While I was at work my colleague received a Whatsapp message from her mother telling her that her uncle who had been sick for two months had passed on.
She had received this message after she missed a call from her dad. Before we knew what had happened she dropped her phone, held her head and started screaming. My boss and I comforted her for a couple of minutes before she could tell us the tragic news.
I could feel her pain as I have also lost someone dear to my heart. I couldn’t help but think, is there a better way to tell someone that they have lost a loved one?
This thought took me back 5 years when I lost my mother.
I remember the day I lost my mother like it happened yesterday. It was on a Friday in April 2010. I was in Lagos to collect my new laptop and printer which she had bought for me. Those were the two last items I got from my mother and I am grateful.
My mother was in Abuja with my sister and nephew. Earlier in the week before I left for Lagos she had complained about a stomach ache. We all thought she would be okay but we were wrong. On the Friday morning I called her to tell her that I was on the way to get the laptop and printer.
She also mentioned that she was feeling much better and that we would go to the doctor for a check-up when I was back. We then agreed that I would call her once I was done picking up the goods. After I picked up the goods I went to my cousin’s flat. It was around noon.
When I entered the flat, my cousin’s helper just said hello, maiguru vashaya (aunt has passed on). At first I didn’t think she meant my mother because normally if you are telling someone that their mother has passed on you would wait for them to drop their goods and sit down and gently tell them.
You would carefully explain what was going on. Not hello and bam!
Eventually I realised that she was talking about my dear mother. The mother who I spoke to a few hours back. The mother who I didn’t believe could ever die. The mother who kept me strong and brought out the best in me.
I got numb, I felt pain, my body trembled, I was numb and I couldn’t cry and I just couldn’t believe it. Funny enough in the midst of all those emotions, I felt a sense of peace, like my mum was there telling me that it was okay, that everything was going to be okay. Then I cried.
Having watched my colleague break down and remembering my own tragedy, I thought is there a better way to tell someone that their loved one is gone. Would how you tell them make things better?