Kikelola Soyode: Titilayo (30 Days, 30 Voices)

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Trauma. That’s a word you rarely hear in Nigeria. Some parents do not understand it; some do not even acknowledge it as a REAL issue. Parents tend to believe that children will “get over it” or “grow out of it” or just generally “deal”.

We are not big talkers in Nigeria are we? We believe that “family issues” are best kept within the family. We do not need outsiders knowing our business. Well, at least that’s what we’ve been brought up to believe.

Therapy is completely out of the question. What is that? Therapy? The thought of sitting down with a “shrink” and talking about your challenges and concerns is unheard of! What if the “shrink” tells someone who tells someone else?

Titilayo’s family never talked much about her father when she was younger; she asked simple questions and she got simple answers. He died when she was only six years old. Deep down, she wanted to know so much about him, his favourite colour, his favourite food, his hopes and dreams for her; she wanted to know everything.

It just seemed too difficult and too emotionally draining a conversation to have with her mother, she was dealing with enough already.

Trauma. That’s a word you rarely hear in Nigeria. Some parents do not understand it; some do not even acknowledge it as a REAL issue. Parents tend to believe that children will “get over it” or “grow out of it” or just generally “deal”.

Titilayo developed a terrible stutter about fifteen minutes after her father collapsed and died in front of her. At six years old, this is awfully confusing. For almost a year, she did not realize what had happened, especially as her mother had been teaching her about Jesus Christ and His resurrection, she was convinced her father would return to her and life would go on.

She could not say her own name for six years, or say the number “three” for nine or any words starting with the letter “M” for eleven.

Her mother often talked with her about it and they hoped she would “outgrow” it. She was too embarrassed to receive any treatment; she was equally too embarrassed to speak publicly because she was constantly teased or told she was not trying hard enough.

She most definitely did not “grow out of it” or “get over it”. It got easier but it was and is still a lingering problem. Almost eighteen years later, she and her mother realized where this issue of hers originated from; they both realized she never quite got over the trauma simply because they never talked about it or sought help.

But then again, her mother was thrown into a world of uncertainty and confusion after her father passed away, she didn’t quite know what to do with her or how to handle what had just happened.

She felt so sorry for mother, she knew she was a handful; she was such a strange child, she latched on to her friends’ fathers because she missed hers terribly and needed to fill that void, she could not speak to her mother because she could not understand why she suddenly had one parent instead of two, she blamed her mother for her innocent mistakes. To the outside world, she was a difficult child, but in reality, she was a grieving child dealing with the traumatic experience of her father’s death.

Nineteen years later, she has achieved almost everything she’s always wanted to, living life to the fullest, with confidence like no other.

She talked her way through her trauma.

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Kikelola Soyode: I have just been called to the Nigerian Bar. I have a first degree in Law and a Masters in Intellectual Property Law from Manchester University. I am the founder of the Bola Soyode Educational Foundation (www.thebsefoundation.com), a foundation I set up in memory of my late father. The foundation awards scholarships to children who have lost a parent and as a result find it difficult to carry on with their education.

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.


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Comments

  • Communication solves a whole lot of problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!And piled up hurts does not do one any good.

    Sunflower November 30, 2012 4:22 pm
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