puts it, “Without God and the support of my family I would not have been able to keep going, and that makes one think that life must go on”.
I also asked her how her heart is doing now: “At first, I focused on my work and my son and there was no room for anyone else. I can’t deny that there were admirers, and there was always the married man who tells you that he is divorcing his wife, which is a lie, but obviously that was not my goal. I let time decide everything,” she says.
“Mommy, don’t cry anymore, daddy went to heaven and he won’t come anymore, understand it”
When he was little, her son was very jealous, but as he grew up there came a time when he was even looking for admirers for her. “Something very curious used to happen; he always noticed the little friend who had a family member who was single, the uncle, the cousin, and he would tell me ‘mommy so-and-so has a friend and he is not married’, that always made me laugh. He was never selfish and always worried about me, because he didn’t want to see me alone”.
Until Alex came into their lives. “Eight years went by, my son was 12 years old and a very special person arrived, just as I asked God. He supported me a lot during my son’s adolescence. He had a son of the same age so he knew how to reach him as a father. They are good friends, they talk a lot and the best thing that my son does is to listen to him, respect him and love him, just like my family”.
It has been 20 years since the death of her husband and just 5 years ago she received his pension. Her husband also had life insurance, but when she went to claim it, the company declared bankruptcy. She has an apartment that, at that time, she was paying for, so she rented it to reduce expenses and moved in with her parents, then she returned and began to take care of patients at home. She also had pensioners and transported her son’s friends to school.
She was always a believer, but at a time as hard as the one she lived, she states that the spiritual part is very important. “God never abandons us and even less so when we have a child. I think that Orlando is an angel in heaven that is always sending us the best. Many beautiful things have happened to me when the date of his death approaches and I always think that it is he who sends me all those blessings so that I do not forget and think about that date in a different way, not with pain but with love,” she says.
Traducción del español: Catalina Oviedo Brugés.