Grief is not a sign of weakness, but the price we pay for love. Read the touching story of a strong woman who survived the sudden death of her soul mate just a few months after their wedding.
Over three decades ago, in the garden city of Port Harcourt, a beautiful baby girl was born into the family of Mr and Mrs Harold. Before her arrival, her parents and eight elderly siblings had prayed to God for a safe delivery, and thankfully, on a cool Sunday morning, a fair princess was born into the family. Her daddy named her Chinasaokwu, which means “God answers every call.”
Chinasa was raised by a disciplinarian father and a very tolerant mother. They instilled Christian values in her and also taught her to be disciplined, hospitable, and hard-working. Although she wasn’t born with a silver spoon, her parents worked hard to provide for the family. While she was growing up, her father worked as an accountant, while her mother was a trader. Fending for nine children was very challenging, so Chinasa had to support her mother in selling different commodities in the market.
“While growing up, I learnt a major lesson from my dad. I always remember the day they served me and my immediate elder sister a fair quantity of food, but we insisted we wanted more. My parents pleaded with us to eat up what we had before requesting an extra quantity, but we refused. Then, we started crying and throwing tantrums, and that made my dad angry. Can you guess what he did to us? He dished out all the food in the house and forced us to eat it up. We ate till we couldn’t eat anymore, but he insisted we must finish the food.
When our stomachs were filled up, we rushed to the toilet, and thereafter, we returned to the food. Then, my mother pleaded with my dad to forgive us when she saw we couldn’t eat any more quantity. Did you know that at the end of the punishment, it was the initial quantity of food that satisfied us? So, on that day, I learnt to always be contented with what I have. “
Chinasa attended Community Primary School, Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt, and was one of the best pupils in her class. Her parents loved education, and they advised her to take her studies seriously. When Chinasa was in primary one, her teacher was very kind and motherly. She ingrained the habit of reading books into her.
After obtaining her first school leaving certificate, Chinasa attended Archdeacon Crowther Memorial Girls School, Elelenwo. While schooling there, she served as the secretary of the debate club. She was also a member of the Student Christian Movement (SCM), where she held several positions.
“Back then, I was a very brilliant student, but I still don’t understand why I couldn’t pass my West African Examination in one sitting. I always remember Mr. Anthony Ekanem, who was my Chemistry teacher. He taught me to work hard and never give up. Although I couldn’t get a credit pass in all my subjects, I made up my mind never to cheat in the examination. Sadly, while my agemates were gaining admission to the university, I was delayed for seven years.
Oh! That was a very challenging period of my life. I was very young and wondered why God was testing me. Gradually, depression crept into my heart and I wanted to commit suicide. Nevertheless, I thank God for one of my mentors who encouraged me to try one last time, and fortunately, I passed and got admitted into the University of Port Harcourt. “
While growing up, Chinasa’s career dream was to become a medical doctor, but she was admitted to study Human Anatomy. After obtaining her B.Sc. certificate, she worked as a volunteer in a hospital.
“I lost my dad when I was in S.S. 3. So, it wasn’t easy for my mum to train nine children. After my graduation, I decided to build up my medical skills. So, I got the opportunity to volunteer at Obio Cottage Hospital, Port Harcourt. Initially, I was working as a Personal Assistant to the consultants on sabbatical, and later, they transferred me to the ultrasound unit because of my background in Human Anatomy. During my volunteering service, I got interested in sonography and was trained to work as a Sonographer.”
Sonography is a diagnostic medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to bounce off structures in the body and create an image. In the beginning, identifying micro and macro structures correctly was very challenging because Chinasa didn’t have a background study of radiography. However, she worked hard to gain the required knowledge.
“I specialize in obstetric and gynecological ultrasound, and this field requires complete accuracy. Any slight mistake can affect both the mother and the fetus. Therefore, I’m very careful while handling my patients. So far, I have experienced both happy and low moments in this job. An example of a low moment is when a foetus dies before the end of the gestation period. I’m very emotional, and that’s why sometimes I see myself crying when a pregnant mother loses her child. I also rejoice greatly, when a new baby is conceived and delivered safely.
Chinasa didn’t consider financial gain when she started her career. She was driven by passion, and so far, her family members have been very supportive.
“I enjoy reciting positive affirmations because I believe in the power of words. One of my life’s quotes that I recite very often is “My life is purposeful. I wasn’t just created. I was created to make an impact. “
Many years ago, I discovered that my spiritual mission in life was to guide and teach teenagers. Currently, I am a teen worker in my church. Due to my experience, I can clearly state that young adults are facing higher pressure. There is a pressure to cheat, smoke, steal, fornicate, or get rich through dubious means. Nowadays, it is very difficult to find young readers because social media has taken over their study time.
As a teen coach, I have seen many young children who made mistakes because their parents were too busy to guide them. The stories I hear break my heart, and that’s why I always tell parents to build solid friendships with their children right from the toddling stage. When that is done, it will be easier for the child to share their challenges with you.
Meanwhile, if you don’t have a good relationship with your children, it would be difficult for them to listen to your advice. By the grace of God, I have mentored many young adults who are excelling in every area of life. My fulfilling moment is whenever a young child walks up to me and says, “Ma’am, I’m a better person today because you guided me on the right path. Thank you so much. “
The major tragedy in Chinasa’s life struck shortly after her marriage.
It was the year 2015, and Chinasa got married to her soul mate. He was the best gift life had ever given to her, and she loved him so dearly. Their marriage was blessed with a beautiful son, but a few months later, the story changed horribly.
“Seven months after my son was born, I was in the office when I received a call. The caller told me that my husband was involved in an accident. When I heard the news, I was so confused. Could it be a prank? Was it a wrong caller? After we got the information, my boss and other senior colleagues rushed to the scene and took him to the hospital. Unfortunately, he didn’t survive the accident.
Even after I saw him in the morgue, I still felt I was having a bad dream. Yes, I wanted to wake up to my normal life. When I got home and saw my baby giggling, I couldn’t stop crying. The innocent child didn’t know that his dad had passed on. It’s quite unfortunate that life didn’t allow him to enjoy his father’s love.
We were married for just 21 months before the incident. After his death, I asked God why he took away a man who was in his prime. He had many dreams for us. I also wondered how I would live without him. To be frank, his death broke my heart so badly.
Becoming a young widow was something I never imagined for myself. During the first few months, I couldn’t concentrate at work. However, I’m grateful to two of my colleagues who understood the pain I was going through and gave me a shoulder to lean on. Honestly, I can’t explain how I managed the grief, but I know that my family members and in-laws were very supportive. I also received support from members of my church. To add to that, I would say God helped me. “
Life is filled with challenges. No matter who you are or your status, there is always a point where you have to sail through stormy waters. Although Chinasa has stopped grieving her loss, she still has to deal with the challenges of single parenting.
“Life as a single mother is challenging. Every day can feel like a juggle between work, life, and attending to my son, and sometimes, all that can be overwhelming. I’m a very relational person, and sometimes, after a hectic day at work, I would need someone to talk to. Although I gist very often with my six-year-old son, you can’t compare that with discussing with an adult.
Also, being a mother and a father means you have no one to share the bills with. So, I have to pay for everything that is needed in the home. Sometimes, after buying everything, there would be no money remaining. As a child of God, I pray to Him to supply all my needs, and He has been very faithful to me.
I love my son with all of my heart. He is the reason I work so hard. He is a very bright kid, and he understands all my struggles. He is also very inquisitive, and on several occasions, he sat me down and asked me why his dad had to die. Then, after explaining everything to him, he still brings it up again, especially whenever he sees his peers walking with their fathers. I believe that as he gets older, he will understand it better.”
Chinasa is not a feminist. She believes that the role of every gender should be respected. Every woman has special and valuable potential hidden within her. So, instead of trying to be a man, or dragging positions with them, a woman should focus on discovering and building herself.
“I intend to create a platform to guide young ladies on how to build and maintain happy relationships with their partners. Women are life-givers. So, if you have a responsible man in your life, don’t be a thorn in his flesh. Instead, think of ways to improve his life. That’s one way to gain the respect and love that you deserve. “
Chinasa’s future career goal is to further her education and become a lecturer. Fertility medicine is one field she really wants to explore, although lecturing will also give her a lot of fulfillment. Aside from being a sonographer, she also provides cooking services as a side hustle. She doesn’t eat much but enjoys cooking and serving her delicious meals to people. She said that cooking is a form of relaxation for her. Her favorite hobbies are reading and journaling.
Chinasa believes that motherhood is the ultimate call to sacrifice. To her, every mother should work to fulfil this call.
If you are a single parent, remember that you are strong and powerful. The truth is that you always have to carry on, no matter what happens. You can still be a great mother if you decide to be one. This is not a time to wear an unhappy face or live a solitary life.
Chinasa advises mothers to find time to go out, interact, play, and be happy.
Finally, work hard, and don’t forget to pray harder because, with God, all your dreams are achievable.