Loss of any kind isn’t a good feeling. The loss of a job, a house, money, friendship, or even a business deal can hit you real hard. But what will you do when the loss that comes your way isn’t something that can be replaced? At about this time, nine years ago, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. The whole family was filled with dread and fear, as the doctors revealed to us, that there was nothing they could do to salvage the situation.
Honestly when we rang in the New Year in January of 2009, I never in my wildest dreams or imaginations, thought the year would end with my mother passing away. I had been a very fearful child growing up, and I carried that fear with me when I moved thousands of miles away for college. I called my dad only on the weekends, but bombarded my mom’s phone with calls every day, just to make sure she was doing great, and nothing unexpected had happened to her.
My mom was my life, she stayed at home with us most times, while my dad was out of town. She was an incredible woman; she worked a 9-5, and also ran a successful small business, together with making sure her kids and husband, were taken proper care of. We spent our evenings watching Nigerian movies, and just enjoyed her company when dad was away at work. We also loved sleeping over in her bedroom, we were a close-knit family.
So you can only imagine the shock we all felt when we discovered that there was no remedy for her situation. Of course, as Christians, we immediately turned to our faith, we prayed that God will heal her; we prayed that she would be here much longer than the doctors predicted that she would. We pleaded with Him not to take our mom, but in December of 2009, she eventually passed away, after months of battling the deadly disease.
My mother in the early 1980’s
My coping mechanism when I am faced with a difficult situation is always to turn to God for help. So once again I turned to God because I needed all the strength I could get, to be there for not just myself, but for my family as well. We also had a great support system in our family and friends. They were there for us, in times we couldn’t stand on our own, or understand why things happened the way they did.
People bought us groceries, sent us money and came to spend time with us. We all comforted ourselves with the fact that, she was now at peace and no longer in pain, which is what we wanted for her ultimately. I had to grow up quickly, and take on responsibilities that I usually shied away from. I had it at the back of my mind that she was gone, and no amount of tears or depression could bring her back, so I moved forward with my life, just as she would want for me to do.
“True strength comes when you are able to give what has been given to you.”
I also became a support system for my brother, because it hit him the hardest. He was the baby of the house and was extremely close to our mother. I wore the hat of sister/mother and stopped all those silly fights with him that meant nothing, to begin with. And also reassured him that all was going to be okay.
Nine years later, we are all doing great, although there is no day that passes by without me thinking about her, now it is done with a smile, rather than with tears. My hope is to become the incredible woman that she was with her family and the people around her someday. And also be there for others as people were for me, in their own difficult times.