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Grace Efezokhae: Your Pain is Valid



dreamstime_m_30996740Until the year 2002, I was always curious to ask those who complained of a headache how they felt. I had asked if their heads were peppering them or felt like pin pricks. “Take Panadol or paracetamol and you will be fine” was my best advice. When I had my first headache, I felt like a hefty human was pounding yam with a mortar and pestle on my head. Any time I remember that day, I even feel the pain in my mind. I have come to learn that sometimes we never really get to understand how someone feel and even when we may have been in similar situations, our pains are different.

Last year, I was flipping through TV channels when I saw a woman crying seriously, so I stopped to watch. It was about her sick cat at a vet clinic where she claimed to have spent thousands of dollars without signs of recovery. According to her, the cat was like the daughter she never had. I was amused, laughed and just completely shut down the TV. Aarrgghhhh!!! It was just a cat and the face of the cat felt like she was ready to die.

I lost my younger brother in August 2016, he was the dearest person to me on earth. I still haven’t gotten over the fact that he is gone. A billion Thank Yous will not be enough to appreciate all those who stood by me throughout until now. From the friends who came visiting and the flat mate who took me on a walk at almost midnight on the day he died, God bless them. There were those who just called to ask if I had eaten and to let me know they were always there –  in case I needed to pour out my anger, scream or rant that they were there to listen. “How are you holding up?”, “you are in my prayers” and “have you eaten” were words that soothed the inner storms in my heart.

As I think back, I feel more loved to have great people around me. I had a few concerns with those who said ‘Grace, you just have to move on’ after just a few days. Like really? I should just move on just like that because my brother is like a bowl of ice cream I spilled on the table. Hearing ‘sorry for your loss’ and ‘pele’ especially when it comes with the ‘oh’ suffix make me cry till date.

As I had my reflections over the last few days, I have come to feel bad at being amused at the woman crying over her sick cat, my friend who cried at a restaurant because there was no porridge available which she badly wanted and ever telling someone to move on after a death or any other pain felt. Most times, those who are grieving may just need your presence in silence, a show of concern and just being empathic to the situation.

Cry if you want to and grieve how you want. It is up to friends to just be there to curb any excesses. I tried my hands on alcohol to numb the pain, I wanted to get drunk but the bitter taste of tequila gold did not let me be. Society tries to play down the way a person decides to grieve. Not everybody goes into auto grief at the event of a loss. Because someone cries, laughs, delves into some form of addiction doesn’t make them less human. It even pains me that when they see someone grieving in heavy makeup, dancing or just being happy, it irks people and makes them feel they had a hand in their loss. Taarh!!! One doesn’t have to carry a forlorn face with ashes sprayed over the body before you know one is mourning. As our finger prints are different, so are our grieving modes too.

Some years back, I paid a guy to teach me how to play the talking drum. After a while, he told me we will have to stop the lessons because he had lost his father around that time and he doesn’t want people thinking he is in a ‘celebration mood’ as his sister had complained. What if paying the drums and teaching others were his own way to get his mind occupied from his loss? Facebook was my escape route and a lot was happening online that called for discussions, pickup lines and funny memes. Writing a post and getting notifications too helped. It doesn’t mean that Facebook will be the best obsession to get over a pain or loss for another.

To everyone who has lost a pet, a loved one, suffered a heartbreak or missed out of opportunities, YOUR PAIN IS VALID. It will get better with time even though the pain never truly goes away.

Photo Credit: Luminastock |

Grace Efezokahe is a finance professional based in Toronto, Ontario. She is an avid reader, writer and traveller who loves to travel and share her experiences for others to see the world through her eyes. She can be reached on [email protected].


  1. Annie

    October 27, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Thank you Grace!

  2. molarah

    October 27, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Really insightful article. I guess at one point in time or the other we have been that person that laughed at the cat lady, but you are right: pain is different for everyone. My condolences on your loss Grace.

  3. o

    October 27, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Sorry about the loss of your brother, Grace.

  4. TeeS

    October 27, 2016 at 5:53 pm


  5. nammy

    October 27, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    yea, my pain is valid

  6. J3nnif3r

    October 27, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    This is true…….the pain never truly goes away. I still feel the pain of loosing my Dad after 2 years gone.. May God heal our hearts. Amen.

  7. Kindheart

    October 27, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    I agree with you totally. Different strokes for different people.. Family, friends and relationships keep our hope alive..

  8. miss rouge

    October 27, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    facebook was also my escape when i lost my dad. i’d spend the whole day online posting, commenting and waiting for notifications. when i eventually got over the pain and moved on, i hated facebook…still do. its been 4 yrs and i still cant bring myself to post on my timeline. perherps i need a shrink

  9. Laolu

    October 27, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Pain is always hard to explain especially when its the loss of someone close, it’s difficult to situate, I can only pray that you truly get over this. I pray for strength and grace to cope with the loss in Jesus name. God will soothe your heart and soul especially your folks

  10. andallen

    October 27, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Grace my heart is with you. God strengthen your heart and may the comfort of the holy spirit be with you. Is well with you

  11. Weather

    October 27, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Hey Grace, this is reflective. Our pains are valid really.

  12. Nelo

    October 27, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Well written. No need to down play another person’s pain

  13. Halima

    October 27, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    I lost my cousin two two weeks ago. She died died during childbirth. I am still not over it. I hate the ‘move on line’ some people can be insensitive

  14. Moyo

    October 27, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    You reminded me of my own pain, I lost my mother 10 months ago. I can’t stand being around people who are celebrating. I just feel my mother should be around to see the things happening. My older brother just moved into his own house, my younger sister who was a TTC is now pregnant and my mom is not here to see these happy moments. I am happy for them but I am just sad. Will I ever get over my pain.

  15. Rita

    October 27, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Sorry about your loss.May God continue to give you the strength and laughter never cease from your mouth.

  16. Frank teacher

    October 27, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    2016, the year we took the worst of it
    Emphasis on the TOOK, that’s the way I like to think of it.
    Broke a tibia and fibula, experienced what they call open-compound-fracture
    I live!
    Oh, the pain was valid oh, went mental for close to 24hours.

  17. Alamanda

    October 28, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Graciee,I agree to all you said. RIP Dan.
    It just takes me back to April when I lost my mom ,I wasn’t able to express myself until I poured sand in the grave. I was shaking uncontrollably for hours and biting into everything I found. I got tears welled up in my eyes right now.much love dear! Victoria J

  18. ThatGhanaChick

    October 28, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I lost 2 very good friends this year and they were buried just 3 weeks apart and its been less than 2months after and I still cry when i think about them, I almost passed out at the last burial, I cried mehhhnn. I wonder if i will ever get closure and ‘move on’ like people keep saying. Yes my pain is VALID!

  19. ogochukwu

    October 28, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    YES OH! MY PAIN IS VALID! i lost my dad in September this year, he hasn’t even been buried yet…i have experienced all forms of moods and phases since he died, went through a black wearing spell until i ran out of black outfits…its hard to just continue with live but to everyone who has ever lost anything…OUR PAIN IS VALID BUT WE HAVE TO KEEP KEEPING ON

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