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His Screams.





I woke up in the very early hours of the morning very to piercing screams. The screams were so loud and intense that for a moment I thought I was having a nightmare. When I realized I was well and truly awake fear gripped me and my forehead became ice-cold. I sank into my bed, tens of thoughts running through my mind; what could it be? Has it finally happened? Are robbers attacking the neighbourhood (when I first moved here I had several vivid dreams about being attacked by robbers). What was going on? The screams seemed to be coming from a distance, a few houses away. Then I heard his voice and a chill ran through me. 


"A nwu o na m o!!!! Nwunye m a naa. Nne m a naa. Mummy m a naa. A nwu o na m oooooooooooo!

And then I heard several more screams. I got off my bed and ran to my window. I saw people outside the house four compounds away. His cries; I am dead o! My wife is gone. My sister is gone. My mother is gone. I am dead oooooooo.  

My neighbour had just lost his wife at about 3am this morning. 

To be honest my first thought was that I needed more sleep. I had a hectic day ahead and I needed all the sleep I could get. I went back to my bed and covered my ears with my pillows and threw my duvet over my head. But still those screams permeated. Those piercing bloodcurdling screams. 

And they continued till day light. He kept crying for his wife, kept begging for death to take him, swearing that he could not live without her; that he would die first. Asking God why. 

I don't know these people, I hardly know or see any of my neighbours. But with every scream I felt something claw at my heart. It must indeed be extremely painful to lose a loved one. 

It's not like I never knew how intense the pain must be. Death is the worst thing I or anyone can think of, losing a loved one is even worse. Death is something no one likes to talk about. I, most especially. 
     I'm most scared of it and the one thing I'm most inept at is Condolences. I just never know the words to say to the bereaved. Sorry? God knows why? God knows best? We cannot question God? The Lord giveth and The Lord taketh away? What? What words would suffice? What words do you say to a person who just lost someone so close and dear to them to death, what words can ever console? 

All day I've thought about my neighbour, his screams keep ringing in my head. I wonder how he's doing. Has he come to accept it? Maybe not, acceptance is the last stage of grief. He's probably still in denial, soon he may begin to negotiate. Has he eaten anything all day? Has he been able to sleep? Did they have to sedate him? Has the pain receded, even just a tiny bit? Does he still cry?

I keep hearing those screams and my heart throbs. That thing called death...

May the soul of my neighbour's wife rest in peace. May God heal and comfort her broken husband, somehow. 

How does one deal with the pain of losing a loved one?

...
Photo source: www.singleblackmale.org

Comments

  1. losing a loved one is just a very painful experience.. I haven't lost any loved one and I am very thankful for that. I remember my friend who lost her mom from an asthmatic attack, her dad was weak! cried the whole time and lost a lot of weight, less than 6 months he also died. I don't know why I cried so much after hearing such news..I can't imagine losing 2 parents in less than a year! young bubbly couple, (in their 40's). Sighhh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This post took me over a year back to March 27th 2013 when I was told my baby sis had passed @15...thought somebody was trying to play a fast one on me, kept saying over and over to myself that 15yr old kids don't die.

    I always hated going to pay condolence visits and yet I was the one being visited. Jesus!!! But then, in the midst of this raw pain more profound than any thing I've ever experienced, came God's word.

    I'm not an authority on this subject but I think the major thing is to allow the person grieve (bawl your eyes out if you want to), keep them company and never forget to pray with them. God's spirit will comfort like nothing else can and ever will, I'm a living witness.

    May the soul of the dearly departed rest in peace, Amen.

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  3. When a man loses a wife,he remarries but when a woman loses a husband,she practically mourns forever...
    Death hurts but its part of life no one can escape from!

    ReplyDelete
  4. There's no way to deal with it Thelma, trust me. You just ride it out but people in the name of condolence won't let you be. They don't know what you need most is to be left alone to grieve, that's the fastest route to getting to acceptance stage of grief. I know cause I lost my dad, I was young, but I've got an old soul (so i knew what was happening). From the time of the news till the burial ceremony, I was in this state where it felt like i was out of my body and watching from a distance but nobody could see it or hear my silent scream. I am an only child. people come, hold me and cry, i felt used causing they hold me and use me to cry as if they are asking me to console them, i felt cheated out of mourning my dad and i just stare at them wide eyed and numb. I was a walking, whispering, eating robot.. Then 3 days later when the burial rites were over and people finally calmed down, I was to shave my hair according to tradition, then I broke down like a caked mud brick, shattered into irreparable piece, I lost count of how many hours but My maternal grandmother (may she rest in peace) just held me and let me mourn my dad. She didn't let anybody talk or try to console me, she told them all to allow me mourn. The wracking sobs, the choking screams, the indescribable feeling of never knowing the joy of daddy-daughter bonding, the heart constricting wrenching pain, I let it all out and rode it to the peak. By the time i was done, i was weak, couldn't move and limp. I was like a rag doll drenched by seven days heavy Lagos rain with thunderstorm and lightening. Then days became weeks and weeks became months and months, and i started accepting it and months became years and here i am, a grown woman, doing quite well for myself but wishes that my daddy was alive to see what his baby-girl has become... So, my dear Thelma, the pain never goes away, it just becomes bearable with time. I mean I don't dissolve into tears anymore unlike my last paper in Uni when i officially became a graduate, Lord have mercy! I couldn't stop the tears even when i fought it valiantly cause i really wish my dad could have seen me. Now, when i think of him or wish he was alive, my eyes just shimmer with tears and a wobbly smile (which is happening to me now as i type)... Rest in peace daddy, your baby-girl misses and loves you even in the beyond that you are.

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  5. I kept hoping I was reading fiction. I don't like hearing about deaths...let alone of someone so loved.
    May her soul rest in peace. May the family have fortitude to bear the loss.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thelma its a very sad feeling...crying right now....lost my younger sister last year at twenty....she was diabetic....its avery bad feeling...my mom almost died from shock...we try not to talk about her cos she had the sweetest soul....that naughty house wife

    ReplyDelete
  7. How you grieve depends on how much you loved the deceased. I now understand Luther Vandross' song 'Dance with my father'. I don't listen to it anymore. It's nearly ten years but I tear up when I talk about my father. I wonder why he died in his early 60's while some people are still alive in their 90s'. It's only a widower who can comfort your neighbour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought i was the only one who has the same reaction to Luther's 'Dance..' I can't stand it anymore and i get honestly befuddled when people play it for their Father/Daughter dance at weddings! I didn't get it way before I lost my Dad but now its worse; leave the room worse.

      Delete
  8. The moment my immediate elder brother was prnounced dead, I fell into some kind of trance and started walking to nowhere in particular. I couldn't cry but I asked God some silly questions, albeit rudely. I was in denial for a long while and looked forward to seeing him walk through the door for years.

    I pray God consoles your neighbour. Such pains never die, they only become less severe and bearable.

    -F

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  9. Death. It's a terrible thing indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Losing a loved one is never easy. U begin to question God, n look for just about anywhere to put d blame.
    Having lost my dad and two of my favourite cousins during my teenage years, all I can say is that while d pain is almost physical, there's always the grace to rise above it and begin to heal with time. B!

    ReplyDelete
  11. So I lost my dad when I was 19 in my second year in the uni while writing my exams,it was horrible cos I left that morning( went to school from home) by the time I got home he was gone,funny that evening I was talking to my friends and I told them that he still had to walk me down the aisle I danced to Luther vandrous s dance with my father a week before with my dad,I spent a long time blaming my self cos he was going to attend a private clinic which I had attended and knew that the crowd used to be crazy,they had to go to a government hospital, they where crazy there. Then the church came with all their demands was crazy.
    Most times somethings happen in my marriage and I know my husband treats me the way he does cos he feels no one can talk to him,God dey shaaa he forgets I have a whole army

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think I am still in denial as i make up events in my head about my mom traveling. Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. It is veryyyyy hard. I passed this post and came back again because i still wonder why! I lost my best friend in the December of 2009 and i was in the clinic myself being given aminophylline for having an asthma attack(which had not happened in months).. All through that i was restless not knowing my friend was bleeding from gunshot and writhing in pains on the road, going to warri. I still think about him everyday. in fact i wrote a piece 3 days ago about him. My mom passed in november last year and for days I was a walking zombie. The time for her to enjoy me is now, like right now. I really looked forward to this day, God i so looked forward to taking care of her with more. I went back home in July after school with my things and mom was not there to welcome me, the same woman that walked down the stairs two years earlier to bade my bye with plenty prayers. ahhhh

    ReplyDelete
  13. The pain never leaves. It becomes a dull ache or leaves you numb eventually. I've lost a father and sister. Words can't express the way you feel when you lose the only sibling you've got. No one to share your childhood memories with. No aunt for my children. No nieces or nephews for me to cuddle.

    I'm persuaded that all things work together for our good. I can't deny I still hurt. Sometimes it's overwhelming. Other times its just bearable. She would have been a year older this Friday. 2nd posthumous birthday and all I'm thinking of is how to make the day so happy and busy for my mum that she doesn't have the time to feel bad or sad. No one should experience losing a child especially not the way she lost hers - she died in her arms.

    Grieving in your own way with friends and loved ones around. Reading the Bible. Singing hymns. Acceptance. These are the things that helped.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The pain never leaves. It becomes a dull ache or leaves you numb eventually. I've lost a father and sister. Words can't express the way you feel when you lose the only sibling you've got. No one to share your childhood memories with. No aunt for my children. No nieces or nephews for me to cuddle.

    I'm persuaded that all things work together for our good. I can't deny I still hurt. Sometimes it's overwhelming. Other times its just bearable. She would have been a year older this Friday. 2nd posthumous birthday and all I'm thinking of is how to make the day so happy and busy for my mum that she doesn't have the time to feel bad or sad. No one should experience losing a child especially not the way she lost hers - she died in her arms.

    Grieving in your own way with friends and loved ones around. Reading the Bible. Singing hymns. Acceptance. These are the things that helped.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Funny i was was having one of those days where everything reminds me of my Dad and leaves me in a funk that bothers on depressing and i decided to catch up on TT to cheer up a bit and this was the next post from my last visit and of course it set me thinking even further. In my experience, the best condolences don't require words; your presence speaks and comforts louder than any words ever would. I would know; I lost my elder brother and my Dad within 2 months of each other. The pain never leaves you. People who tell you it would get better are lying; it never does. You just get better at masking the pain, at smiling a little brighter, at laughing a little harder, at convincing yourself that life is better, And if u are lucky, u get to have family who understand what the lil pauses that sometimes come in the middle of a story means cos they get them as well, or where u are when u have the stare at nothing with a faraway smile on ur face, friends who hold ur hand or call you to ask seemingly mundane questions like if u've had a meal or how was ur day, or u get new people in ur life who for some reason of their own understand what u are going through and try to love you and let you love them through the pain. I never used to get condolence visits cos i was always unsure of what to say, but now i get em cos i just go and i don't say jack. Cos I've realized that its one of those situations where u say it best when u say nothing at all.

    ReplyDelete

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