Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Awakening

Dear Diary,

It has been a really long time I talked to YOU.

I could come up with a million and one excuses for not visiting but I have none except one:

Life happened....

27th December, 2014: Started out as any other day, asides my mom being ill, it was just the typical Saturday morning; busy with household chores and market trips. But everything virtually changed within minutes for me, from a routine check up in a clinic to a confused me rushing my unconscious mother to a bigger hospital just to be told she had died.

My world literally stopped spinning.  First came denial, then shock, then a deep sadness that cannot be explained but truly only experienced.

Everyone who really knew me knew my mom was my world. I was not only her “auta” (last child in hausa) but the closest to her. I used to fondly call her my baby (as she said I reminded her of her mom) and I took that title seriously, I wanted the best for her and from an early age my mind was already programmed to work hard and buy her an aeroplane (lol...yeah that was my first promise to my mom).

In a way, she became my focus for success, anytime I felt like giving up, I imagined how she would feel and that forced me to carry on instead.

So I am not joking when I say my world literally stopped.

The haze of burial preparations kept me busy for a while and the whole incident hit me when everyone left, it felt surreal because I was still tempted to call her when I got back home but I finally realised that I was not going to touch her again, talk to her or even see her smile.

Trust me, it hurt a lot.

But hey that is not the moral of this diary entry, here is the reason I am sharing this with you:

I want someone out there who is going through a tough time to read this story and be encouraged – my lesson notes at the end of each point will reiterate that.

When my mom passed I was left with two choices; to be bitter and angry at God for taking my jewel OR to accept His decision and be grateful for the wonderful years I spent with the woman who made me who I am today, of course I picked option two and here are the keys lessons:

STRENGTH:  If anyone had asked me if I would survive my mom’s death, I would have laughed and definitely said never!!!

But somehow I survived.

I am not saying I did not and still do not have meltdowns, I do but I had an ANCHOR.

And yes I am about to get all preachy right now. My anchor was and still is God.

I can vividly remember when the doctor called me in and told me my mom had passed, after denial and shock came an unexplained peace.

I definitely did not know what tomorrow held but somehow I felt I would survive whatever it brought and I did, one day at a time, one step at a time, and each day I woke up I felt stronger and I felt reassured that life would not break me.

Bad things happen but when you have a higher source to draw your strength from, there will always be calm in the storm.

Grief does one of two things to every individual:
  1. Dull your sense of empathy and sucks you into a dark pit of bitterness and anger towards God and humanity.
  2. Opens your eyes to the world, expands your sense of empathy and provides a higher level of acceptance to uncontrollable events that occurs in life.

The truth is you cannot control what happens to you but you can control how it affects you.

A lot of people say I am strong for seeing my mom pass on and being the one to take her to the hospital and I laugh, I would really be silly to think I did it all by my strength and that brings me to point number two:

GRACE:  “Grace can be seen as unmerited favour”. When my mom passed, people we relied on to help us disappointed us and I realised that at the end of the day we are all humans and thus are not infallible, people fail and that is ok. Such failure makes you rely more on a higher source that never fails. Somehow we made it through the pain and all that the burial entailed. 

LESSON NOTE: You are not alone. Just when the world seems quiet and you feel alone, turn your sight to your higher source (for me it is God / Jesus Christ), be still and see what happens.

EMPATHY: On our way back from the burial, my bible verse for the day talked about God allowing you to go through certain trials so you can be able to comfort others who go through same. Prior to my mom’s death, I used to feel sad for those who lost their loved ones but only for a short while but going through it myself, I now understand and when I hold someone and say “everything will be alright”, I really do know what I am saying.

LESSON NOTE: Let your pain be your fuel, do not let it burn you out, let it keep the fire burning instead. Let it open your eyes to others around you and let it expand your ability to accept life as it is.

LOVE and TIME: my definition of love has always been my mom; she sacrificed all she had to take good care of me and my siblings. For me, love has always been a verb. But the sad thing about life is we always think there is more time. We procrastinate and hope on tomorrow. Seeing my mom pass before my eyes showed me how fickle the air we breathe is, it goes in a second. So now I make sure I utilize every opportunity and chance I have to take risks and to tell/show my loved ones how much they mean to me.
LESSON NOTE: Do it NOW!!!. My new philosophy about life is “I will take that chance, if I fail; I have learnt a way not to do that same thing and if I succeed; I have learnt a way to do it”. Don’t wait for tomorrow and no it is not a cliché, do what you have to do when you have to do it.

Overall, I just want YOU to dance in the rain.

Yes cry if you want to. Scream or do whatever you need to do to release the pain and then get up, dust yourself and face the world.

Remember, what does not kill you really does make you stronger.

And trust me, I know that firsthand.

It may seem hard right now but trust me, life is like learning how to swim, the more you fight against the waves, the deeper you sink but when you learn to take calming breathes, relax and flow with the tides, you stay afloat.

I am still on my journey but the little I know and have experienced I now share with YOU and I sure do hope it gives you hope for a better tomorrow.


Please feel free to post your comments below, especially telling US how you survived a dark phase in your life – we want to learn. 

R.I.P my Amazon; your legacy lives on. 

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