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IN MEMORY OF PRAISE AGENERWOT: EMBRACING EMPATHY, LISTENING AND PATIENCE IN GRIEF

It is said that some people come into our lives and quickly go, some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.


The date, December 15th, 2023, will forever be etched in my memory. This was the day that Praise Olanya, a student of Senior Three Grizzlies, fell prey to the never-ending maelstrom of mental health issues. On this unfortunate day, Praise sadly ended her life.


I must say, writing this article is like reopening a fresh wound but it is a beautiful way of remembering the amazing life she lived and the amazing lives that she changed. Once I heard the news one question echoed in my mind “Why?” and to this day I still ask myself this question and perhaps I will never know. Therefore, I have to share a few lessons that I have learned from this experience with you. 


How to deal with grief is one thing I won't be advising you on in this piece because, in my opinion, it is too personal and intimate to be something that someone should be telling you how to do but one thing that I find really helpful is remembering the good memories that you had with them regardless of how painful it is for it is our responsibility to remember and carry on their memory. One thing about Praise that I can never forget is how beautiful and vibrant her smile was. It made the room light up and once you would see her smile, you would start smiling as well and I hope that through this piece she is forever remembered for the impact she made in our lives. Another thing that I found helpful, that is if you have anything more left in you, is to share a moment with God for He is the provider of peace and comfort.


The necessity of checking in on your loved ones is something I must stress time and time again. Even though you can never know what someone else is going through, a simple smile could give them greater hope. 


The need to quit diagnosing or second-guessing someone's emotions is something that I observe a lot in people these days. You should never inquire about or pass judgment on someone else's feelings. How about you listen to them, no matter how little they may say to you, instead of criticizing them? It is vital for everyone to learn how to listen rather than hear.


The ability of active listening can be both extremely simple and challenging for certain individuals to master. It calls for perseverance, attentive listening, and sincere interest in what the other person is saying. As a result, you must take part in this exercise since you may discover some information that is behind their speech.


Additionally, even though you could occasionally feel down, I advise against creating comparisons between past sad times and their current circumstances because everyone experiences a variety of emotions throughout their lives. Saying that you “understand” someone else's feelings to contrast them with your own is offensive to both the other person and their mental well-being.


Lastly, don’t forget to be patient with them. Such things aren’t necessarily the easiest thing to talk about. I can’t imagine how hard it might have been for Praise to talk about the way she felt. Maybe she didn’t feel safe or comfortable enough with telling anyone but what I can say about this is that you should always remember to remind everybody that you talk to that you are there whenever they need you.

So, if you didn’t read this piece in detail, there are two things I want you to remember in life. Listen and be patient.


Ineeza Melissa




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