DAY 9: PHIDELIA

 

Let me paint a picture of my 2015 for you. You’re sitting in your room, minding your business, when suddenly, about a dozen people come in wheeling in a buffet. You stand. You spot all your favourite dishes – jollof rice, dodo, small chops – everything you love is staring at you, steaming hot. The sight of the buffet makes your stomach rumble; you realise now that you had been hungry, but didn’t know until you saw the food, until you smelled its deliciousness. Your mouth is watering. You take a spoon of rice and you can’t believe how delicious it is. You take a second spoon. This is so good, how did you not know you were missing this? How were you surviving without this? The more you eat, the more you crave. You start to sit down, to relax and eat comfortably, when suddenly, the entire buffet disappears. You’re left reeling in hunger, with the taste of the jollof rice still lingering on your tongue. You look around, but it’s all gone, snatched away.

That’s how my joy was snatched away in 2015.

This year started on a very good note for me, and apart from losing my phone mysteriously on the 4th day of the year, I was having one of my best years yet. There was the fear that I wasn’t going to graduate, not because I thought I was going to fail, but because I was trying to graduate in 7 semesters, having lost a semester in my 2nd year. I had a lot of extra classes which meant stress. But my mum and I had been praying and we believed that my miracle was around the corner, and it was. In May, I confirmed that I was graduating. Even to this moment, that miracle dazes me. God is so beautiful.

Sometime in 2014, I tweeted that I badly wanted to be selected for Chimamanda Adichie’s writing workshop in 2015. In May 2015, there was a call for entries and nervousness took over me. A week to the deadline, I was still giving myself excuses on why I shouldn’t apply. The truth is, I was scared of rejection. About 2 days to the deadline, Chibu, my very good friend who doubles as my first reader and editor practically forced me to write my entry story. I finally sent in my application on the day of the deadline. A few days after my finals, I got a mail from Ms. Adichie herself, congratulating me on being selected for her workshop. Ha! I was ecstatic. I saw the mail at about 3 a.m. that morning and I remember waking my confused roommates who didn’t even know I had applied to celebrate with me. Attending that workshop was one of the highlights of my year. I met really awesome people, some of whom have become very important parts of my life. I learned very valuable writing and life lessons at that workshop, and I had so much fun, I didn’t want it to end.

Workshop ended about 3 weeks to my graduation ceremony and I came home to prepare for the turn up. I made my killer outfit, bought my killer shoes, booked my killer cake and started brainstorming on what killer dishes and small chops to prepare with my mum. My parents had already planned a vacation before the date of my graduation was announced which meant they were travelling a couple of days to the ceremony. My mum wasn’t at all happy about this and kept apologising. She promised to make sure I had everything I’d need even though she wouldn’t be there. We didn’t know that God had other plans.

On the 9th of July, 8 days to my graduation, my mum fell down in her bathroom and passed away. My world stopped. There was no warning, no goodbyes, nothing. She was there the previous night and the next morning she was just gone. I wanted the ground to swallow me, I wanted the whole world to pause. I had been having the best year of my life, and suddenly I had lost my world. I kept asking God why he would let something like that happen. I remember one pastor came to pay his respects and asked us to sing a thank you song. He said that we had to thank God for what had happened, because He allowed it happen for a reason. I couldn’t sing that song, I couldn’t resign myself to the belief that “God had a plan” as everyone wanted me to. It made no sense to me. For the next 2 months, I was unable to say a word of prayer. I was battling with faith. That kind of grief was alien to me. I had never lost anyone so close to me, so that kind of grief, that level of pain was alien to me and I was unprepared for it. I was living in a bubble of disbelief that allowed me to delude myself into forgetting what had happened, or rather into believing that I was dreaming, and it wasn’t really happening, and that I would wake up soon enough and find my mother, healthy and alive. I managed to stay in that bubble for 2 weeks, but it got destroyed as I watched my mother’s coffin being lowered into the ground. That was when realisation hit me. I became depressed and lost a lot of weight after the funeral. I’d spend the whole day on my bed, staring at the ceiling, or crying. Every day, I felt myself sinking deeper, being pulled in by regrets and grief. But God pulled me out. I’m forever thankful to Him for pulling me out of that dark place.

2015.

The year that brought me down to my knees with grief,

But my eyes found God, and my lips found prayers.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I’m very thankful for my sisters and my dad, I might not have survived this year if I wasn’t drawing strength from them. Also, I’m thankful for new family, Ayodeji, Naro and Mannie – thank you for coming into my life this year. I’m thankful for all the awesome people I met this year, especially my Farafina family. I’m thankful for Jennifer, you really are the best. I’m thankful for the people who offered me their shoulders when I needed it the most – Chibu, Andrea, Favour, Joy, Ajifa, Maro, Timehin, Jamal, Eloghosa, Thelma, Tamara, Anita. I can’t write down all your names. Thank you so much for being the light that accompanied me through a dark path.

Mostly, I’m thankful for the lessons I learned this year. Thank you, Titilope Sonuga, for “Becoming”, for reminding me that rock bottom is the perfect place for rebuilding. Thank you Sutra, for reminding me to be kind to myself, to show myself mercy. 2015 is a year I’ll always remember, but I’m glad I can say that I survived it, and I came out of it a stronger woman, and every day, I find something to be happy about.

P.S: #SeizeTheBae2015 – Mission Accomplished.

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Sooo you finally seized the Bae? Where is his picture please? The memory of your mum is blessed and we pray her goodness lives on in you. God bless you and your family. Amen.

 

 

Phidelia Imiegha

is a Nigerian writer and literature lover. She is an African literature enthusiast and accepts book gifts all year round. She tweets at @thephidelia_ and blogs at www.phideliaimiegha.com

32 Comments

  • Anita O says:

    My babyyyy. You’re a strong woman ! God bless you!

    Btw, who did you seize ? Hmm

  • Clarion says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I pray your family grows even stronger together, and find the strength to cope without her. And congrats on seizing the bae…

  • ThePfarrer says:

    Really sorry for your loss. God bless you for sharing.

  • eloxie says:

    Please accept my deepest condolences on your mothers passing. May God comfort you and your family. I celebrate all the lines that fell into place for you this year.
    Stay strong dear.

  • Jamal says:

    You have no idea how excited I am to see my name up there…you’re a darling. 2016 gon be a better year b, believe me.

  • Amiee says:

    So sorry for your loss. May 2016 bring lots of laughter and light your way.

  • Enajyte says:

    *hugs sweetheart* Stay slaying.

  • Lola says:

    I’m so proud of you…May her soul rest in eternal peace,Will always be here for you whenever u need me.Congrats on seizing the Bae😘

  • Engy says:

    I can totally relate to your journey. May God keep strengthening you. Congratulations on seizing the bae. LOL

  • Sharon says:

    Hey. So have a question I’d really love you to answer for me relating to school. Please message me at theworldfamoussharon@gmail.com. Thank you

  • Jeno says:

    I’m happy that your happiness is returning. And i’ll be forever sorry about how I acted when I heard about our loss.
    I hope I remain the best 🙂 x

  • Edgothboy says:

    I think youre stronger than you know. Youve lived every child’s nightmare and survived. Its great that you’re a writer, cos of your voice she will never be forgotten.

    If there is anything I can suggest to you, Ill ask that you read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It is a manual of sorts, for you, for now.

    I hope it gives perspective.

  • Obianuju says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. The pain will stay but don’t focus on that. Focus instead on the great memories; the prayers, the laughter, the sheer joy of enjoying someone else’s life. I’m truly sorry for your loss. Cyber hugs dear.
    P.s- Congratulations in graduation.

  • Fade says:

    Waoow! You are indeed stronger than you give yourself credit for. The suddenness of your loss is so painful and shocking. I gasped when i read it. Stay strong woman. Hugssss
    Congrats on school and bae *wink*

  • patience says:

    I read and had goose bumps all through, your work is lovely and I’m happy you experienced God your own way this year despite all. . I see you going places hun and I’m happy I get to go through some of it with you…. 2016 doesn’t have a choice than to be better…

  • Lizzieebunoluwa says:

    I’ve begun to dread the month of November. I lost seemingly close friends without warning in 2014 and 2015. I will not lie, I worry about November 2016. But you know, even in my gutting grief, I could only imagine how much more intense it was for immediate family members. I was just a friend afterall….and so I pray for Peace and comfort, the kind that Our Father of all mercies and comfort gives us in all our troubles…..knowing that(in the words of my friend, Lily), even though the pain of loss is all too real, our hope eternal is even more real(er).
    God will keep you and everyone else in perfect peace. Her memory is blessed.

    P.s: I’m also on that queue for pictures of the newly seized bae?
    A gazillion cheers to Love, Life and Hope! Congratulations!

  • S. says:

    It sucks losing your mum like that, and while life moves and it may hurt less, it’ll still suck the same. But darling God is faithful and he’ll be there! For all the moments you feel you can’t go on or can’t breathe or are too tired to take the next step, he’ll show up and you will be glad he did.

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