Coping with a Loss

I’ve contemplated writing this post for a few months now. Each time I start typing, I find a way to convince myself that I shouldn’t write it. Today, I got the push I’ve been looking for.

I’m sure from the title, you can already tell what this post is about. Rather than focusing on the loss, pain, hopelessness, fear, I’d like to share some tips on how I’ve been coping with my loss.

Now, before I get into my coping mechanisms, let’s take a few steps back. It’s important to realize and accept that, at various points in our lives, we will experience losses. Whether it be loved ones, finances, property, we will all lose something(s). Truth be told, nothing, ever, prepares you for a loss. No matter how strong you think you are, or how “not emotional” you think you are, some losses will break you.

Fortunately for me, prior to 5 months ago, I’d never experienced a loss. So, I had absolutely no idea how to cope with my loss. For the first few days, I laid in my bed moping, with no zeal to carry on. Given the circumstances around my loss, I was forced to shove my pain in a cabinet and complete the tasks ahead of me. What I didn’t realize was that, someday, those tasks will be completed and I’d have to face my pain.

Truth be told, I am nowhere near healed, or whole, but I am definitely in a better place than I was a few months ago. My journey and approach may be flawed to some, but I’m sharing this, in case someone needs to see this, to remember that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.


Reminisce: I spent a lot of time looking at old pictures and thinking about happy memories we made. Even though it felt like this hurt more than avoiding reality, it reminded me to be thankful for the moments we shared and the life she lived.

Be Positive, or at least try: It’s very easy to fall into a dark space when you’re suffering a loss, especially when you lose a loved one. We become unhappy, depressed, angry, and hopeless. This could have been me, but, I tried my hardest to focus on the positives from my loss.

“She’s not in pain anymore”, “She’s with Jesus”, “She’s with grandma and grandpa”, “She’s watching over us” 

Phrases like this, although incredibly cliche made my loss a bit more bearable.

Talk, Talk, and Talk some more: OMG! Is this Adamara? Yes, I said talk. If you know me, you know this is waaaay out of my personality, but life happens. Through my loss, I’ve learned the importance of talking through issues, venting, or even ranting. It’s important that we all have that person (or people) that are willing to stay on the phone and listen to us pour out our hearts. I cannot tell you how much this helped me. From expressing my pain and disappointments to my friends, I got a little closer to achieving inner peace.

Stay active: I’m sure we all know the importance of staying active and busy at times like this. Well, if you don’t, I’m telling you right now. It’s important to keep yourself preoccupied. It’s even more important to remember that this doesn’t mean avoiding your feelings by staying busy. In my case, I spent more time doing things I enjoyed, taking walks, cooking, watching movies, spending time with friends, etc. I didn’t drown myself in school work so I don’t have to think about my loss.

Cry: Find an outlet and let it out. I spent a lot of time on the toilet crying, trying to find answers to my questions. I didn’t get those answers but after every crying session, I felt a little lighter. Crying is not a sign of weakness! I cannot say this enough. I’d usually write about my feelings, but this time, I literally couldn’t. I bought a notebook, but I had no words to write. The notebook is still blank, till date. I unlocked a new level of pain that could not be explained in writing.

Allow yourself grieve: Take time to grieve. It’s okay. Take as much time as you need.

Face Reality: Truth be told, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes, we have to accept the fact that whoever or whatever we lost is gone. I’m still trying to come to terms with this. It’ll take time, so don’t rush this process.

Pray: Pray without ceasing (see 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). I have prayed more in the last 5 months than I have in my entire life. However, I am now trying to pray all the time, not just when I feel like I need God the most. It’s important to cultivate a prayerful lifestyle. It helps, a lot. Prayer makes the pain a bit more bearable. It reminds you that there’s someone up there looking out for you. It teaches you that the Almighty will not put you in a situation that you cannot handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). It shows you that in God’s perfect love, all fear is cast out. Prayer is the major key. Pray without ceasing.

Let me stop here for now. I feel like I’m on a rant. I hope these tips reach someone that needs it. If you’d like to share your loss story, please leave a comment and we’ll make it happen.

Thank you.

-Afrikahnqueen

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Chukwudi and the Officer

Narrator: Story story

Children: Stoooooory

Narrator: Once upon a time

Children: Time time

Narrator: There was a man named Chukwudi. Growing up, he hoped to relocate to the United States and start a new life there. Month after month, Chukwudi would stand in line under the hot Lagos sun waiting for his turn to see a consulate officer. Month after month, Chukwudi’s visa applications were denied.

Children: Awww. Uncle, so what happened next?

Narrator: Well, he decided to take a different approach. He got a visitor’s visa to Mexico. Upon arriving Mexico, Chukwudi made arrangements with some locales to board a commercial bus that would take him across the border to the United States. A few days elapsed and it was time for Chukwudi to board this “one chance” bus. This was particularly risky because he had no immigration papers. As the bus approached the border control, Chukwudi got more nervous, so nervous that his stomach began to rumble. It growled loudly and uncontrollably. At this point, Chukwudi decided to go to the restroom. While he was taking care of business in the restroom, the bus reached the border control. Several immigration officers got on the bus to make sure each passenger had the adequate documentation required to enter the United States.

Children: But Uncle he had no papers! What did he do?

Narrator: Since a record of each passenger was kept, when the officer approached Chukwudi’s seat and didn’t find him, he asked other passengers where he was. They pointed in the direction of the restroom. The officer knocked on the door, asking for Chukwudi’s documents. Chukwudi responded saying that he would bring it out once he finished from the restroom. As the officer stood outside the door waiting for Chukwudi, he became more and more nervous, and his bowels became more nervous too! The smell was pungent. So pungent that the officer could no longer contain himself. He told Chukwudi to forget about the papers and he immediately ran off the bus. The bus driver continued the journey and they soon arrived the United States. Chukwudi’s bowels saved his life!

Children: *Laughs*

 

The Introduction

Hey Loves! Here’s another short story! I wrote this several years ago…

Enjoy!


 

First of all, introduction. My name is Adamara; I am a Nigerian teenager on a mission- a mission to find true happiness.

I am an undergraduate with dreams and aspirations to be successful, and ultimately, be the best.

I was born into a large family that hails from southeastern Nigeria, Anambra state to be precise. Growing up, I was typically around adults, which led me to think above my peers; like an adult.

I was a chubby, happy, smiling baby- at least that’s what I was told. Listening to stories from my childhood at this age simply embarrasses me. I remember a story my uncles told me; at age six, they took me to a “joint” (an outdoor restaurant) where they sold isi-ewu (goat head), ngwo-ngwo, and their likes. The waiter walked up to our table to take our orders. My uncles placed theirs, and so did I. “Please, can I have isi-ewu and maltina?” I said. Sitting in complete shock, my uncles and the waiters stared at me, and soon burst out laughing. Thinking back, I wonder what was going through my head that night, as a six year old. Oh! The innocence of children!

Two words I will never forget thanks to my wonderful mother are; “focus” and “concentrate”. A day never went by without my mom using either or both of those words, except she was ill.

Being an only child, my cousins were pretty much my siblings, although they were either much older, or much younger. I was closest to my male cousins Mickie J and Frankie. Mickie was a clown! He always made me laugh. I remember him always putting me on his shoulders and carrying me around the house, and my mother getting scared that he would drop her baby. I remember Mickie and Frankie tickling me till I cried, literally. We had fun, real fun.

School now is overrated; nursery school was the real deal! Drawing and coloring all day, chatting with my little friends, lunch, and nap time. I had absolutely no worries!

So far, my senior secondary school days were the most memorable days of my life. To clear the air, boarding school is not as bad as they make it seem, it can actually be really fun, depending on the school, and students.

I remember our leadership training, in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. That training changed my perspective. We came to face our fears, hardships, and develop inner strength. Our mantra was “The standard measure of a child is not how he/she dwells in luxury, but how he/she deals with hardships and inconveniences.” This goes a long way because life is not a bed of roses, even if it were; roses have thorns.

I remember being elected the social prefect; I was super excited! I enjoyed planning social events for my fellow students. It wasn’t easy. I could not please everyone at the same time, no one can. I had to distinguish my leadership role from my personal relationships with other students. It was all worth it in the end.

Now, as a college student, I am building my career. I want to wake up every morning and be excited to go to work. I want to visit more countries than my mother has. I want to be fluent in at least four languages. I want to experience different cultures. I want to get married and have a family, at the right time. Ultimately, I want to be happy, and this is my journey to find true happiness….

Story Time

Hello Lovelies!

I’ve been putting off posting this story for a while because I feel like it’s not perfect, but YOLO. The story is inspired by a dream I had after a long night of studying for a final exam.

Share!

Comment!

Criticize!

Enjoy!


It was an unusually boring Thursday at work. No clients called or visited the office. Our bothersome boss did not have any new projects for us to work on. It was almost like a day off at the office. Mike, my colleague in the adjoining cubicle looked over at me and said,  “It’s almost the weekend, what do you have planned?”  I responded saying, “I want to stay in and catch up on my shows while sipping a bottle of my favorite sweet wine. But over the past week my roommate, Tiffany has been hounding me to go out with her on Friday night. I just might go.” Mike suggested that I went with Tiff since I hadn’t been out in a while.

I texted Tiff during my lunch break to tell her I had agreed to go out with her. She was ecstatic. Deep down, I had mixed feelings about going, but I wanted to try something different. Over the years, I had become a couch potato.[written by Adamara Okeke]  The last time I remember going out was in college, about 8 years ago.

Tiffany insisted that I wore a little red dress she had got me a few weeks earlier, and put on makeup. I didn’t have any objections because I had been told that I always looked good in red. While we got dressed, she played our favorite Nigerian songs. We danced, laughed, and took a lot of photos. I was reminded of my “wild” college nights.

We set out for the lounge at about 9 o’clock. It was one of the classy lounges downtown. The men looked sharp in nice dress pants and buttoned-down shirts, the ladies, in elegant dresses and different styles of louboutin and jimmy choo shoes. We sat at one of the VIP sections and ordered our first round of drinks. Three rounds of shots, two thousand photos and a pair of sore feet later, the alcohol was finally starting to hit me; but not hard enough. [written by Adamara Okeke] We sat down to order another round.

As we waited to be served, a shabby looking man approached Tiff and offered to buy her a drink. She recklessly eyeballed him and burst out laughing. One look at him and I started laughing too. He shamefully walked away. I watched him leave when my eyes met with my boyfriend’s as he walked into the lounge. I had no idea he was coming. I thought to myself  “Well, here goes ladies’ night,” as I rolled my eyes. We were going through a rough patch and I’d barely spoken to him all week. Phil, my muscular dark chocolate man stood six foot three inches tall, with a smile that melted my heart. He wore a pair of blue denim jeans, a white button down shirt, a navy blue blazer, black loafers and a red bow tie that matched my dress. He looked exceptional!

I walked up to him to find out what he was doing at the lounge. He handed me a giant bouquet of roses, hugged me and planted a soft kiss on my lips. I turned away to put down the flowers.[written by Adamara Okeke]  As I turned back, there he was, on one knee with the biggest smile I’d ever seen and a stunning ring asking me to spend the rest of my days with him. I was absolutely shocked. I never expected it, not that night at least. As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I stuck out my left hand, held onto his shoulder and shouted, “YES!” He slid the beautiful diamond encrusted white gold ring on my finger, got up, and embraced me. Right in that moment, I realized that the next phase of my life was about to begin.

I turned to Tiff and asked her if she was a part of this plan. She gave me a mischievous smile and hugged me. Undoubtedly, that was one of the best nights of my life. I was engaged to my lover and best friend. That was the best feeling ever! I was even more excited to break the news to my family who had been on my neck about settling down.

Later that night, as I lay in bed, I thought to myself, “ Life couldn’t be any better right now. I am 27. I work as a strategic digital marketing specialist for the United Nations. I have a successful startup and I’m currently working on obtaining sponsorships for my non-profit educational institution. I lived comfortably in a two-bedroom apartment in the better parts of town.[written by Adamara Okeke] I owned the latest Range Rover. At this point, settling down didn’t seem so scary.”

I met Phil in my first year of grad school and it’s been 5 years of magic. In the initial stages of our relationship, we got into arguments every other day. Whenever one of us annoyed the other, we would cut off all communication until the bigger person decided it was time to resolve the dispute. It got to a crucial point where we both had to decide if we wanted to end it there or overlook our differences and move forward with the relationship. As days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, we grew to accept our differences and to know and understand each other better. The arguments became infrequent. Somehow, we managed to stay together through it all: college, business and law school, and work relocations. Now, I am ready to spend the rest of my life with him, to wake up to his face and morning breath every day, to carry all his babies, to become a part of his family, and him mine, to build a life with my best friend.

After the news of our engagement reached our family and friends, we decided to host an engagement party. It was a beautiful night. Many lessons learned, many blessings shared, much love spread.

The wedding was set for the seventeenth of July the following year. Planning a wedding was significantly harder than I imagined. Bringing my dream wedding to life was probably the hardest thing my wedding planner, Maddy and I had to do. There were so many choices to make: the right flowers for my bouquet, the color scheme for the wedding– every color came in 200 shades, the type of food that would be served, the songs that would be played. [written by Adamara Okeke]  By the end of the first week of planning, I was exhausted. Maddy was probably one of the most patient people I’d ever met. Even in the havoc of planning the wedding she remained calm and helped me through all the choices. My favorite part of the entire process was tasting the food and cake. The cakes were amazing! Picking one was really difficult so I made each of the seven tiers a different flavour.  Finally, we did it! We made my dream wedding a reality in 13 months.

The day before our wedding, Phil and I went to grab dinner at our favorite spot, the Ritz. “Either the chef made this dinner extra tasty today or I’m really excited for tomorrow,” I said. He laughed and said, “I hope the latter is the case.” Right before the main course was served, Phil grabbed my hands and said, “You make me thank God for every mistake I made because each one led me down the  path that brought me to you.” I couldn’t help but smile sheepishly. I responded saying, “Every time I look at you, I say a quick prayer of thanks to God for taking His time to mould such a strong and loving man perfect for me.” The connection was stronger than ever.

After dinner, we walked across the street to grab some ice cream. While we waited in line, I realized I had forgotten my purse at the restaurant. Phil offered to go get it while I stood in line. I watched him cross the street and enter the restaurant. [written by Adamara Okeke] A few minutes later, I saw a red Toyota corolla with 4 men dressed in all black pull up in front of the building. Three of them got down and went into the restaurant. All I heard were gunshots.

I immediately called the emergency services and ran out to go  make sure no one was hurt. As I walked into the restaurant,  all I saw was a fleet of people lying in pools of their own blood. I walked to the table and found my fiancé on the ground with my chanel purse in his hands. He had been shot in the chest. I fell to the ground and tried to resuscitate him. The ambulances came and carried the victims to a near by hospital. I rushed over.

After a grueling 7 hours of waiting, the surgeons came out and delivered the worst news ever. My future husband had died… barely 16 hours to our wedding.

“Anna! Anna!! Wake up!!” Tiff said as she tapped me. “You fell asleep watching Scandal. Go to your room. I knew you wouldn’t come to the lounge like I asked. Couch potato!”

Thankfully, it was all a dream.

THE END.


-Afrikahn Queen

In the Spirit of Throwback Thursday: The Transformation.

The phrase “Life is good” took on a whole new meaning for me after I had the opportunity to participate in the Leadership Training, Shere hills, Jos.
My tenth grade class was chosen by the management and staff of the British Nigerian Academy (BNA), Abuja, to attend the leadership training- the words ‘character’ and ‘discipline’ were used extensively.
With thoughts of Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and yes… Moses on our minds, we embarked on our four-hour journey from Abuja to Jos.
Perhaps, the bone-jolting, stomach-churning, pothole jarring car ride should have been a harbinger of what was to follow; the compound looked like nothing we had fantasized about. The images of a well-appointed air-conditioned facility were quickly extinguished and replaced by the stark reality of archaic run-down buildings on an alternately grassy and sandy plot of land. The rooms were poorly furnished with floors littered with pot-holes of varying sizes, but… I digress.
Our luggage was removed from the bus and deposited in the ‘executive’ hall where we received a warm welcome that assuaged our misgivings, and helped us relax.
Suddenly, with a voice reminiscent of a crack of thunder, we were instructed to carry our luggage on our heads to the gate- a fairly long distance and back again, made me question the wisdom of my packing all that I had considered “necessary” that now contributed to the deadweight that was my suitcase. It quickly became apparent that Darwinism would prevail.
We were wakened on our first day of training by a gong reminiscent of Enter the Dragon, for our 5am jogging session followed by a grueling and humbling obstacle course. Our days were filled with various activities: assault and obstacle courses, news casting (not in anticipation of a job on the View but to build confidence), parachute jumps, camp craft, map work, endurance treks,plateau scheme, handicap football matches, rock climbing, abseiling, and rafting, broken up by short briefings, minute breaks, lunch, a cat nap, sports and finally, dinner.
In a particularly grueling session, my team got lost in the woods and although the ‘Blair Witch Project’ came up as a part of casual conversation, surprisingly, we did not panic. As a team we took stock of the situation and determined that the best solution was to retrace our steps until we got back on track.
Despite the fact that there were many moments when I wondered “Is there an app for that?”, the experience helped me master my fears, enhanced my confidence and self esteem and increased my appreciation for what I have. I also learned that “luxury” is relative and developed the ability to cope with inconveniences. At home, my family commented on my “10 Day Transformation” complimenting me on my positive behavioral changes and increased maturity.
I found an inner strength and appreciation for the mantra “the standard measure of a child is not how he lives in comfort and luxury but how he is able to deal with inconveniences.”

The Dilemma

This is a piece I rushed through last week for a job application, lol.
Enjoy….

This is the story of a young woman who lives in a society where pre-marital sex, unwanted pregnancies and abortions are frowned upon. She was forced to go to an unqualified doctor for an abortion because she couldn’t talk to anyone else about the situation without getting chastised. Every woman should be able to have access to good health care without being judged.

Ade: These cramps hurt so bad! Sometimes I wish I was born a man.
Chi-Chi: Cramps? Wait!! I haven’t had my period since (checks the calendar) April! It’s July! Oh my God!
Ade: Are you kidding me? How didn’t you realize that you’ve missed your period for the past two months?
Chi-Chi: I’ve been so stressed out with school work and my family! It didn’t even occur to me. If I haven’t had my period that means I’m…
Ade: PREGNANT! Chi-Chi YOU ARE PREGNANT!
Chi-Chi: No!! I can’t be! He pulled out!! No!!! No!! My mother will kill me! My father… No!!!!
Ade: So what are we going to do now? We have one more year of college.
Chi-Chi: I have to call Dayo. He needs to know that he’s about to become a father. Maybe he can tell me what to do about this…
Ade: You’re right, you should let him know. I have to dash to the store to pick up a few things for my mom. If you need anything please let me know. I’m always here for you, literally.
Chi-Chi: I know…. Thank you.

Oh God! What am I going to do? I can’t be pregnant! No! I’m only 19! Maybe I should go to the pharmacy and buy a test. But people will look at me weird; they’ll think I’m a harlot. What have I done? I’ll just go to the hospital tomorrow. But, I can’t walk into the hospital and ask for a pregnancy test, the nurses will judge me. I’ll just complain of severe stomach aches. They’ll definitely run a pregnancy test on me.

NEXT DAY
God! Now that I have the confirmation what’s next? I can’t keep this baby! I’m too young. Let me call Dayo.
Chi-Chi: Hello?
Dayo: Hey boo! What’s up?
Chi-Chi: Nothing really… Are you busy right now? We need to talk.
Dayo: Oh Gosh! What have I done now?
Chi-Chi: Haha! You haven’t done anything, I just want to talk to you, in person.
Dayo: Okay! If you say so. I’ll come over in 15.
*knocks on door*
Dayo: Hello! Hello! Peace be unto this house.
Chi-Chi: Hey boo! Amen to that. Come in.
Dayo: You don’t look so good, what’s going on?
Chi-Chi: Nothing! Just stressed out as usual.
Dayo: What’s stressing my baby out this time?
Chi-chi: looks away. Do you want something to drink?
Dayo: Yes please, a glass of water.
Chi-Chi: I’ll be right back.
Chi-Chi: Here you go.
Dayo: Thanks. Drinks half the glass. So, are you gonna tell me what’s eating you up?
Chi-Chi: Dayo… I’m… We’re… I’m pregnant!
Dayo: What? Are you joking? That’s not possible! I pulled out! It can’t be.
Chi-Chi: I’ve got the results to prove it.
Dayo: Damn! No! No!! No!! Not right now! I’m about to graduate! I can’t deal with this right now. You have to terminate the pregnancy.
Chi-Chi: What? Just like that? You want me to give up a part of me in a heartbeat…
Dayo: Do you have a better idea? I’m 20 and you’re 19. Our parents would kill us if they knew we were dating yet alone having sex. We can’t keep this baby, not now.
Chi-Chi: This is probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. But I think you’re right. My father has been hospitalized for the 8 weeks and my mother is hypertensive. I can’t bring this news to them. They’ll die and I don’t want that. Oh God.
Dayo: Don’t worry baby, I’ll be by your side throughout this process. We’ll go through it together. I know a guy who knows a guy that does this for a living. I’m sure he’ll be able to help us.
Chi-Chi: is he a real doctor? I don’t want to die.
Dayo: Yes! He is! He’s done it hundreds of times. You’ll be okay, I promise.
Chi-Chi: Okay… Just give me time. I’ll let you know when I’m ready.

A WEEK LATER.
I can’t believe I’m about to do this. This clinic looks sketchy. I hope they’ll use sterile equipment on me. I’m so scared.

Nurse: Chi-chi? Follow me.

A FEW HOURS LATER
Oh! Ouch! My tummy hurts so bad! Ouch! Ouch! Ah! Blood? Why am I bleeding? Ouch! God…. I’m dying.
A few hours later, Chi-chi’s friend’s found her lying lifeless in a pool of her own blood.