Of Loss and Grief

The thing about life is you don’t realize how fragile it is, even kinda fickle, until certain moments occur and you are suddenly aware that life could be taken from you at any time.

Sometimes, you just sit down and wonder why certain things happen to certain people. I still remember how I fell when I received the news of her demise. I fell down flat on the cold tiled floor. I wept and the tears shook my body, I couldn’t even stand up to console my mum first. No, my grief was maybe even stronger than hers.

I had just come back from school, after about five hours of seminars and walking under the blazing heat of the sun with my dad. All I wanted was to sleep and not give a care in the world, after all I’d had a morning of unexplainable abdominal pain.

My mum came in with tears gathering in her eyes, her hands firmly clenched together. She sat on the deep brown chair by the door and screamed out loud. “NO!” I ran from the kitchen where I was rinsing a glass cup and stood in front of her. I demanded to know what was wrong a couple of times before she looked at me and replied,

“It’s too heavy.”

What was too heavy? Did something bad happen in church? Is someone sick? Not once did her answer occur to me, not once did I imagine what her response eventually was. I mean, I had a lot of possible answers, but the eventual answer shook me to the core and is still shaking me, even as I write.

“Mummy Adigun is dead.”

NO! I fell on the floor and wept, asking God to wake me up from this nightmare and bring me back to a reality where she still lived, my body vibrated as each sob left me. My mum still kept shouting “It’s too heavy” and indeed it was. Memories of times I had spent with her kept flashing back, even now I can still see her smiling face as she hugged a church member or told me her take on a book.

“Don’t worry, when you write your book, I’ll be there at the launching”, she had told me after we talked about Adichie’s Half Of A Yellow Sun. Till the last Sunday I saw her, she still asked me for my copy of Americanah but now I have no more chance to give her.

And worst of all, she’ll never be able to attend my book launching and sit in the front row, her lips tugged up in a gentle smile at me.

I saw her last Sunday, during the Ministers’ Wives meeting; I wanted to stay to greet her but they were busy and I had gist to hear upstairs. So, I went up, telling myself I would see her the next Sunday she came.

But there will be no more Minsters’ Wives meeting for Mummy Adigun, I’ll never have the chance to greet her again.It’s still overwhelmingly hard to grasp the reality that she’s really gone. That I won’t ever sit with her and discuss books, that she won’t tell me about her last born latest adventures or how he’s run away from home again. That I’ll never see how her eyes twinkle when someone compliments her outfit. It’s hard, very hard.

I thought my abdominal pains were severe, but the pain of losing a loved one, of realizing that you’ll never see them again. At least, not in person.

The thought of seeing someone a week ago and now hearing that you can’t ever see the person again is not something you and I can easily come to terms with.As Mitch Alboom said, “Death ends a life, not a relationship”. She’s gone but her memories remain with me, the intimacy shared remains with me. My friendship and relationship with Mummy Adigun isn’t ended yet, because I know that in everything I do, she’ll be watching from the window the Father will give her, smiling and laughing.

It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things

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