The first person with whom I normally share my good news has passed away. Not being able to share my good news with Chidinma made my grief that much greater.
Chidinma’s death has caused big ripples in several lives, and I am not the only one who is affected. Family and friends have also been affected by her death. Grief affects people differently, and you have been following my grief journey.
However, in this week’s blog, Grace, who Chidinma and I affectionately refer to as our firstborn, shares with us a glimpse of her grieving process and how she is dealing with grief.
How do you handle good news after a loved ones death?
“Congratulations, we’d like to offer you the role”
I got a new job!
Shortly after that would normally be a FaceTime to Chidinma to share the news but this time I just looked at my phone and sighed.
I typed the text I would’ve sent to her and quickly deleted it, cause that’s silly? Right? I honestly don’t know why I thought to do that, probably watched too many films. I was also too scared she would text back but nobody else would be able to see the writing but for me. Yup, too many films.
Don’t get me wrong, this is great news! I’m taking steps in the right direction in my career but the real person I want to share it with is gone. I wanted to hear how proud she was of me, I wanted her to bring Anisa to the phone to share in our excitement.
I remember when I first got the job that I have now resigned from, I called Chidinma but the signal was awful so I couldn’t hear her. Rather than wait till I got home, I left the building and walked a little so I could call her to share the news.
If you know Chidinma and you have ever shared good news with her then I don’t need to explain the sound she’d make when she heard your news.
For the benefit of those that don’t, She shouted like someone just gave her a plate of the bottom of the jollof rice pot (God, she loved weird things). I had to tap the volume button on the side of my phone to save my eardrums.
That’s exactly what I wanted this time too.
Anyway, I took a deep breath and of course made the calls to my family and friends and let them know the good news. As expected they were all very excited for me but there was something missing and I knew exactly what it was.
Every “real” job I’ve had I’ve called Chidinma to share the news, she was my loudest cheerleader. She always told me how proud she was of me and I truly cherished that.
“Penggggg” for clarity she called me peng Olajide (don’t act like you don’t know why)
“This your name Grace really belongs to you” is what she would say and then force me to drive to her for a sleepover so we could talk about everything and nothing, all night to celebrate.
So yeah, I’m happy I’ve got this job but I’m gutted I couldn’t call her. I’m happy I know this would make her proud, but I’m gutted she’s not here to tell me once again.
They never tell you about this side of grief, the side where you feel like your tongue is so heavy.
Let me explain, you know you have a group of friends that just know everything so when something new happens there’s no need to catch them up? That was Chidinma, but now I struggle opening up or talking about anything because the process of catching someone up is years’ worth and I’m lazy.
Chidinma took the title “in-law” and put it in the bin. She was my sister, my best friend and my role model. I remember one of our first conversations about career and life as a woman, I remember every bit of advice she gave me. “Remember they chose you and you chose them” I honestly felt like I just finished having a conversation with Michelle Obama. She inspired me to want more and get more!
She told me about her career journey, the ups and let me in on the downs.
One of my greatest concerns, when Chidinma passed, was having nobody to talk to. Don’t get me wrong, I have the best support system but something just isn’t right. I understand life has to go on after the passing of a loved one but there’s this ever-present breathlessness that catches me unaware.
The best way I can describe this feeling is, you know when you’re out having a good time and you suddenly can’t remember if you locked the door or remember if you left the straighteners on… that’s it. Something significant happens in life and the burst of happiness is short-lived because suddenly you remember…but she’s gone.
One thing I have learnt in this season and journey of grief is, it is fine to feel. They say “time is the best healer” but it’s actually been my greatest point of pain. I can’t remember but someone once said “Grief is something we all have in common but deal with differently”.
Grief is a strange territory, the one thing that’s sure in life (death), it surprises me how unprepared I am with managing these emotions.
My go-to? Take your time and feel your emotions! Let nobody force you to be strong or coach you out! Your emotions are valid.
An encouragement for us that live to see another day. The reason I know Chidinma would be proud of me and I don’t doubt her love for a moment is because she told me whilst she was here.
I’m no writer so I hope this post makes sense and more than anything I hope like me, you learn to understand that your loved one will always be so proud.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. – Anonymous
I miss you Chidinma.
To Be Continued Next Wednesday…
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