Dealing With The Loss Of A Loved One.


In 1969, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote a book titled "On Death and Dying". It said: when a person is faced with the reality of death or awful fate, he or she will experience a series of emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This stages can occur in any order but must not necessarily be experienced by the aggrieved.
This hypothesis became so popular in the US medical field, they named it: "the five stages of grief".
I lost my beloved father, whom I fondly called by his title "Omenefife", last year, December. At the time of his illness and until his death, I bargained – promised the one above just about anything to make him well. To no avail. When it dawned on me that my beloved father, who had always stood tall as an Iroko was fading fast and losing the fight for survival, I began to accept things, albeit subconsciously.
This acceptance, however, did not prepare me for the time of death. That time when he laid his head on my shoulder and took his last breath.
For a long time, I was angry at God, fate and whoever or whatever took my beloved father away from me. In my grief, I considered suing UNTH for medical negligence, they didn’t do anything to keep him alive. Heck, they couldn’t diagnose the illness! But I said to myself: to what end? To get tied up in a legal battle that will stretch over years and prolong my agony?
Still, my anger lingered. I stopped praying, going to church and believing men of God when they preach the benevolence of God. But, whether angry or not, I am a Christian. The belief has been instilled in me. No matter how mad at circumstances I was, deep down in my heart, I still believed in God.
So, I took to reading psychological ebooks that talk about how to deal with the loss of a loved one. I read stories that broke my already broken heart, and I thought in thanksgiving: at least I had him for 29years. 29years of bliss; of unmerited love and unwavering support. Omenefife was my number one fan. Anybody that knew him would tell you how proud of me he was. He never stopped supporting me, financially and otherwise, even when I made mistakes that must have been staggeringly painful for such a proud intelligent man. Still, he believed in me. He would tell me, "The only one, you can be anything you want to be. Only if you exercise discipline."
"The only one" was his pet name for me, when he wasn’t calling me, "the attorney".
He never failed to visit me all through my days in school. From secondary school to university. During my days in the university, friends called me "Daddy’s girl". A name I cherished and coveted. I got this name because Dad usually visited, once a month, laden with akpu and ofe onugbo, bags of satchet water, tins of milk, milo and glucose, toiletries and fruits. He was a caring father. The world’s best Dad.
When it seemed I lacked motivation, Omenefife took to parental bribery, to ensure I reached the zenith. In my fourth year at university, when I lamented my inability to reach the points for a second class upper division, he promised me a car if I made it. And, how I strove to earn that car! My final year, I made a 4:2 GPA but it didn’t make up for earlier years of laxitude and nonchalance: I graduated with a second class lower division. I can’t remember ever reading like that in my whole life. Not even at Law School did I study that hard.
Omenefife was still proud. He told me results don’t matter. For a man who was top of his Urban and Regional Planning Class at Ibadan, I knew he was only being supportive. I was humbled at this show of unmerited love, despite my shortcomings. I vowed to do better.
Omenefife was my hero, my first love, my good friend, my mentor, and on many occasions, my conscience. He never failed to set me right when I go astray. He will call, text or write one of his emotionally charged letters, berating me. Letters that I hang unto now, trying valiantly to cling to happy memories of him. Memories, psychologists say will help me deal with my grief better.
Today, I watched a father, lovingly guide his son – a boy of 9 or so – to the alter to give offering, and I doubled over in grief. Tears streamed down my cheeks, as I remembered days of old. When, as a happy family, we pilgrimmed at Azunmi with the Iyizoba’s. I wept bitterly for the loss of my love – my security. I will never hear him ask, in that joking manner of his "The attorney, I hope you are putting it to them?"
Yes! I am still angry. Angry that fate cruelly snatched my father away when I hadn’t achieved anything to make him really really proud of me. I might hold an LL.B and a B.L but he wanted and hoped for much more than that for me. On his death bed, he still found the strength to remind me, severally, to ensure I obtain that LLM in Oil and Gas, we talked about. He made me promise; as if he knew I had plans of abdicating the legal profession. A promise I mean to keep (God’s willing).
Omenefife, Kubler-Ross knows her onions. I have accepted you’re no more, but I find myself slipping into depression when I remember you’re no more. I find myself reaching for my phone to call you to lay a complaint or seek guidance. I find myself still angry at Fate that she took you away, and is gleefully keeping me from fulfilling the many promises I made to you. If only she is a woman I can engage in physical combat, I will beat the crap out of her. Not because I am strong but because I am an aggrieved daughter with an axe to grind.
Fate owes me one, and she owes me big.

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About Egoyibo Okoro

Beautiful. Friendly. Opinionated. Feminist. Scholarly. Apolitical. Christian. Sometimes, I write in Engli-Igbo and/or pidgin English. Just so you know, I am naturally disgruntled about a lot of things, most especially gender inequality, human rights abuses, racism and corruption. #EndChildMarriage. #EndTerrorism. #EndPoverty. #EndRacism. #EndImperialism. The Igbo say, "egbe bere, ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwa ya" - Live and let live!
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8 Responses to Dealing With The Loss Of A Loved One.

  1. Ezike Francis Chinweuba says:

    Amen

  2. prince Chioke says:

    It’s a pity my young attorney. Shared grief goes a long way to lessen the burden. Well, in your grief I have shared. Others as well. Let’s hope it goes a very long way to buy you peace of mind. ‘never lost a young dear one. Wouldn’t know how it hurts, but I know you’re really hurt.
    What more can I say, than “the Lord is your strength “. Him alone can heal your broken heart. Take solace in Him.
    May the soul of Omenefife continue to rest in his maker…. Amen!
    Cheers my dota. Viva!

  3. ijeoma says:

    Ego the feminist I love ur write up.Don’t worry God has already given u theheart to bear.U need to forget $ leave everyfin for God.He hs D best say

  4. Okoro Chibuzor says:

    Missing so much Dad..countinue 2 rest in peace

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