Loss can be difficult to process, especially when it is a loved one or possession. After losing my brother to food poisoning and recently, someone dear to me, I have wondered how people deal with loss. I was able to meet with women who have battled with the agonizing pain that comes with loss and they shared their griefs.


Elohor — I would wake up in tears from dreams of other family members dying.

I’m all too familiar with loss. It is different each time. But I remember the first time I felt crushed in my spirit was when I lost my friend in 2019. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I just cried constantly. I couldn’t visit the general area where he had lived. I couldn’t even visit his parents because it felt like I couldn’t breathe. Every time I go to my mum’s, I remember him because he’s everywhere around me. Then I lost my cousin in 2021 (same age as me, childhood bestie and all), and I got wrecked. I would wake up in tears from dreams of other family members dying. Last month, I traveled to Warri, and after three days of fighting it, I started crying. My grandma still doesn’t know. We told her he japa-ed. I had mental awareness on speed dial because I thought I was going crazy. I couldn’t go to church because I started beef with God. I was so angry. Death is hard. Grief compounded my PCOS. I got my period suddenly, like 2 weeks after. The pain was excruciating and I bled for a long while. It is weird how one’s entire body is interconnected.


Kintan — It was the hardest.

A guy I e-met and planned to see in December 2020 died in November 2020. It was the hardest. I had spoken to him before his death, and he had told me that he was being discharged from the hospital, only for me to see tweets about his death and burial. He was so kind to me, even without our meeting physically. He’s still one of the most significant people I’ve ever met on the internet. His chats and our calls are still dear to my heart. It is hard that he is gone. But that was the last death that fazed me; nothing has made me see death as worthless as that incident.


Oluwadamilola — I became so cold and emotionally distant.

I lost my mum in 2021. I have not even recovered. The loss made me emotionally cold. That’s the word. I became so cold and distant emotionally.


Amarachi — It takes you by surprise.

I don’t know if this is grief, but each time someone I know loses a relative (for example, their parents), I have nightmares and intrusive thoughts that pan for several weeks about me losing my parents. When I lost a friend I thought I might be in love with, I cried a lot. I felt I could have done something because I saw this person the previous week, and the next, they were gone. I played sad songs, wrote about how I felt, and stopped eating. I watched a movie by Bella Thorne where she played a sick character and I know I cried fat ugly tears. Even when you expect death, it still takes you by surprise. I don’t think we fully deal with losing a loved one.


Nabeela — I try my best to do good, so I can meet him in the next life.

We went to a family’s naming ceremony and on our way back, we were attacked by armed robbers. My younger brother was shot in his chest. He was rushed to FMC but after the operation, we lost him. It has been over 14 years, but I’m still not over it. The boy we went to his naming ceremony tries to get close to me, but I just can’t. I miss my brother. His birthday is June 12th, and I’m never okay throughout the month. It makes me friendlier and kinder to people deserving of it. I believe in heaven and hell; because they both exist, I try my best to do good to meet him in the next life.


Butterfly — It was like someone ripped my heart out and left me in the cold.

One of my best friends died in 2018. He was young, and he had all these dreams. He was a good person too. They don’t make people like that anymore. His death came so suddenly. It was like someone ripped my heart out and left me in the cold. I cried. Oh, I cried. I kept looking for him in every face I saw for a long time. I was on a trip one time, and I thought I saw him, and I got down from the cab just to see, but it wasn’t him. It was someone else. I feel like my heart just stopped working in terms of handling loss and death. People have died since his death, and I just jump and pass. I have had extended family members die, but none comes close. My heart guards inside from being hurt like that again because I almost lost it when he died.


Orobosa — I feel like life has stopped.

If I start, I won’t stop. But the bottom line is that after 3/4 years, I’m just starting to feel like myself again. I feel like life paused when I lost my mum and brother, and I pressed play a few months ago. It wasn’t until recently that I remembered what it means to be happy or excited. Because all I knew was anger, grief, sadness, anxiety, and depression.


Kristee — You never recover.

You never recover. Your body remembers the pain yearly, and you can’t escape the grieving. You just learn to move through the days, but you’re never really whole afterward.


Vee — I still think about him.

In 2017, 3 months after graduating from secondary school, I lost a classmate who was also my friend. I hadn’t lost anyone before, so I didn’t know how to feel when I heard the news of his death. But I remembered I was okay for some time. When I finally processed the whole thing, I cried. I was in a restaurant, assisting my sister with work and crying. It’s been 5 years, and I still think about him. I always wish him a happy birthday, too. And talk about him when I can. My song for him is Simi’s Charlie.


Eboseremen — The heartbreaks don’t ever end.

In 2010, I lost a younger sister. It shook me because I always believed that you needed to be super old to die. In 2013, I lost my mom. I was still processing this one, but I am much better, thanks to God. It shook me because I didn’t understand why she died even when we all prayed and prayed. I blamed myself for her death and my sister’s. I firmly believed I had somehow caused it by attending an expensive school and using a lot of money for my education. For years after, I tried to handle my guilt but made a series of bad decisions that almost landed me in a terrible place. Afterward, I transferred my anger to others I believed somehow caused her death. I was mad. To process this, I wrote letters to her and God for years. I would always tear them up and cry. I wept. I cried every time I entered a kitchen, and people began to ask me why I could not cook. How would I explain that other people’s kitchens and cooking for the non-nuclear family made me anxious and that after my mother died, I forgot how to cook, and my father had to teach me from scratch? I cried whenever someone asked why I wasn’t womanly (and they asked A LOT). I wasn’t sure how to explain that the SS3 holiday was when my mother and I had planned to practice all these things, and she died 6 days before my birthday. Way before WAEC. About 2-3 years later, I lost my favorite aunt, and I still cannot forgive myself for not calling her when she asked me to. Losing loved ones taught me that life really can end any second now. That the heartbreak doesn’t ever end; you just learn to live with it, and God helps. Every individual has coping mechanisms and ways of coming to terms with losing a loved one. Some find solace in talking about it, and some find comfort in writing about their experiences or even keeping journals to document their thoughts. Others find peace through physical activities such as running, exercising, or simply being outdoors. Some turn to religion as their coping mechanism, while some rely on friends and family members as their support system during hard times. Lastly, many engage in creative activities like drawing, painting, or playing music to cope with emotions. Ultimately, everyone grieves differently, but what matters is finding what works best for you so that you can start the healing process.


Praise — He left a hole in my life.

Then I was supposed to see him on Sunday only for my dad to get a call from his dad because my dad is the pastor of our church, and then he said Mr. X just told me his son had just died. I was in disbelief. I think this happens in the first stage of grief. I said no, that’s not possible. My dad went to the hospital and confirmed the news. He was very close to me because he understood my struggles; we were so close, and if he had been alive, I would have been in a relationship. It hit me at his burial that he died when they said from dust to dust, and they lowered his body to the ground. I lost it. I just lost it. During that time, I realized many people don’t know how to react to grieving; they kept on saying I should stop crying; it came so harshly. Whenever I see someone in his car, I still text him, which is a coping mechanism. After he died, I got close to his family. Being around someone who understood what he meant to me was nice. I’m happy I met him; he left a hole in my life.

I have learned that you can’t always control the things that happen to you; let yourself mourn the loss of your loved ones before you accept that change is inevitable. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you need it. Above all, remember that you are not alone.


Also Read: Grief  Is The Gift That Breaks The Spirit Open by Aliyah Maruf.