Remember when we asked you to send in essays discussing how 2018 was for you? Because, you know, writing can be the best therapy. And sharing your joy and pain and all the emotions you’ve felt through the year can only be a good thing.
Orode moved countries, started all over, and was hit with a major loss. In all of these, she pushed on, focusing instead on the good, not the bad.
My 2018 experience was like an ocean with stormy waves one minute, and then calm waters the next.
My family was recovering from the loss of two family members that passed away in 2017, so come 2018, it seemed like everyone had started moving on with their lives slowly. Everyone returned to work and there seemed to be more natural laughter around the house, the absence of those who had passed away becoming less noticeable, and all seeming to be well.
Personally, I was doing well. I finished my NYSC in December 2017, and I started off 2018 as a free agent, no longer bound to the inconveniences of serving my country. I was also one of the lucky ones retained at the company I served at, so it seemed life was beginning to really get better. Although my parents were constantly asking when I planned to go for my masters degree, particularly my dad. And even though I was always tense after discussions about graduate studies, I understood where they were coming from. My dad wanted to be done with paying tuition fees and he wanted to be sure I had all the qualifications I need to compete with my peers. I was reluctant to go because after moving back to Nigeria in 2016, I was finally settling in to the Nigerian life; I was enjoying work, enjoying going out with my friends, and my parents were not as heavy-handed with my curfew as they were when I first moved back to Nigeria.
However, after serious thought, I decided to uproot my life once again and move to the United States for my masters degree, and I went to a state where I had no family or friends and I had no other company but loneliness.
It was a little difficult in the first few weeks trying to find my way around the new city and the new school and trying not to miss family and friends. But amidst the loneliness and trying to overcome culture shock, one thing I was thankful for in that period was that I liked spending time alone.
I eventually overcame the hurdles that being in a new place presents. I bonded with some of my classmates and got into the groove of work and school. It wasn’t all bad. Although I was still grappling with the fact that I probably would have to start from the beginning career-wise and it wouldn’t be easy finding a job in the US as a foreigner. Add that to the fact that I was still hopelessly single. I wanted to be strong and independent, but I also wanted someone to share that special bond with, and seeing my friends and classmates getting engaged and married on social media did not help with my worries about my love life.
In October 2018, I was finally feeling great, I was finally getting used to the school system, and I was meeting new friends and enjoying life in my new city (yah, it’s my city now). Then I got the call one Sunday morning that changed everything. “Are you with friends? Is your flatmate there with you?” my mum asked carefully, the tone of her voice making my blood run cold.
“Mummy, what is it?” I asked, almost afraid that I knew what was coming. “Daddy passed away a few hours ago. He has left us.”
For a moment the world tilted and there was this rush of blood and a ringing in my ears. I felt like I had been ripped from reality and put in an alternate reality where everything was different. The week after that was a blur and I numbed myself by throwing myself into studying and working, not giving myself the chance to let my emotions get a hold of me. I pushed on, knowing that my father was the kind of man who would expect me not to spend too much time mourning, but to honor his memory by making the best of the opportunities that he had given me.
The months of November and December were a blur of studying for finals, working, and traveling. After finals, I felt like I could finally come up for air, and I spent most of my time taking stock of the year and reminiscing about my dad. He was a strict and disciplined man but the loved he showed us was incomparable, and I know that the best way to honor his memory is to do my best to succeed and use the opportunities he gave me to live the best life I can live.
I look forward to 2019 with a little excitement and a little anxiety. It would be a clean slate, a chance to start afresh, but I cannot help but be anxious about what the future holds.
Read up on previous editions of BN 2018 Epilogues here and send in your essays to features(at)bellanaija(dot)com. Let us know all the twists and turns and successes 2018 came with. Send your mail with the title “2018 Epilogues.”