I’ve always enjoyed a good laugh and socializing as much as the next person. Be it with my small group of friends over dinner, watching a show or even travelling to different continents to celebrate milestone birthdays. Honestly, life was good, really good. Not because I didn’t have issues or that I had everything figured out. It was good because I had a wonderful family life with my husband and our four children.

In addition to that I had great relationships with my siblings and in-laws. I had amazing friends; friends who shared my values. Those I could call at short notice to hop on a plane with me, friends who I could call on to donate to a cause and they’d not because they shared my sentiments, but because they were committed to me. What more could a girl ask for? Everything else was the cherry on the cake. I had the cake.

However, I was a private person, and there were very few people even in my friendship group who knew things about me that I couldn’t put on a notice board. on the other hand, my husband loved being in front of the camera. He loved features in newspapers or granting interviews and his job put all that right up his alley. I shied away from all of that and protected my children as well. I didn’t really engage on social media and when my friends jokingly told me I was boring, my response would be, “My husband is out there and someone has to raise the children.” I was not insinuating in any way that I was raising the children alone. What I meant was that I wanted the children to be just that – children who could grow up at their own pace without pressure from the public. I loved the look of surprise I got at very rare occasions when I went out to work-related events with my husband and lost count of the times I heard, “How come I’ve never met you?” but once the cameras start rolling in, I’d think, “This is why.”

In all, I thought I had a really good life, but on the 6th of January 2016, my world as I knew it came crashing down and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.

Everything completely went South.

The fact that I was dealing with the crumbling walls was harrowing enough, but dealing with it in the full glare of the public took the word “harrowing” to a whole new dimension. I went from being a private person to being dissected and eaten at dinner tables.

I also had to deal with the fact that social media gave everyone the platform to be reporters. People spun yarns and I shuddered at the web of lies that emerged. These webs were so expertly spun that even I believed them until I realized they were about me and my family. My life was shattering to pieces before my eyes.

As a woman of faith, I held on to God.

I remember walking into my kitchen one afternoon to find something to eat after I realized I hadn’t had a meal in two days. I got a call from a friend then, and as she gave me some information she had just received, I felt the walls closing in on me. I bowed my head, held the stove with both hands and cried out, “God where are you?”

I didn’t just have to deal with my emotions, but I had to help my children figure out what was happening. It was so important to me that I protected them by ensuring we had a semblance of normalcy at home. That was really hard, but I was determined that this would not break them. I also had to be strong for my husband who was at the centre of it all, if I crumbled he would too. It was a herculean task but one I knew I had to do successfully. I asked God to strengthen me because I couldn’t do it all alone, and He did.

At some point, I took the decision to shut everyone out – a decision I was harshly judged for even by friends. Was it fair to judge someone’s coping mechanism, especially if they were dealing with situations you couldn’t wrap your head around?

I woke up one morning and said to myself, “We will be fine”. Time doesn’t permit me to walk through how dark of a place we were in as a family.

As I pondered on the bible verse that says, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” I realized the sun always rises, not because you say so, or because you fold your arms and wait for morning. The sun rises when you get to that place of knowledge that everything that happens to you – the good, bad and ugly, or those you had no control over – are all part of your story.

The beautiful thing is that you get to choose how the story ends by the way you respond. Did I go through a harrowing experience? Absolutely. Would I wish it on my enemy if I had one? Certainly not. No one deserves this, but I wouldn’t trade the strength and the lessons I have gained from it for anything. It was, and still is, a learning curve.

The whole ordeal made me realise that I am much more than I ever gave myself credit for. I have also discovered layers of myself I didn’t know existed. Five years later, we are still dealing with certain elements of the challenges, but we are definitely in a better place. The sun has certainly risen. Although, there are still clouds trying to hang around its glow, I know without a shadow of doubt that the sun does rise.

About Kanayo Olisa-Metuh

Kanayo Olisa-Metuh has a 1st degree in Economics and a Masters degree in Business Administration. She considers herself a social entrepreneur and has spent most of her adult life involved in different forms of philanthropy.

Driven by huge compassion, she strives to empower the under served in the society through formal education, skill acquisition and establishing small scale businesses. She currently serves on the board of Legend Golden Care Foundation, a Not For Profit that caters to the needs of the under served. She is also co-working on a project called “Beyond The Walls”, an initiative that provides rehabilitation and different levels of support for prisoners in Nigeria, especially the ones without access to legal representation.

She is married and is a mother to four adult children.

Connect with her on Instagram @kolisametuh