A DECADE AWAY

“Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar. Here’s what really happens: The spaces between the times you miss them grow longer. Then, when you do remember to miss them again, it’s still with a stabbing pain to the heart. And you have guilt. Guilt because it’s been too long since you missed them last.”

“I was tired of well-meaning folks, telling me it was time I got over being heartbroken. When somebody tells you that, a little bell ought to ding in your mind. Some people don’t know grief from garlic grits. There are some things a body ain’t meant to get over. No, I’m not suggesting you wallow in sorrow, or let it drag on; no I am just saying it never really goes away. A death in the family is like having a pile of rocks dumped in your front yard. Every day you walk out and see those rocks. They’re sharp and ugly and heavy. You just learn to live around them the best way you can. Some people plant moss or ivy; some leave it be. Some folks take the rocks one by one, and build a wall.”

87,655 hours. That’s how long it has been since I saw my dad alive.

3652 days. That’s how many days I relive the horrors of that night, something I probably will until I stop breathing.

23/08/2005. That’s the day I changed. For better or worse? I have no idea. I can’t even remember who I was before then. It all seems like a dream. When I try to remember the pre-2005 years, I have a hard time picturing how I really was. It all seems like I’m seeing someone else’s memories.

Back to that night, how to describe it. I have never told anybody what really happened that night. The official story was He died of cardiac arrest, but that’s just what it is – Official. To understand how horrible that night was for me, one would need to know how close I was to him. And how much I looked up to him, I used to think my dad would live forever. Okay, maybe I didn’t think it like that but I just didn’t believe death would come knocking soon, I thought he would live into his 90s, maybe 100s but I got a reality blow that night – Things end and death represents the finality of all ends.

Crazy thing is, I couldn’t really cry. I was too numb and unable to think. I walked up to the car where he sat limp and lifeless in the front passenger seat held only by my elder brother who sat in the back seat. I kept thinking he would wake up and play an April fool’s joke on us but this was August and I was the only fool. I had never felt such despair and hopelessness before, I just wanted to wake up and discover it had all been a bad dream. And I slept and woke up but it wasn’t a dream, daddy wasn’t at home and he wouldn’t be coming back ever again. How was I supposed to move on? I had no idea. Even writing this, I see that I can’t ever move on. You can’t ever move on when there is finality to the loss of a loved one. You just find a way to live around the loss.

So what changed in me? I learnt to deflect attention from me, I couldn’t let anyone see how badly I was suffering, I got wittier, withdrew, learnt to put a smile on my face even when there a class-5 storm inside of me, I learnt to pretend that everything was alright. Sometimes, I failed and the pain leaks out but for the past 10 years, I have been doing a pretty good job, I plan to. I just don’t want to be saved. It’s like the pain has become my own identity, it’s the only way I know I can still feel. Every emotion or feeling I have had since then has been built on that pain. Hate, Joy, love, sadness, happiness, anger. The pain became the very foundation of which I am, add the other pains I have accumulated over the years and deep inside me, something only I can see is a big ball of pain which makes up the core of who I am. So saving me form the pain will feel like who I am is being erased and re-written at a core level. Who wants that?

I couldn’t sleep last night; I went to bed by 10pm, woke up around midnight and lay in bed with my eyes open for till the sky cleared. The following week after the 23rd of August, for the past 5 years has been my week of pain, it is the only time in the year where I let go and allow the pain consume me. I become a total mess, I stay in bed all day, lazy to get up and eat or do anything, I cry and think and cry and think and repeat until I feel drained. I never wake up with a dry pillow. I’ve come to embrace and dread it at the same time. And this year may be worse; I’ve never been in a relationship during these periods until now. And it has been the happiest I have ever been in 10 years, I smile for real but before I could tell my girlfriend about it, she hit me with the “She needs space (In her words; lots and lots of space)”, I have no idea where that came from and the only meaning I gave to it was that I was choking her and being overbearing. So I don’t think she will be there for me and listen to me when I feel like rambling, I don’t even know if I want to tell her anymore (I eventually may), but in the meantime, my hurt is double and I don’t know if I will come out of this with my mind in one piece. So I am, or am not, looking forward to going through hell alone.

So my nights are going to be the worst, and my days are going to be lifeless. Imagine having someone in your life and not being able to tell them what you are going through because they seem to not want to care. If you can imagine it, well, you have my support too.

But Life goes on. And we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even though we have no idea where the dark road leads.

2014 RETROSPECTING

“We pass through the present with our eyes blindfolded.
We are permitted merely to sense and guess at what we are actually experiencing.
Only later when the cloth is untied can we glance at the past
and find out what we have experienced and what meaning it has.”
Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves

 

I can’t say 2014 was a bad year for me neither can I call it a good year. But it was better than the previous year.

2013 was and is always going to be the worst year of my life, the ultimate lowest that I can ever get; the proverbial “rock-bottom”. I gave much away and I got nothing back, ended up losing everything. I ended up Clinical Depressed (without the Low Self-Esteem bit). I lost the ability to trust, to hope, to even care about anything anymore. I was in a very dark place, still am but it is getting better. It made me question the point of our existence; why are we really here on earth? Were we created just so we can spend all of our lives trying to get to a better place when we die? Were we created just so we could worship & praise a God who felt lonely and had to create us and then when we went wrong, He banished us and now we have to find our way back, a journey that takes the rest of our lives? WHAT IS THE POINT?

I stayed indoors 20 hours a day, I withdrew from friends & family, I subconsciously created a thick wall around my emotions & mind, making me seem like a robot most days just going through the motions; fake smiles, no pleasure in most things. I wanted to die; the only thing stopping me was the pain of dying slow. I was empty inside.

That was how I started 2014; hopeless & majorly depressed even though no one around me knew what was going on. No light at the end of the tunnel, there wasn’t even an end in the tunnel.

I made the decision to move back to Lagos after 3 years of shuffling between Benin & Abuja. This was the year I was going to use to pick up the pieces of myself. First step was getting a job, something to get me out of the house and around people each day, even though I had no idea who was going to hire a graduate without his certificate seeing as I refused to go back and collect it. The first five months were a blur; I found myself in a desultory relationship which I was able to get out of before the year ran out. I got a job in June and the only time I was ever home were the weekends. It didn’t help me deal with my problems but it did help to distract me enough times. I was finally able to get over the betrayal & an Ex. Writing about how I still felt towards her on my blog enabled me to face the feelings and find a way to do away with it. I had no one to talk to who would listen, I couldn’t afford a shrink and I couldn’t let anyone see how broken I was. I did the next best thing I knew how to and that was write, I poured it all out. Now I am over her, I am still broken, still in that tunnel with no end in sight but I have been able to create my own bright spot no matter how dim it gets sometimes and it keeps me from stumbling with every step I take.

2014 was about recovery for me and while I haven’t gotten there yet, I am moving towards it. Looking back, I can say it was a year of learning; I learned discipline. I learned more patience. I learned diligence. I learned that the wounds never really heal, you just learn to live around it. I learned tolerance. I learned to let go. I learned to make the most out of any given situation. I learned that in the end, all you really have is yourself.

There wasn’t any really standout moment for me because it wasn’t a year to make something; it was a year dedicated to picking myself up and finding my feet on the ground.

2015 is a year of structured focus. Planning and disciplined follow-through. A year to try to connect more with people, even if I am never able to genuinely trust another again.

2014 made me realize that despite how strong I came across to people, I am broken and need saving. And I tried to save myself but each time; I seemed to sink deeper into the darkness. I have given up on that but it doesn’t mean I stop living. There may be nothing in this world worth living for right now, so I just have to do is live; not for anybody nor for myself.

This is me. Broken, Lost, Dark. Just learning to live with it