“Ready when you are”
“Okay. Hey guys my name is Daniel and I lost my mom when I was seventeen”
“Sounds a little like an AA meeting…”
“Shush! This is my story let me tell it.”
“Jokes aside, I know this makes you sad”
“It’s been a long time, so it’s okay”
“Okay. I’ll ask the questions then you respond”
“Tell me how it happened”
“It was a stroke. She was ill at the beginning of the year during her uncle’s funeral. She stressed herself out organising most of it with her sister and after everything she fell terribly ill. My immediate younger sister and I were both in secondary school so we didn’t understand what was happening. She was more scared than I was but I chose not to be afraid because I didn’t want to imagine anything bad happening to my mom. We tried to call but of course the phone would not be given to her, that made us curious but I chose not to think about it.
She came to visit us in school later and was looking dark, slim and stressed out like she had been ill. She was meant to rest but she went right back to work in Abuja where she fell ill again and then came down to Calabar where my dad was (they were happily married but lived separately because of work). That was when the stroke hit. She started undergoing treatment and physiotherapy after which she got better and then got worse. When I came back home and I saw how she was…I…I…I was sad, tears rolled down my eyes. I couldn’t believe my mom was looking like that, her state was terrible you can only imagine. The last time I saw her alive was the day I was resuming school. I asked her for her laptop and she said I could take it then I was out the door. That was it.
I don’t think about it much. Thinking about it makes me sad.
I was back in school and it was exam time. A family member called, cousin or so, and told me my mother had passed. I couldn’t believe it. I had been talking to my sister and my father all this time and none of them told me anything! When I asked they simply wanted to know who told me. They knew I was having exams and didn’t want the news to affect me. So much for that. I wrote the next paper I had, came back to my room, lay on my bed and remained there for the rest of the day. That’s…that’s how it happened. In summary.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“What’s your favourite memory of your mother?”
“This is one question I cannot answer on the spot. I have to have a moment, something has to bring a memory that I can tag as my favourite to mind. I have spent so much time with her and I had many memories with her. All through the time I was growing up we had many fun moments and funny enough I can’t remember any now. She was nice. No matter how harsh she seemed sometimes she would draw you close and make sure you didn’t feel unloved.”
Nodding “Do have any random memories about her?”
“Yes! There was this time that my mom came to pick me up from someplace. She was running late and wasn’t in the best of moods. When we got home she asked me for the envelope I was supposed to get from the place and I realised that I had forgotten it there. She was very angry and shouted at me which was understandable because the envelope was the only reason I was there in the first place.
She stormed off into the next room and I quietly snuck out of the house. I walked quickly picked a bike and zoomed off to the place. I met the lady still at the office, picked up the envelope and was off. My mother simply hates us taking bikes so I knew she would be pissed if she found out. When I got back sure enough she was waiting for me. I gave her the envelope and she told me how she called the lady to let her know she would be coming the following day to pick the envelope only to hear I had just left her place. She then asked me how I got there and back so quickly and then I braced myself for some sort of impact. Ooh I got impact but not what I expected. She hugged me, telling me how sorry she was because she knew I didn’t like it when she was mad or shouting and that pushed me to do that.
I was shocked. I was not expecting that at all. We had a moment there. And when I got to my room I had another moment, I thoroughly enjoyed that bike ride!”
Smiling “I can imagine. Tell me what your relationship was like?”
“My mom and I were close. She was reserved, like I am. She was all about her work .We talked about random things but we never really gisted like we would with my dad. She always tried to make sure we were happy and well fed she didn’t spoil us or anything but she always provided for us. She was strict so when it was time to ask for something we (my sister and I) would shuffle it, but the funny thing was when she found out we needed stuff she would be upset that we didn’t come to her. She didn’t want us to go about asking people for things. She was good…I mean…I don’t know what to say, she was my mom.
Ooh I just got another memory. I would go with her to the market most times, from when I was a child till our very last time. I wouldn’t cook with her when we got back but I would help her carry stuff or simply accompany her and wait in the car till forever. Sometimes she would keep me in one of the stalls while she went along. So I was the market buddy. And when we get home I would go and sleep till food was ready. Sometimes my sister was on the market trip as well
She had nice perfumes too. I remember as a child I would use them, they always smelled nice. She wasn’t much of a talker, we were used to it.”
“She was perfect! Do you have any regrets?”
“I believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t think I have any regrets. I know if she was alive things would have been different but maybe I wouldn’t be who I am today. She was good and when she left it was difficult adjusting to now living with my father because we used to live with her and spend holidays together as a family.”
“Tell me, what was moving on like?”
“I almost cannot remember. One time my sister, my dad and I were sitting in the living room talking about the events surrounding her death I was angry and I cried- more like teared up. I had a lot of anger boxed up inside of me and the way her family members were behaving was not making it any better. I wanted my revenge on them for a long time. They made it difficult for us. I was quiet with my anger. It was there but suppressed.
My friends in school, my roommates, no one knew. I didn’t tell anyone. Until one random day in my second year that a bunch of us were gisting in the room and my former roommate from my first year asked why I don’t talk about my parents. And why whenever I’m asked about them I just say they’re fine and move on. He asked about my mom and I told them she was dead.
He suspected something was wrong all along and he confronted my other roommates. He was sad and upset, he couldn’t believe that my mom had passed and none of my roommates knew or bothered to find out if anything was up. See he lost his father when he was younger so he understood and he could see the signs in a way.
He and I never really got along before. He used to make these sarcastic jokes and try to be funny. But after that day we became friends and a terrible pair at that. Terrible in a good way. We talked and he understood. He helped me come to terms with it. We even started making cringe worthy jokes about death and people found it funny.
But as for dealing with the loss…it was hard. Very hard. But then things distract you. Exams, friends, family, daily activities, and time passes. So I am not thinking about it as much unless something triggers a memory. Like when someone makes you sit down and talk about it. Like now…”
Sigh. “Did you have any support while going through all of this? You’ve already mentioned your friend.”
“No I was okay on my own. As for my friend, that was only after he found out. The only person I spoke with about my mom was my sister. We shared common memories…she could relate.”
“What was transitioning to a life without your mom like?”
“Adjusting was not easy. We lived with our mom our whole life and now we were going to live with our dad. Whom we’ve never lived with for a stretch over six months before. Definitely it was not the same. My dad didn’t really understand our needs- supplies and all that because he wasn’t used to it. My mom had always taken care of all of it but eventually we found a way to meet in the middle. With my dad we had to learn to do stuff, go out and get whatever we needed to get done on our own; my mom was strict but she would never have sent us out on our own. But we adjusted. I always say this- knowing someone from afar and losing them is different from losing someone close to you. Looing someone you see every day…that’s a different ballgame altogether.
My sister took a few hits, having to move back home and go from home to school everyday. She took over from my mom- cooking meals, planning and making sure the house was in order. At that time our youngest was 4- my baby sister, so my sister (the older one) really had to take on the role of big sister. I have sat in PTA meetings a couple of times myself, a very interesting experience if I might add. We coped, we managed, it was hard but we made it.”
“That’s amazing. If you could say anything to her right now what would you say?”
“Oh gee! I’ve never really thought of that. But I think I’d say thank you…For making me the man I am today, even though I would say I’m still in the ‘becoming’ phase. And I will do my best to have the future she imagined for my sisters and I. She was one heck of a mother. She makes other mothers look like sh…”
“Na ah. No cussing on my blog.”
“So what were some of her pet peeves?”
“Little things that drove her crazy”
“Ooh okay. Pronouncing a word wrongly or not using the right tense. She would get in your face for that. Ooh and when I was 10 she would give change anytime I put my shirt collar right. That time any shirt that had a collar I would wear it without paying any attention to the collar. I don’t know why I did that.”
Laughing “Are you serious! Okay we’re almost done so you would soon be rid of me. How did you move on and find joy?”
“There comes a time. When time passes you move past it unconsciously. You have other tasks, and deadlines, and activities to focus on and life continues. We couldn’t be sad forever. With time everything comes back to normal, or rather to the new normal.”
“Okay. What advice or encouragement would you offer to someone who is where you were?”
“I would tell the person it gets better. Sometimes trying to comfort the person makes them cry the more or heats up the anger inside of them. So it is always good to say a little, hang by them and listen, because they would have something to say.”
“I have never really thought about it that way.” Nodding.
“But in summary, it gets better. Try and live for the future because you can’t change the past. That is what people don’t always remember. So don’t waste too much time being sad.”
“Great advice. That’s it, you’re done! Than you so much. You can sign off now.”
“Thank you for having me and you guys out there reading too. I hope this at least touched one of you out there. And if you want to check me out you can find me @evandaniel_. Take care.”
I hope that helped someone out there. We would be hearing next from Dela, a girlfriend of mine that lost her mom some time ago. Until then stay stellar, keep taking one step in the right direction. Make sure you’re following the blog for more, like it if you love my friend and encourage him for telling his story. And finally don’t forget to share with someone who might need it or with someone who has a friend or family who is going through loss.
Much love from my end