Once again my monthly wrap-up is late. However this time I have a legit reason… I have been coping. Just about.
March should have been my month of hope and empowerment with it being international women’s month and an opportunity to work on new projects. And it started off as so. I left for Italy during the start of the month to work remotely, yet ended up working on project documenting Africans thriving in the culture capital of Italy: Palermo.
I wanted to explore the juxtaposition of my identity as a Ghanian-British in comparison to Ghanaian-Italians I met living in downtown Palermo. My introduction to the African community came through Samuel aka Young Rasta, who works at a shelter for migrants. We connected through Couchsurfing when I requested recommendations for Afrobeat clubs. We met at a Ghanaian restaurant and the idea came to me: Why not document stories of Ghanaians living in Palermo, and more specifically Ballarò?
I got immersed in their world, becoming an active witness to the lives of African diaspora in Palermo, and not just an outside observer looking from across the fence thanks to our common link; our African roots.
And then, one night whilst in Palermo, my life, and the lives of those in my family have changed.
“Mum’s gone.” wrote the txt message.
My mum had been ill after suffering a stroke last November. I’d stubbornly clung onto hope she would get better. When I received the news from my sister that night, less than 10hrs till I was due to get my flight back to London, I screamed and fell on the floor and found myself in a fetal position just like in a womb. How ironic.
How does one deal with grief? On one hand I feel a sense of that I’m still marching on keeping busy, on the other I want the world to stop for a moment so I can catch my breath and let it sink in… I’ve lost my mother. Why is the world still moving as if nothing has happened?
Staying busy juggling Diversity Matters and Let’s do Lunch Network is my coping mechanism. As I freelancer I don’t have the luxury of taking ‘bereavement leave’. I have commissions and deadlines to meet – if I don’t meet them I don’t get paid. So I keep ploughing on.
My best friend Kinho was in town for 10days, and my partner Ivo’s back from Czech so I’ve been in good company. However it doesn’t remove the pain or guilt. I have cried but not enough. I have mourned but silently. Perhaps to the outside world I may come across as ‘business as usual Kai.’
The truth is I am not ready. I am not ready to read condolences and accept hugs from people in sympathy. I haven’t allowed myself yet the time to mourn and go into my cave and stay there until all my tears have run dry.
So for now I stick to my routines, and just about cope…
How have you coped with grief? Share in the comment box below
So, when are we doing lunch?… or coffee?
About Kai: I’m a Soho-based writer (lifestyle, cultural diversity and travel blogger) and event organiser on a mission to create meaningful connections… Food is usually the main catalyst! Currently taking commissions and sponsored posts CLICK HERE to CONTACT ME
(p.s. I’m “delightfully dyslexic“ – please read past any typos unless they’re really embarrassing then in that case flag it up to me!)
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