Dammy Ojikutu: Grieving The Death of My Mother

Dammy Ojikutu: Grieving The Death of My Mother
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I had a feeling something was going to happen the day my mother died. She appeared to have stopped responding as if she had finally lost the will to live. It was like a cattle rearer allowing his rams to wander, knowing they’d find their way back. But for her, it was different. We were never going to come back home to her. From her bed, she looked at me a few times and struggled to say something. She couldn’t speak and it tugged at my heart. She only managed to throw a few smiles at me; smiles I could only detect from the mild creases around her face.

In the morning, I played and sang her favourite worship songs as I held her hands. I played them loud, too loud in fact, as though I was waiting for a reaction. Despite my heavy heart, I wore my big girl pants and attended meetings like it was nothing. I knew that my life could change at the end of the day but my mind would not accept that. I knew but my brain will not process the fact that it was happening.

I came home to see my brother helplessly pumping her chest. I saw the weird look on his face but my mind would not cooperate. My heart broke. Seeing her lifeless body made me lose the will to live. I just went numb, unsure of what my life was going to become and I just knew, that life as I knew it had ended. It then became a poor attempt at surviving every waking day.

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I have yet to find a definition for grief that makes any sense.

I’ve struggled to sleep like a normal person. At night, I find myself having to either exhaust my mind or listen to music with earphones. The most difficult part about grieving is feeling like I have to pretend to be okay and show the world that life is carrying on as usual. I’ve ended up being a support for people around me, as they don’t know how to act. I can’t stay too quiet because I’ll be labelled, and I keep to myself because others wouldn’t know how to help. In truth, I’ve always been sad, but I didn’t know how to hide it. It’s hard for me not to feel anything when others talk about their mothers as if they’ve done something wrong. I used to love going home because there was always something special waiting for me. Whether it was Jollof rice or fresh fish, my mother was an excellent cook. I probably wasn’t very supportive of my friends when they were grieving their losses, but now I understand. There’s no easy way to say this: grief is something you have to experience for yourself, one day at a time, from a new perspective each day.

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Feature Image Adryel Alexandre for Pexels

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