In the wake of the tragic shootings home and abroad in the past few days, conversations as this, scary and ugly as they may be, need to be had.
Death is not something anyone is prepared for. It’s one of the most unpleasant parts of life that no one wants to deal with but it is right there; an ever-present theme, an inevitable part of our existence. That no one knows tomorrow, and that it is not even assured just makes it all the more crazier.
One day, like Lauren London, you are doing cute things with the man of your dreams, the next they are no more. Their physical presence, like Nipsey Hussle’s, is forever gone. A large bit is stolen from your heart, and you’re left with only treasured memories that will never fade, memories that you may never dissociate from the sadness of losing the love of your life. Memories from a time when things were better, dreamier… when life was perfect.
As humans, regardless of circumstance, we always want to look forward with hope, to always believe that time takes care of everything. We hear people say it, and we may try to actually believe it, too. But in dark times, in times of unbearable grief and great despair, such as what Nipsey Hussle’s partner, Lauren London must be feeling now in the wake of the rapper’s murder, it would be quite difficult to hope, to believe in silver linings, in sunshine and rainbows colouring the sky after starless nights. Optimism won’t particularly be easy to generate in such instances.
Only a while back, the slain hip hop star and his actress partner were talking to GQ about their love, how they met and how great it was to be with each other. They spoke about the sacrifices they had to make for each other in order to see their relationship flourish. London gave up a movie role when she became pregnant with their son, Kross, now two years old.
Nipsey was also credited for always showing up and doing his bit to keep his woman happy.
“Even though you drive me nuts, you pull up, you show up, and you NEVER let me be alone.” London said.
As tributary kind words continue to flow in the wake of the rapper death, one of the sub-themes of the tragedy is how his partner and baby-mama must be feeling, how devastating and rattling it must be, to have the light of laughter and happiness wickedly snuffed out of one’s eyes, to have one’s partner’s warm hands snatched out of theirs by the cold hands of death.
No one can possibly tell how hurt she must be, neither can anyone possibly understand the depth of her pain, but her present situation, and that of the Nigerian woman whose partner was fatally shot last weekend in Lagos by SACS officials, really brings to the fore, the issue of dealing with the death of a partner.
Of course, nothing quite prepares you for the loss of a partner but in this tragic week where life’s fatal uncertainty has hit in the most brutal of ways, conversations as this cannot be shied away from. It is a part of life and should be addressed head on.
So how does one deal with the loss of a partner?
1. Really, it’s OK to cry
This may sound cliché but it is necessary to put it out there that, it is Ok to be strong, and that tears should not be seen as signs of weakness.
First of all, the act of crying can be extremely cathartic. Secondly, if your grief is causing tears, then crying is a part of your grieving process and it is something you have to go through.
2. People around you
In difficult periods as this, you need to protect your space as much as you can. It helps to have a trusted confidante.
Someone to help marshal the people who come around you, someone who recognises and understands healthy ways of emotional purging and can let you grieve without stunting the process or discarding your feelings by asking you to be ‘strong’ in unhealthy ways such as bottling up feelings or telling you to soldier on without really addressing your feelings.
3. Talk about it
You’ll need a listening ear during this period, too. Whether it is instantly or in the days after, you may need listening ears and it would be fantastic to have people who are willing to just listen to you, hear you express those feelings of grief and vocalise the pain.
That’s normal and beneficial for the mourning process. And it is very important to have people who would just listen again and again.
4. Be honest with yourself
This is perhaps one of the most important things.
There will be people telling you that you will be OK, and that everything will be fine, and that time will take care of things. These things are often said with the best intent and may be true in their own ways, but will things ever be the same again? Not exactly.
There will be many changes and you need to be honest with yourself about that.
Where there are kids, you have to watch them grow without their other parent; you will mourn all the things your significant other will miss out, you may live with unresolved guilt and regret, your relationship with their family and friends will likely change, you’ll miss the personal rituals you have with them, you’ll miss the thoughtful little things they used to do, you will miss the things they did that drove you crazy, and among a host of other stuff, you have to live the rest of your life without them.
So, really, life won’t be the same anymore and you have to be honest with yourself about that.
5. Life goes on
This will be a tough one to swallow. But in truth, it is what it is.
There’ll be days when you may feel like you’re losing the will to keep going. The memories will be haunting early on. It’ll burn each time they come bearing on your mind, reminding you of what you can no longer have and the dreams that will forever stay dreams.
It’s all part of the process. Eventually, those memories will become fonder as you look back over the years.
But till then, life goes on and you have to keep living. One healing day at a time.