Announcing Grief by Victory Adewoye


On Thursday, we smelt a heartbreak coming and we thought we sheltered you. It was coming and you didn’t pay much attention to it, but you knew. You saw an RIP on a friend’s reel on IG. The first thing you said was “God please don’t let it be someone I know”.  You found out that that prayer was answered. Later you asked what kind of prayer it was. 


Because you were so concerned about how selfish it was, you asked people and someone said it was a human response. And that was a suitable response you hoped. You still thought about it over and over again. But, this is it. We all get our servings of grief at different times and in different quantities. At that time, you presumed you were full and had no space for anything else. It was like grief had filled your entire being and you were still trying to let it go. 


And so, another loss was something you prayed against. You had cried too much. All you wanted was good news even if it wasn’t going to be for you. You knew one more bad news would destroy you completely and utterly and you wanted to be safe. You just wanted to buy some more time of happiness. But no one can, including you.

On Monday, your friend called the committee of friends. She said that she got a call and her mum wasn’t breathing. There was a tight knot in your chest as you hurriedly had your bath. You prayed all the “God please prayers” you knew and even went ahead to make promises to God. Promises that in your opinion was you giving something to Him. Such a laughable thing seeing as God owns everything.


You all rushed to her room. She was crying and it broke your heart. She didn’t say it at first, but we knew. Broken souls listen to other broken souls without speaking a word. Her mum was sleeping they said. The silence said all that you could ever say. You all knew she was dead. Wasn’t that what Jesus said about Jairus’ daughter? Wasn’t that the theme of death? Rest! Rest in peace!


But you had a glimmer of hope and once again you begged God to give her life again. You prayed that she would rise like Jairus’ daughter and that the nightmare would be quickly over. Praying for her resurrection made you remember the first time you prayed that. 


It was in 2012. Your uncle whom you just met died. At first you said it was a lie because it made no sense. You would later learn that death usually makes no sense. You were watching a series on TV around that time called “The Lazarus Encounter” or something like that. People who had died came to talk on how God brought them back to life.


So you prayed. And begged God. And prayed. And begged God. And prayed. And begged God. And promised God. Your uncle didn’t come back to life then. It didn’t dampen your hope regardless. You still prayed, that please He should give your friend’s mum life again.


That night, you ‘all didn’t sleep a wink. It was a night of tossing and turning and inward weeping. Then morning broke and you brought her to the sanctuary. When the news finally broke, no one was strong enough to hold anyone. Like babies announce their entrance into earth, you announced your grief.


You knew the heartbreak was coming. You just weren’t prepared. And no one was. The entire week had you in gasps sometimes for lack of breath, sometimes for pain. Sometimes, you’d wake up and start crying. There was no one to hold you. Was that what made the grief worse? That you had to grieve alone. 


You’d feel full to the brim with grief and wonder where to empty the feelings. There was no place. So on the days your chest ached, you let it ache. On the days you cried, you cried well. On the days you wanted to die, you put a mark or two on your body. It destroyed you more than you’d ever say. You’d hate yourself for being unable to have the power of life and death. You’d scream and yell, but you were broken already. 


When the funeral happened it happened. You thought you couldn’t cry anymore but somehow you gave a wrong estimate of your feelings. You still managed to hold it in a bit. You’d cry that type where tears rolled down your face and you didn’t know you were crying. When you found out you were crying, you were caught between leaving the tears then you’d see your friend and force the tears in. You will not let him see that the comfort you’d offer meant you also needed comfort. 


But when they threw sand in. You yelled. It surprised you because it sounded like something that happened outside your body. It was you. You were devastated. And as devastated as you felt you knew your friend was more devastated and that hurt you too. Your tears will come rushing like a flood at times then fade off. 


May came and to you it was a month of ugly tears and beautiful sights. You would cry and your eyes would hurt when you look at light. But when you stepped outside, you’ll see beautiful things around you. The moon for one was magnificent and flowers bloomed.


May was about to end and you hoped there was something good lurking around. On the 25th of May, a senior colleague died. When you were told, your brain acted slow wondering if there were two of him. Your brain was probably trying to shield you. And when you knew it was him, you shattered quietly. May had already taught you a lot of inaudible gasps and once more, that’s what you did.


You can’t reach him anymore and no one can.


But this is what I know. You’re a survivor. Who’s to say when next you’ll grieve or who you’re gonna grieve next? But, you, you will survive. Just like you already did.

Author’s Bio:

This writer loves to read and by reading, she found out that she had a voice. This is one of the things her voice has chosen to say.


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Pencilmarks and Scribbles Magazine was founded in 2017 by Clara Jack to be a home for African writers, asking them to come as they are and giving them room for growth. The publication aims to give back to the Nigerian Literary scene for the things it has given us.