A WOMAN who refused to take back her husband almost 17 years after he disappeared from her life has spoken of her heartbreak, after he died on the couple’s 39th wedding anniversary.
Siji Joseph said she had no idea her husband, Joseph Koruth, was bedridden and suffering from memory loss when social workers in Bahrain tracked her down in the village of Eraviperur, in Kerala.
She rejected their approach, believing Mr Koruth had long ago abandoned her, but now regrets her decision after discovering the full extent of his illness.
“I was heartbroken after I heard about his condition before his death from a social worker who visited us,” said Ms Joseph.
“I did not know he was bedridden, nobody told me that and I regret saying we did not want him back.
“After 17 years without contact someone called to tell that he was alive in a hospital in Bahrain.
“He left our two small children, his aged and ailing mother and brother all under my care.
“When I was told he was sick and wanted to come back, my first reaction was anger.
“I felt he was selfish to remember me when he was sick.
“Yes, we are poor and we can’t afford his medical expenses, but the news of his death on May 11 – the same day as our 39th wedding anniversary – came as a shock to me.”
The GDN reported last month that Mr Koruth, a resident of Bahrain for 32 years, was taken by social workers to the Geriatric Hospital, Muharraq, in April.
He collapsed at his home in Gudaibiya in April and the vicar of his hometown church, Daniel Varghese, told the GDN his family had refused to take him back because they could not afford his medical expenses.
However, his wife said she now longed to see him at least once before he is buried.
“We wish to see his face one last time and are eagerly waiting to receive his body,” she said.
Mr Koruth stayed in touch with his wife for six years after leaving the family home, but suddenly ended all communication.
“He left when I was pregnant with my son and my daughter Anjali was four years old,” said Ms Joseph.
“He has not seen our son, but used to call us until he was around six years old.
“Suddenly he stopped communicating with us and all efforts to reach him failed.
“I have a small job and with that income I took care of the family, my daughter is married now with a son and my son is studying.
“His 80-year-old mother is sick and his 50-year-old brother is a kidney patient who needs dialysis – all of this is on my shoulders.
“I never left his family, I am still living with them in his house – that is because I loved him.
“I don’t know why he decided not to take care of us.
“All these thoughts took over and I was emotional when I heard he had been found, but I didn’t know his plight.
“I don’t know how to express my agony, I am deeply distressed – I pray that his body reaches us soon.”
Mr Koruth has no passport or CPR, which means an out pass from the Indian Embassy is needed to repatriate the body.
“The plight of his family is pathetic,” said Indian social worker Ezhamkulam Siyad, who visited them in Kerala.
“His aged mother and sick brother and a young son – all are being taken care of by Joseph’s wife.
“His body is in the SMC morgue and we submitted documents for an out pass from the embassy on May 31.
“Once this is done, Bahrain Mar Thoma parish has agreed to bear the expenses of repatriating the body.
“We learnt the embassy is awaiting a police report to issue the clearance.”
The Indian Embassy did not comment.