Grief is one of the hardest parts of the human condition. The pain is often difficult to explain except you experienced it and healing takes time. In all of this, the grieving party keeps the memory of the deceased in their hearts forever. Those familiar with this column know I speak about my late parents every so often. It is because they are a fabric of who I am, my DNA and they are buried deep in my heart forever.
This also applies to siblings who have passed, a friend, an in-law and the pain we feel when someone we do not even know passes especially at a difficult time like during a pandemic. But we also know that raw feeling is even more so, when the world is sitting under an unexpected Pandemic with no known cure.
We watch daily as men and women fall under its terrible clutches and we grieve with their families. Then you comfort yourself with inspiration, faith and spirituality.
During this Pandemic, many people have died, some of the Coronavirus and others from other ailments or circumstance.
The pain is deeper. I am saddened by the passing of a genial gentleman the former GMD of NNPC, Mallam Maikanti Baru, cerebral and humorous an unusual combination, then just as I was trying to take that in, I learned shockingly of the passing of Dan Forster, a fellow voice I never met. But his voice, deep and guttural had met me several times on the radio and everybody attests to his conviviality and professionalism.
In the wake of all of this, my friend and sister Tolu Ighodalo lost her sister in law, the lovely Ibidun Allison, wife to her brother, Pastor Ituah. Earlier, my family and I were commiserating with my adoptive brother-in-law, the very distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-egba, whose wife, my sister and friend Amaka lost her mother.
These losses grab you and set you thinking about the mystery of life and the importance of faith. In this pandemic, grief comes in a different hue because the pandemic has already made us all vulnerable and grief kind of takes the wind off our sail.
Today, I commiserate with all those who have lost loved ones at a time like this. May you be comforted by the memory and beauty of your loved ones and may their souls rest in perfect peace Amen. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
Let me share the books that speak to me at this difficult time, to comfort and to hold our loved one’s legacy.
1. While managing grief can be hard, I do not know any book that helps to heal slowly like Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul by Jack Cranfield and Mark Victor Hansen. A book of heart-warming stories of people who are grieving and how they managed. An incredible collection of stories recommended for anyone who is grieving at such a time like this.
2. Blue Nights by Joan Didion is a grief memoir written on the death of her daughter Quintana Roo Dunne. She lost her daughter after she lost her husband. It’s a book that shows how hard grief can be but also one that tells us that we can survive the things we think we cannot.
3. I never tire to explain that a religious book always calms the spirit of sadness and helps you get through the days. Verses in the bible and in the Qur’an always gets you through the night because God can see your pain and he alone can pour some soothing oil on your open wound of grief. Always read slowly and remember to just be repetitive of some soothing verses.
4. Give yourself a break and don’t go on a guilt trip. None of this is your fault. Forgive yourself. Remember the things the deceased did while they were alive and try to smile at those. The moments they supported family members, their generosity, their laughter and their kindness. With this, you still grief, but you hold their legacy in your heart. Read a lot of philosophical books at this time. Books by Nelson Mandela. Books about prophets in your faith. And do not over-process everything. Get a journal and try and write down some of the things they thought about, what they did and those they hoped for. Journaling always helps you to heal slowly through grief.
5. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. Mitch had seen his colleague, Professor Morrie Shwartz, on a TV show and discovered that he was dying of a brain tumour. This book is the chronicling of the author’s visit to Professor Morrie for the fourteen Tuesdays before he passed. Mitch listened to the Professor’s last lectures on life, death and love. These meetings and lectures are chronicled in this touching book that became a movie in 1999 executive produced by Oprah Winfrey. A quote from the book by Professor Morrie pretty much puts the book in perspective. “Death ends a life. It does not end a relationship. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live in the hearts of everyone you have touched while you were here.” Profound!