Brokeness is a feeling i know too well.
I broke the day my mom got sick. I stayed broken as she fought for her life for what seemed to me like the longest 4 months ever.
I kept breaking as i stayed with her and watched her helpless in pain. It killed me. I died and i didnt know.
I was about 14 years old when my mom fell sick. She suffered from partial stroke that later deteriorated as a result of the barely existing health care service in Nigeria.
While i was on break from school, i stayed with her in the hospital. At night, my dad would come get me and we’ll go home together. I was responsible for taking care of her. Spoke to the doctors whenever they had information to pass across cause my dad would be at work. I became the “designated adult”. I cried by her bed side everyday cause i was still a kid. I didn’t know how to not feel weak, vulnerable and powerless. My psyche was tremedously affected. My reasoning changed. I had to grow up and i had to do it fast. People started telling me things like “you’re now the mother to your brothers and the wife to your dad. Remember you’re the Ada of your family“. But i didn’t want to be any of those things. I wanted to be an oblivious child that did stupid things kids my age did. I didn’t want to worry about my sick mom or life without her. I didn’t want any of that. What i wanted mattered very little, it seemed.
Got back from school one hot afternoon after school re-opened, to see a ton of people i didn’t know in my house. My guess was that the folks from church gathered to pray for her quick recovery. The moment i heard the pastor say “God please grant Brother Okafor and the kids the grace to overcome loosing Sister Tochi” i went numb. Then, in a split second i was overwhelmed with a flush of emotions. I screamed so hard i thought i was going to damage my vocal cords.
Spent a good number of years hating God after she died. I hated what He stood for. I mean, how could He allow such a sweet, strong, spiritual and God-loving woman that meant the world to me to die. I thought. At the time, i had no idea that the Scriptures says the heavens of the heavens belong to God but the earth He has given to the children of men. I blamed God for something that was not His fault.
I stopped going to church because i didn’t see the need to. Mummy was dead. She used to hound my siblings and i to go to church when she was alive and healthy. She made sure i wore pretty, girly dresses with big earrings and high-heel shoes to match on Sundays because i was her “ada obodo oyibo” (first daughter from abroad lol). She was the pillar that held the Okafors’ together. She made things happen. She made my siblings and i feel safe and secure in this scary and uncertain world.
The church reminded me of her and quite frankly all i wanted was to forget. Forget the memory of her being sick and in so much pain. Forget the pain i constantly feel whenever i wake up to the reality of not having her around. I was incredibly close to her. We looked so much alike. People called us siblings cause she was still young and really pretty. We shared the same clothes, wore the same shoes, went alsmost everywhere togther. I was her “handbag”. It sucked loosing my “carrier”.
For about 3 years after loosing my mom i became a misotheist (misotheism “the hatred of God”). I avoided the church folks like a plague. Called them phonies and hypocrites, always telling me “it is well Ify“. It didn’t feel well. I didn’t feel well. I felt sick. I felt wounded in my soul. I felt betrayed.
I didn’t know that the trauma of literally watching my mum die built strongholds in my mind. I became extremely defensive. Kept to myself a lot. I stopped letting people in. I became aware of the frailty of human existence in a negative way. I started working in my dad’s business centre and assumed the role of my mom because bills had to be paid and i was no longer a “kid”. Life made certain of that.
However, in the midst of the hurt and pain, one very important thing i learnt was that the love of God runs deep. Real deep. He stuck with my “misotheist self”. Kept making His love visible to me until i finally saw it. All the time i spent walking in the opposite direction from Him was understood and forgiven.
I started finding solace in God. In the place of prayer. I began understanding even in my hurt, He was there. I stopped seeing God as the enemy. He wasn’t. I began seeing the Scriptures as His love letter to me. I got encouraged when i read it and said it out loud. The more i prayed and meditated, the more at peace i felt.
After about 4 years, I started going to church again. First out of curiosity. Then i started going joyfully. Got my siblings to join me. Through it all, He was there, yearning to give me rest. The rest i so desperately needed.
Nothing in life can prepare us for the death of a loved one. Death is so deeply personal and stunningly final, nothing can emotionally prepare us for its arrival. With every death, there is a loss. And with every loss, there will be grief. Today’s culture tells us to move past this process quickly. Take a few days, weeks perhaps, to grieve, but don’t stay there too long. Grieving can make those around us uncomfortable. Friends sometimes don’t know what to do with our pain. Loved ones struggle to find adequate words to comfort our aching wounds.
Yet grief, as painful a season as it is, is a necessary part of our healing. Grieving can be the most difficult time for people. It was for me. Trying to balance the feelings of pain and loss while going forward with your everyday life.
WHEN YOU GRIEVE:
Give yourself space and time, be honest with your emotions, try not to grieve alone to avoid doing something drastic and harmful to yourself.
Turn to God’s word for ease and comfort as you try to overcome grief. It took me years of struggling to come to this realization.
Don’t hold back the tears. You might be going through something similar. Probably you’re still trying to deal with loosing a loved one or a dear friend. The truth is it’s going to be really hard. You will cry. A lot. But be conscious of the love and grace of God.
Don’t try to figure it out all by yourself. The Psalmist in Psalm 34:18 says that God is close to those with broken hearts and He saves people whom their spirits have been crushed. Psalm 147:3 says that He heals the brokenheareted and binds up thier wounds. Many of us have soul wounds. We need Him to bind us up and restore us.
Take it all in
When grieving, it is important to feel your feelings. Feel the rage. Feel the anguish. Feel the hurt. But when you’re done being in your feelings, remember what’s important; God has a plan to heal and restore you. You don’t have to stay broken.
English poet and hymnodist, William Cowper, described grief itself as medicine. Grief cleanses the anguish from our souls and sets us back up on the path of life. Grieving is the process God uses to bring us to a place of wholeness. I know it might not feel that way, just give it time. Grieving is a necessary part of our journey. Healing. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense but let’s be “stupid” enough to trust Him.
Have you ever or are you currently dealing with grief? What has it been like for you ?
‘Till my next post…stay beYOUtiful 😚😚