Nigerian Lives: 3 People Share Their Experiences With Grief 

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One can never be totally prepared for the ravages of grief – not the frequency of it in life nor the months of struggle that may have led up to the defining moment of loss. Grief being an “evidence of love” might explain why it remains rooted in our beings the same way as love. The intensity of one’s love extends into the feelings of loss and pain, while memories become marred with a constant reminder of their absence. As far as universal experiences go, grief’s permanence makes it difficult to confront or describe. Although there is no going back from it as it ebbs into every aspect of one’s life,  with time, it becomes more bearable to live with. 

Although no grief is the same, there are common themes of loss and pain felt among the people it affects, who have to come up with ways to live with it, so we spoke to a few people about their experiences with grief and what has been helping them heal from it. 


Unfortunately I don’t think grief ends, but I think it does get better. When it’s fresh it’s like a wound that hurts all the time but then as time goes on it’s just a scar that never really fades and hurts just a bit less. When my dad died two years ago, I just knew my life was never gonna be the same. It was my greatest fear come true and it showed me that the absolute worst could happen and so, since then nothing really scares me anymore. Grief is weird because one day you could be totally fine and then the next day – a scent, a song, or something else could just have you completely undone. I remember my dad every single day. Not one day goes by that I do not think of him. When it first happened I was completely broken and I didn’t even think life could go on as normal and I was kind of right.

Life didn’t go on as normal, however, a new normal came along and I’ve gotten used to it. I would say grief brings people closer in my experience. I became much closer to my family as it was a shared loss and my friends were such rocks at the time. I was angry at God for a long while but now our relationship, although not perfect, is getting much better. I also talk about my dad a lot and that has helped me grieve…I do not talk about the day he died. I’m not sure I can talk about that yet or maybe ever but I speak on fond memories and things he loved. My dad used to love to sing so I sing a lot more and it reminds me of him. This might seem funny but one other way is I tend to enjoy my life a lot more because he believed in living life to the fullest so I take as many  good days as I can get and make the best out of it. It’s not been an easy journey, just learning along the way and keeping as much of my dad in my heart as I possibly can.


It’s like, the moment of absolute loss is an explosion. All the fragments of the lost are flung in every direction. Across the entire world, across your entire life. Every time you encounter a piece of them, no matter how small, it’s a storm. The rest of your life becomes a pilgrim’s journey to find all the little bits. You’re famished, but hoping you’ll get enough is futile. Always more of them to yearn for, but never really miss. You don’t miss who’s always there – their absence is a constant presence in your mind. One day, you see someone’s smile, which reminds you of them. You’re walking in a market, and you hear someone’s voice, and for a moment, for a brief moment, you think it’s them. A hand gesture, a scent, someone’s face in the distance. They’re in everything; they’re in nothing. And when you have a person who’s like, at the very centre of your life, light go first off, everywhere go cold pieces. Then, you trudge through the dark till your eyes adjust.  “You see so well in the dark.” “Haha, I sat in it for a long time.” Sometimes, the grief from loss takes on a life of its own, and we learn to live with it. I guess that’s what people mean when they say they’ve moved on.


They talk about the five stages of grief and how it goes in order of denial, anger, depression etc. the thing with my grief was it was not in order. Some days it’s acceptance but most of the days it’s depression. It also doesn’t go away. It’s always there. Some days are better than the others. It’s almost been five years and I have days where I feel like it just happened and the pain is so fresh. In summary grief is just always there, you just kind of learn to adapt to it.  My girls have been an amazing support system. I honestly don’t think I would have done it without them. Working out is also amazing, from going on walks to weight lifting. Lastly and most importantly going through this with my dad and my brother because they’re the only two who know and feel the pain the same way that I do.