Uncle Timothy

10:54:00 PM BB 0 Comments

I took this photo on August 1 2015, a week before my uncle Timothy died. I was thinking a lot about loss, grief, and transitions all summer 2015. I use this photo because it's beautiful, it's BC. There's water and water makes me feel grounded because it reminds me of home (Port Harcourt and Victoria). 

His death was a complete shock to me. He was so young, he was always so hype and full of life. He was one of the coolest people I've ever known. He was my favourite uncle.  

My family (like a lot of Nigerian families, I assume) don't really talk about death. So, only very few people in my life know about this. I've only started slowly talking about his death a year later. Writing about difficult things is so much easier than talking about it so writing is how I do most of my processing. 

Dealing with his death sucked immensely. It happened a few weeks after the end of a LTR, and just over a year and half after losing my grandmother. Basically, summer 2015 was terrible. #notgoals.

I processed my grandmother's death and uncle Timothy's death very differently. With my grandmother, it weirdly changed my relationship to Nigeria. Nigeria was always my grandmother's house. She was the reason I so desperately wanted to visit home because I knew she was so old and I needed to see her. Once she was gone, that bond was gone. Yes, cousins, aunts and uncles in Nigeria, I love you and need to see you but grandma was the matriarch that held it all together.

When I was young, Uncle Timothy was #goals. He was cool, good looking, played the guitar, was social, loved music, and loved people. He made me excited to be an adult that was young and free. As an adult, although he was far away, he would randomly send me messages on Facebook commending me on my life. Like actually, random messages telling me I'm killing it.

Uncle Timothy's death was a very strong layer of grief in a time of grief with my relationship ending and figuring out how to process my grand mother's death. The grief of summer 2015 changed my life because I learnt so many important lessons. How to deal with transitions: relationships ending, death, and having close to twenty close friends of mine leave Victoria in less than two years! What the hell. I'm not a life transition expert but I'd like to think I'm so much better at it right now than this time last year. Death also taught me an important lesson: mourn the dead and live your best life ever. Uncle Timothy loved life so much and I knew that's what he would want for me. 

How do I live my best live ever as a then 24 year old black Nigerian woman living in Victoria, BC? I decided to stop being a sad, functional depressive and move on and heal, and grieve healthily. After taking the summer off (which was the second best thing I did for myself last year), I got a job, started seeing a therapist, and gave myself six weeks to stop being a crying mess. I started a gratitude journal because in the midst of deep sadness,  intentional moments of gratitude reflections were important. I read a lot of books. I started dating again cos I love meeting new people. In 2015, I decided to become the best version of myself possible and to do all I can to live out my dreams. No hesitation.  

Thank you for the lessons, Uncle Timothy. Here's to keeping it LIT for you all summer '16 and beyond. Rest in power <3


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