The heartbreak that never heals

It is like a hole. A never ending void that you know will never get filled. Not just a void. A painful void. You feel it deep inside your soul. It chokes you. It weakens you. It paralyzes you.

So how do you deal with it? Some people say seek God. But how exactly do you seek help from the one person who could have prevented this? If i did, I have a couple of questions for God: Why me? Why my family? Why MY mother?

So, you can either try to fill this hole that could never be filled. I tried. Or you try to ignore it. My current method.

Either ways it is there. It has been a year and all I can think of is the horror of spending the rest of my life with this feeling of emptiness.

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The day my mother died, I knew she was going to die.

It was a sunday afternoon that came with a gut feeling I wish I never had. I remember, mid studying for my economics exam that I was scheduled to write the next day, telling both my best friends, Ada and Achike, that I might not have a mother after today. They both completely rejected the idea and instead prayed with me. But when I heard my sister’s phone ring, I knew my biggest fear had become real.

P.S if you are wondering — I still wrote the economics exam the next day.

I despise being called “strong” within the last year because I am not. Strength is not denial. Many times I still wake up hoping to get that infamous lengthy broadcast from her on whatsapp. It’s never there. Many times I still wake up, considering her disregard for time zones, hoping to see a voicemail with the usual “uchera it’s your mummy, call me back”. The voicemail isn’t there either. As a result of not accepting she is gone I have never really mourned my mother. I also made a choice to not attend her funeral. A choice that would guarantee my last memory of her, is not her as a lifeless cold object.

I have been told by many that they see my mother in me. It is slightly difficult to describe my mother. How do you describe someone who literally gave you life? My mum was a powerful force and as her last baby I felt that force the most. She was my guardian, my best friend, my rock, my biggest supporter and my confidant. Everything about my mother was my comfort zone. Her face, her smile, her smell. Just writing this brings back memories of me crying numerous times to my mother and burying my face deep in her skin with tears. Whenever I needed my mum, she was always there. Regardless of the distance.

My mum, at the lowest point of my life, so low, I considered leaving this world, once said to me exactly “when there is life there is hope”.

So why did i get just 21 years with her? I had plans for my mother and she had plans for me. My mother spent majority of her life working tirelessly for the success of her children. I will never get to share that with her. She will also never get to be called grandma. I won’t get to experience omugwo — a period in igbo culture, where a mother helps her daughter take care of her new born baby. My mum will never get to see me graduate. My mother taught all her children how to drive including her husband. I won’t ever get that either.

No one warns you about the triggers.

Every hint of the tiniest memory brings the tears. The mother references in movies and songs. The conversation your friends have about their own mothers. People unaware asking “how is your mum doing”. The parts in forms where you have to fill in your mother’s information. Passing by a store she loved. Cooking a meal she taught you. Singing a song you learnt from her. Applying an advice she gave you. The triggers are endless and the worst part of grief. The triggers are also no respecter of place and time. I have cried in places from the bus, to the bathroom during dates, to the middle of accounting class just remembering what a great accountant she was. The greatest trigger of them all is the mention or even the slightest thought of cancer.

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A year ago today, I lost my mother to a two year battle with Cancer.

A year ago that feels like a minute ago.

Still, I thank you mum, because you make me hustle even harder.

Rest in Peace Chi.