To swim or not to swim?


I jumped into the water fully clothed and started swimming. I could feel the weight of my jeans pulling me down, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was, I did not know how to swim…

The things about pain is that it exposes you the harshest emotions in life; anger, hatred, agony, guilt and helplessness. I never understood when loved ones talked about living their lives to honor those they’ve lost. I have lost a lot of people in my life, so much so that it has become normal when someone passes away not to overthink or cry about it. There’s just acceptance, acknowledgement of the dearly departed and moving on.

 Knowing fully well that I cannot swim, I rarely go near a body of water, until recently…

My world came to a shocking halt when I realized that I was standing in a hall way that had two doors. The first door had a figure dressed in black standing in front of it. From what I could make out, the figure surpassed me in height and in strength.  The second door had a body of water in front of it. I couldn’t run towards the figure because it scared me more than the body of water. I had no time to undress or fold my jeans, my only thought was to jump into the blue. I didn’t plan to drown even though I knew I lacked the skills to make it out of the water alive.

Everything happens for a reason they say, including the unexpected death of a loved one….

 I lost a very good friend in August and it felt like I was being choked by something excruciating. I was scrolling through Facebook and it was the most random post to come across. When I saw his eulogy, my first thought was to laugh about it. It couldn’t possibly be real I said to myself. I took a screen shot and sent to my twin because that was her best friend in high school. I was laughing hysterically because I knew I was going to send him a message and he was going to refute the morbid claims of his passing. When I began to type the message, I was distracted by all the previous conversations we had. As I read through our conversations, I began to tremble violently.  I was no longer laughing, all the blood flowing through my body suddenly stopped and I started to gasp for air. There was a loud ringing in my ear as I fell to the ground unable to breathe. I could taste a hint of copper on my tongue and voiceless meaningless sounds began to emanate from my lips. It felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I couldn’t handle the magnitude of my emotions because I was completely at my lowest point. I had just lost a big brother who was in all ramifications a good person.

The day isn’t bright, it isn’t bright and fair at all…

The pool of water was this unexpected pain, the figure in black was death and I had to swim through this pain to find that light at the end of the tunnel people always seem to talk about. Yet, I couldn’t help but notice the visible gap this huge loss created. A tornado had thorougly and brutally done its damage.

Living my life to honor God and my family has been my major goal in life. Now, I have to add Iyke to it. No matter how hard it may be for me to wake up and strive for greatness, I have to remember that Iyke wanted nothing more than for those he left behind to lead fulfilled lives. Isn’t it weird though? He isn’t here to tell us what he would have wanted but we have to keep swimming hoping he’d want us to get away from the figure dressed in black.

I’ll carry him with me. I’ll carry him like an unborn child. I won’t stop talking about him. He doesn’t just seize to exist because he’s no longer on earth. He has transcended this earth in the most purest of forms and I’ll keep thanking God for the opportunity I got to know such a beautiful soul. To be truly loved and in turn love him as the brother he was, was a gift I received in high school. It stayed with me and will continue to stay with me forever.

The mystery of pain remains unknown but what comes after it should be carefully dealt with…

 I realized that in the coming days, I was completely unhinged. One minute I was happy, the next, I was screaming because the pain was unbearable. I became so exhausted, I had no idea when I was going to be okay again. My light was suddenly switched off and I wasn’t sure how long I was going to wander aimlessly in the dark. I felt guilty for embracing the pain. I had to stop feeling that way because there is no time line for grieve. No one is ever made to feel guilty for rejoicing or celebrating a win. I had to ask myself, “are you going to swim? Or are you going to drown?”

I couldn’t swim but the most interesting thing happened, I didn’t drown. Somehow, I made it to the other side with an angel by my side…



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