Happy New Year!!!

“No be you go tell me when to celebrate” — Famous Philosopher

So, I know January 1st is still a couple of days away, but, man, it does feel like time to say “Happy New Year.” No, I am not writing the remaining part of this year away. I am just putting it out there to say I am hopeful even for next year.

By this time last year, I was in my first writing job, I had just got recalled after sending in my resignation letter, my boss reviewed my contract, my salary increased, full-time remote was activated, I was even in love, or so I thought. It felt like I was having the time of my life, but, you know life now, you know as e dey take be.

“Have you cleared the room?” my sister asked. “Yes, yes, I have” “Oya, carry Ochi to the car.” It was December 31st. I just spent the past one week with my family, one of the best times of my life. You know, when you are just coming back from a fantastic vacation, that foot drag to reality was what I was experiencing.

On our way back to Lagos, we had to stop to check the tyres, and all, and that was when I got a call. It was from my boss. He was sacking me. According to him, he was going to make some new changes that would affect the new contract he signed with me, so he decided to let me go. It didn’t even make sense to me until he said they had gotten a replacement for me and that he needed me to sign out of the company’s account. That’s when I realized the whole increment in salary, wfh thingy was him buying time, I was hurt, so hurt. Of all days? Couldn’t it wait? How was I going to go into the new year? Wasn’t it supposed to be new year, better me?

My sisters went back to their stations a few days after we got to Lagos, and like that, I was back to filling applications and writing cover letters (am I the only one that detests cover letters?!). I was back to receiving unsolicited advice on my career. Bruh, one day, someone called me and said I was sitting around instead of sending my CVs. She said I should go online and check for job opportunities instead of just hoping (Paraphrased sha) when I say I was shocked, lol. I was more appalled than annoyed. Was I sitting around? hmm, let’s not even…(deep sigh)

Anyway, as God would have it, two of my applications started to scale through. I was sure that one would scale through, so confident when my mom fell ill. At first, we all thought it was Malaria but, she wasn’t getting better. She went for various tests. One said Malaria. Another said Typhoid. Another said both. One day, we decided that she would go to a hospital instead of these test centers since the results were contradictory.

I was expecting her return when I got a distress call from my father that my mom was admitted. Who? I quickly picked a few essentials and met her at the hospital. She had gone from zero to hundred, and I was so confused. Her words were inaudible. She wasn’t eating at all, and standing was so much work.

She was admitted for about two weeks but, she was not getting better. She had to be placed on oxygen. I have never seen anyone being placed on oxygen in real life. I was so scared but not as frightened as I became when the Doctor called my dad aside and said my mom might have COVID.

COVID?? The Doctor told my dad not to panic because his hospital was capable — the first red flag. We started doing hot water therapy when all the nurses decided to go mad. They avoided us; I had to search for them and nearly drag them by their hair whenever it was time for my mom to take her drugs.

We bought a kettle. They kept borrowing it. Oya, you know that we are doing hot water kinni, bring back the kettle, mba. The Oxygen my mom, was on had issues. Something so delicate like that! Yet, no nurse to check on it from time to time. I had to stay awake day and night to monitor it. One night, I dozed off. I was exhausted, man, only to be woken up by something (man, it has to be the holy spirit). My mom’s Oxygen was off, and she was struggling. I nearly ran mad. I went everywhere searching for a nurse, and when I finally found one, she was foot-dragging. That was the night I lost it. What?

Eventually, they fixed her Oxygen but, I was angry. I started changing it for all of them, one by one. I was also so anxious and sad. I texted my friends and told them to pray; my sisters and my dad were so worried. I have never seen him that worried in my whole life. I’m not going to lie. My family went through it.

Eventually, one of my cousins in the medical line noticed my mom was getting worse and advised us to go to the IDC center at Yaba. To get there, you had to do a COVID test first to confirm. By the time we got that test done, my mom’s color had changed, her tongue. She couldn’t walk. She couldn’t talk. It was so traumatizing to see. I didn’t understand anything again. I was losing my mother.

As I sat with her in the ambulance transporting her to the hospital, I battled with my tears. I didn’t want her or my dad to see me cry. I didn’t even know what to pray.

I know this article is getting lengthy but, I have a lot to unpack. I’ve been trying to write about it but, it’s been such a struggle.

When we got to IDC, they were alarmed. They said any more delay would have been so bad, they immediately placed her on Oxygen, gave us a list of drugs, and things to buy, and arranged a room for us. I was allowed to stay with her. The nurse that attended to us on arrival was named Kelechi. I can never forget because he was so kind to my mom and me. He looked at her and said she would leave alive, and he prayed for her. I don’t know if he remembers but, it was so kind. It was such a contrast from where we were coming from.

In the evening, he noticed I was setting up my laptop (I usually wrote to stay awake so I could monitor my mom. This was when I wrote my book) and asked if I wasn’t going to bed. I said no, I wanted to watch my mom’s Oxygen and know when to call for her treatment. He looked at me like I was weird and said he would monitor her that I shouldn’t worry, and he did. I almost shed a tear when he came around 12 to check on her, he stopped by a few more times before dawn, and for the first time in weeks, I was able to nap for a bit.

Remember I said I was running two applications? Rejection mail came for the one I was so sure of. I called my sister, and I think I cried a bit. Sigh. It felt like everything was happening at the same time, you know?. I just gave up on everything. One day, I was going through my mail and saw that I had scaled to the next level in the other application but missed the deadline.

I called my friend who referred me, and he said he would see what he could do. I missed the deadline two more times to cut a long story short. I was just not myself. Eventually, I scaled to the final level. It was a virtual interview. My hair was a mess. I was a mess. During the interview, my mind kept wandering.

At some point, my interviewer noticed. She asked what was wrong. I nearly cried because, God. I opened up and told my interviewer that my mom was ill and that I was in the hospital with her. I told her that we could go on, though, that she should give me some time to gather my thought. I could see sympathy in her eyes, and then she suggested that we reschedule. I disagreed because I thought she didn’t mean it. She insisted, and we agreed to reschedule. I cried after that interview, and my mom saw me. She was so moved, and she prayed for me from her heart. I got that job.

I’m not even going to talk about the gossips that neighbors started to spread, or the annoying stares, or how hard it was when, oh God. In that center, I witnessed death. There was a time it was every night. With each death case, my anxiety increased. I tried to shield my mom from this news but, there was so little I could do. I saw people mourn and see something in me die during that period. I saw that life was like paper. I saw that moments are fleeting.

Every year, when my birthday is approaching, I ask God for something, plus, I drop a wish list. I was so excited about my birthday that I did Photoshoot for a February birthday in December. But, as the day drew near, the excitement died. I just wanted two things for my mom to be discharged and for me to get a new job. I told my friends not to send me any gifts or make any noise but, my friends to me:

When I say they went overboard. I have never been more grateful to people as I was this year. People sent gifts, some sent videos, many called, many sent me messages, and sang for me. Even before my birthday, my sister’s friends sent food to the hospital daily for me. My best friend, and my sister even planned a surprise birthday party for me. Again, I have never been more grateful to people as I was this year, and God heard me.

Did you hear what I said? God heard me. A day after my birthday, I resumed at my new job, and my mom got discharged.

Lmao, ignore me, please.

Later in the year, I got robbed twice. Robbed of my possessions, then robbed of my heart (hehe, cringe-worthy abi, leave am like that)

Honestly, I don’t want to talk about the robbery because it was so traumatic that a colleague had to link me up to help me (counseling). But, I want to talk about my heart that they stole (again, leave am).

After everything that happened to me this year, I decided that I could not continue to do life alone. Ah, I nearly craze. Hard girl, hard girl, e reach time for wahala, hard girl no pay me. Nobody to rub my head, and say pele, nobody to say “There are many fisses in the river but, gold fiss is the best” to me. Nobody to say, “have you eaten?”. Nobody to rant to, ah, it was horrible, and that’s why I get irritated when people talk about their desire for companionship, and people try to shut them up with “love yourself enough” talk.

Why? Why? Why do people pretend that companionship is not (very) important? Why do they act like everybody does not want their person to be loved? True? There is time for everything. True? It’s not also good to be desperate but, abeg, leave people to want love, leave them to look for, or go after love. Leave people to admit their need/ want for companionship and resist the urge to invalidate their feelings.

If I keep writing on what 2021 used my eyes to see ehn, this article will not end, but this year, I learned that God is there even in the fire. Jehovah sees. Jehovah knows. Whenever I was going through stuff, there were always subtle reminders of God’s love around. Like, a friend calling to say you were on their mind, or a smile or a compliment from a stranger, or even a song on the radio. Folabi Nuel’s “if God be for me” was my jam in 2021, I won’t lie. Followed by “All my eggs” by Ademola Makinde.

Another thing I learnt is people are bad, the world is wicked, but your people are your people. People stood by me this year, ah people tried for me. People showed up for me in ways I did not understand, and I am grateful.

Finally, life is fleeting. My stay at the COVID center shook me. I am not even going to lie. It shook me gan!. This woman was always coming to our room to lift mom’s spirit. Her father was admitted too so, she could relate. All of a sudden, we stopped seeing her. Concerned, I asked a nurse who told me she had gone home because her father had died. The news broke the lady so much that she couldn’t even say goodbye to anyone. I remember being speechless after she told me.

If a person offends you, e go hard but, let go. As you dey hustle for money, take time to enjoy. Problem no dey finish oh, take time to enjoy. Let people know you love them, shoot your shot, play, love, liveeeeeee. Don’t just be earth’s passerby. Live. Lastly, settle your eternity. If you have read this far, you already know I believe in God. I am a Jesus person. You, what do you believe? Different people have been talking, boss, you no go like to reason this matter again? think am, think am well.

This was the year I moved out of my home and moved back in (LMAO story for another day).

This was the year my relationship with my immediate family improved.

This was the year I decided to live more, be more daring.

This was the year I released my first actual book.

This year was a lot but, there were/are many reasons to be grateful for 2021, so, again, Happy New year!

Udo,
Nne.

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Words are beautiful, stories are beautiful pieces of memories.

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