Indescribable Pain – Loss of a child

indescribable pain - loss of a child

Suffering loss of any kind is one of the most painful and deepest emotions in life. Loss of property or possession can be very upsetting. It can take an individual’s mood from a high level to zero, Even friends and family could be affected as everyone tries to help out or do anything to lift the person’s spirit.

If you’ve ever paid attention to animals you’ll know how agitated they get when they lose something. They pace around the spot it was left and even the timidest or docile animal is ready to attack anyone who comes near them at that point. When they lose their offspring, some animals (especially social animals) grief examples are elephants, crows, Chimpanzees, giraffes and there was the story of a mother orca carrying her dead infant through the icy waters of the Salish Sea keeping the infant afloat as best she could, the orca, persisted for 17 days, before finally dropping the dead calf.

If loss of possession can be so painful for humans, how much more loss of a loved one which is an irreplaceable loss. Loss of a loved one causes severe grief because of the simple fact that the person is gone forever. Larry King was once asked about the most difficult interview he’s ever done. We all know Larry King throughout his career conducted lots of interviews (over 30,000) his response was ‘interviewing a bereaved parent’. You can almost touch the pain of a grieving parent, its severe and raw.

This heartbreaking story on LinkedIn caught a lot of people’s attention last month. I read both husband and wife’s post and I grieved with them as I read it. The couple had lost their 8yearold twin son. In the father’s words “When I got the call I was sitting in a conference room with 12 people at our Portland office talking about PTO policies. Minutes earlier, I had admitted to the group that in the last 8 years I’d not taken more than a contiguous week off”.  

And then he died in his bed overnight. The evening before was normal. Wiley was healthy and engaged. We had friends with kids over for dinner. We all jumped on the giant trampoline that had been the first purchase for the house we had bought just a few weeks ago.
 

J.R. Storment

The couple had an agreement to always answer the phone when they called each other. He picked the phone that day to be told any parent’s worst nightmare “J.R., Wiley is dead.” 

“What?” I responded incredulously.

“Wiley has died.” she reiterated.

“What?! No.” I yelled out, “No!”

“I’m so sorry, I have to call 911.”

That was the entire conversation. The wife said she couldn’t sugarcoat it and didn’t have time to explain as she needed him to come home. She still had to explain to her other son that his best friend had died and 15 people were about to swarm their home. She asked him to pick a location where he would feel safe. Then, sirens. 

The Police arrived as any unexpected death of a minor is a potential criminal event. Their son’s room was barricaded and property guarded until their investigation was complete. Her husband arrived and bursted through the front door heading for their children’s room, but was stopped by police and he abruptly turned his attention to his scared, lonely son outside. The process took 2.5 hours. which passed incredibly slowly while they begged to see their son. They were finally given some time to see him, “It was not the way a parent should have to see their child”, she wrote, but it was all we had. They held his hand and fixed his hair and kissed his head until their time ran out. “What happened, buddy? What happened?” his dad repeated quietly as he stroked his hair.

He walked their son out of the house with the Medical Examiner and then one by one, the cars all drove away just as quickly as they had arrived leaving the remaining 3 of the once family of 4 standing in the driveway trying to figure out how their world had changed so much in one night. 

Many have asked what they can do to help. Hug your kids. Don’t work too late. A lot of the things you are likely spending your time on you’ll regret once you no longer have the time. I’m guessing you have 1:1 meetings on the books with a lot of people you work with. Do you have them regularly scheduled with your kids? If there’s any lesson to take away from this, it’s to remind others (and myself) not to miss out on the things that matter. 

J.R Storment

Their son is believed to have died of SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death of Epilepsy), cause of death will take approximately 4 months to officially declare. He had previously been diagnosed with Rolandic Epilepsy. He’s was a childhood and benign form of nocturnal epilepsy. 2 neurologists in the US and in the UK had told them he’d suffer no cognitive deficits, that he would outgrow his condition and that his prognosis was incredibly good. The family took every precaution they should have taken, and informed everyone involved with him of his condition, but that fateful night, he died peacefully in his bed next to his twin brother and best friend ( his mother takes solace in this).

If we’ve learned anything at all, it’s that life is fragile and time really can be so cruelly short. We wish a lot of things were different, but mostly we wish we’d had more time. If you are a parent and have any capacity to spend more time with your kids, do. When it ends, there’s just photos and left over things and time is no longer available to you. It is priceless and should not be squandered. Take your vacation days and sabbaticals and go be with them. You will not regret the emails you forgot to send. From now on, if you email or text me and my reply takes longer than expected, know that I am with the people I love sharing my time, creating my new identity and I encourage you to do the same.

Dr Jessica Brandes

Their posts was a kind of tribute to their son as well as advice to parents to spend more time with their children. The father’s post was titled “It’s later than you think” as the lyrics of a song with that title keeps coming to his mind since they suffered the loss.

“You work and work for years and years, you’re always on the go you never take a minute off, too busy makin’ doughSomeday, you say, you’ll have your fun, when you’re a millionaire Imagine all the fun you’ll have in your old rockin’ chair Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pinkThe years go by, as quickly as a wink Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”

Guy Lombardo

Deep words!

As I end my post today, I leave you with the lyrics. No one knows tomorrow and I pray no one else suffers the loss of a Child, that said, in our daily hustle and search for a better life, may we not forget to live. Make time for your children, be silly with them, explore, do the unexpected remember we’ll all be gone one day (Old and grey 👨🏽‍🦳👩🏽‍🦳 hopefully) but what will be left is the memories we leave. Make good memories with your loved ones, be good, be kind, be happy, we’ll only be remembered by what we have done.

Aunty Lulu.


Read JR Storment’s post here and Dr Jessica Brand’s (mum) post here

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Colourism – how it could affect our children

Colourism - how it could affect our children

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a show on Oprah Winfrey’s TV network about colourism. Colourism is prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.

We live in a world where discrimination and preferential treatment exists. Even though it is frowned upon, the truth is that it is very much a part of our society. This preference comes in different forms. It could be based on class, race, gender, tribe and even colour which is where colourism comes in.

Colourism has been rife in our society but only just started getting more attention. The talks on colourism were further ignited recently by “Mathew Knowles“. He said that light-skinned girls receive more commercial success than dark-skinned girls. Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna his daughters Beyonce and Solange were used as examples.

He also mentioned that as a Young man(dark-skinned), he only dated light-skinned girls’ and he was attracted to his ex-wife -Tina Knowles because he thought she was white. “I had been conditioned from childhood,” he said, with his own mother telling him ” Don’t ever bring no nappy-head Black girl to my house” when growing up. This resulted in years of dating “white women or very high-complexion black women that looked white”.

Is Colourism a feminist issue?

Can Colourism be said to be more of a feminist issue? Mathew Knowles is not the only man to admit dating only light-skinned girls, a number of guys also do. Most music videos feature only light-skinned girls and whenever a dark-skinned girl is used it’s mostly for something negative. “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl” a lot of dark-skinned girls have been told this before. Beauty is being attributed to skin colour and light-skinned girls get most of the attention and success. I don’t think it’s a feminist issue it’s just more common with women.

Why Colourism matters

Colourism affects Africans, East and South-east Asians, Latin Americans, the Caribean and African Americans. The danger of colourism is that it causes low self esteem. This is why some dark-skinned people bleach their skin.

Skin bleaching refers to the practice of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten the skin or provide an even skin colour by reducing melanin concentration in the skin. Skin bleaching/whitening can be dangerous as some of the products used to achieve this contain toxic products that are harmful to the skin. In the UK, a Nigerian couple were recently sentenced for selling toxic whitening products.

Beauty is self-love and self-appreciation and it starts early, It is important to let our children know this from an early age. A light-skinned friend of mine shared with me how her darker daughter had told her a few times that she wished she was the same colour as her mum. She said her daughter would always want her hair done in a way that would cover her face. This broke her heart and she constantly told her how beautiful she was. She was worried about it affecting her confidence.

This is why these conversations need to be had, the narrative needs to change! Mainstream media, entertainment and social media etc need to give more dark-skinned coloured women opportunity and exposure. Whilst there are a handful of dark-skinned leading ladies, the same cannot be said of men.

Colourism and racism

Colourism came out of racism, it has its roots in slavery where light-skinned slaves were treated better than dark-skinned ones by their slave masters. This was because they were usually their family, while they didn’t officially acknowledge their offsprings from the African women, they were given preferential treatment.

In the case, of Europe, Colourism was more of a class thing. The ruling classes were perceived to have fairer skin than peasants. This was actually because they spent more time indoors while the peasants were tanned from labouring outdoors. This resulted in light skin being associated with the upper class and the elite while dark skin was associated with the lower class.

Unfortunately, Colourism didn’t disappear with slavery. Light skinned African Americans received employment opportunity offers that were not given darker ones which is why most upper-class African Americans are light-skinned. The brown paper bag test also applies here where African Americans were refused admission into different societies and clubs if they were darker than a brown paper bag.

An American Senate majority leader once suggested that Barack Obama had a political edge over other African American candidates because he was light-skinned and had no “Negro Dialect. According to Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt, African-American defendants are more than twice as likely to receive the death penalty as lighter-skinned African-American defendants for crimes of equivalent seriousness involving white victims. Also, Lighter-skinned Latinos in the United States make $5,000 more on average than darker-skinned Latinos.

Conclusion

Colourism did not start today and it will not end if we don’t start discussing it openly. It’s unfortunate that children also see it and it affects their confidence. We need to let our children know they are beautiful no matter their skin colour, hair or appearance. It is important that they believe in themselves from an early age. Buying them toys of dark-skinned dolls as well as literature with dark-skinned heroes and heroines also helps. Luckily, there are so many books now with dark-skinned families and children and a lot of them teach body positivity.

I leave you with the beautiful song by Beyonce “Dark Skin Girl” it’s a positive message, one that we should all be telling our daughters.

Aunty Lulu

Also look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdP5nGfWiy8

Recommend books for children:

  1. Who do I see in the mirror.
  2. Emi’s Curly, Coily Candy hair
  3. The colour of us
  4. Riley can be anything.
  5. My brown skin.

Credits :

https://www.ebony.com/entertainment/books/exclusive-mathew-knowles/https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-colorism-2834952 https://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/opinion/19vedantam.html

Related topics: https://www.myauntylulu.com/friendship-and-loyalty-the-story-of-nike-and-tiger-woods/. https://www.myauntylulu.com/lets-talk-bullying-the-ugly-monster/

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The importance of Disciplining Children

The need to discipline children
Beckley Crandley sitting next to her Son during a lesson to stop him from being rude to his teachers

I read the story of a mum who got a report from her son’s school about his disruptive behaviour and bad attitude. She (with the school’s permission) decided to show up at the school and sat beside him during his maths lesson. Not surprisingly, his name was already on the board for naughty behaviour before her arrival. The rest of the lesson went on without any event apart from the embarrassed look on the boy’s face 😄. I’m pretty sure he’ll think twice before messing around during lessons again.

“I’m not bringing him up to talk down to people, especially women, and I won’t stand for it – teachers don’t deserve it. They’re not there to parent our children, they’re there to teach and guide.

Beckley Crandley

I found the story amusing – more so because it’s an action I’m not sure I’ll ever consider but it’s a pretty good way of disciplining a child. So would you take such action? It also made me think of the different ways we correct our children, some Scold, some smack, some ground, some remove privileges.

The importance of disciplining children

Why discipline is necessary

Every parent wants a well-behaved, respectful and happy child that can function well both at home and in public. Truth is, that’s not always the reality, children are human and humans are bound to err. How do you then correct any misbehaviour?

Misbehaviour is when an action is considered inappropriate for a particular situation or setting it occurred. When children misbehave, it is necessary to set them straight. How do you know when to give mild, or severe discipline? How do you draw the line of strictness? While there’s no definitive answer, the following can serve as a guide:

Types of discipline

From my research into this topic, I found that there are 3 types of discipline:

  • Preventive: this is when guidelines, expectations and rules are established to help prevent misbehaviour. The goal is to provide proactive intervention to potential bad behaviour. Children know what is expected of them and what behaviours are acceptable and not acceptable.
  • Supportive: Rules and guidelines will sometimes be broken, no matter how well thought through they are. This is where supportive discipline comes in. Supportive discipline is where a verbal warning or alternative suggestion is given to a child that is misbehaving. Supportive discipline gives options and suggestions for correction so that there are no consequences. It is an action to accept or to avoid further punishments. Reminders, redirections and nonverbal communication (warning stare) are types of supportive discipline.
  • Corrective: This becomes necessary after failure of a child to behave appropriately after reminders and warnings. These are the consequences children face as a result of unruly behaviour. They defer and some are more effective than others. Some help children to learn and still build a connection to the parent while others could get them to obey but not learn what is expected, or it could just get them to always do want the parents want and not necessarily learn what is expected. Here are a few common methods:
  1. Using consequences:
  2. TIme out.
  3. Losing a privilege
  4. Grounding
  5. Physical punishment (smacking)
The importance of disciplining children

I also found that there are 4 main types of parenting, they are:

Parenting Styles

  1. Authoritarian: An authoritarian parent has clear expectations and consequences for their children but shows little or no affection. It’s all about obeying their rules regardless of the Childs feelings – ‘my way or the highway’. They believe rules must ve obeyed without exceptions.
  2. Authoritative: An authoritative parent has clear expectations and consequences of their child and is affectionate towards them. They engage some flexibility and collaboration with their children in dealing with behavioural changes. It’s an ideal form of parenting as it takes the children’s opinion into consideration. This fosters self-confidence in children.
  3. Permissive: A permissive parent shows a lot of affection towards their child but provides little or no discipline. It is a less effective way of parenting. Parents in this category believe that ‘kids will be kids’ and often excuse bad behaviour. They don’t stick to set boundaries and often give in after their child begs them. Children of such parents are likely to have behavioural problems.
  4. Uninvolved: Uninvolved parents are parents who have little knowledge of what their children are doing. They set few rules and children receive little nurturing and guidance. Such children tend to have self-esteem issues and struggle with work at school.

Sometimes, parents could fit into two or more of these types of parenting. The important thing is to always maintain a good relationship with your child. Find what works for both parent and child. A parent should strive to maintain a healthy relationship with their child and still establish authority in a healthy manner.

Smacking

I decided to treat smacking on its own because it’s a very controversial form of discipline. Smacking is hitting someone or something forcefully and deliberately with the hand or a weapon. Many parents smack their children with the belief that it’ll stop them from bad behaviour. Most parents that believe in smacking do so because they were smacked as children and it was effective on them.

While a lot of parents smack, it is important to know that it is illegal in some countries and if you smack a Child and are arrested, you’ll be prosecuted irrespective of the fact that it was done on your Child. In the United Kingdom, under Section 58 of the Children’s Act of 2004, smacking remains legal as long as it does not cause visible bruises, grazes, scratches, swelling or cuts.

Recently, Scotland became the 58th country to make smacking children illegal. Sweden was the first country to do so, bringing in the law in 1979, while Ireland banned smacking in 2015. Other countries include Isreal, Norway, Finland, South Africa, Austria, Denmark, Tunisia, Kenya, Peru, Congo etc.

People against smacking argue that allowing smacking “sends a message to our children that hitting someone is a way of resolving a dispute, or if you don’t like their behaviour”. They believe smacking is a form of violence and violence should never be acceptable in any setting”.

My Opinion on Smacking

Smacking is not strange to me as I was smacked a few times as a child (we actually dreaded been scolded by my dad more). I rarely got into trouble as a child – not because I was such an angel but because I could talk myself out of most situations (thanks to boarding school). I have also smacked my Boys a few times but I think I threaten to smack more than the actual smacking – and it seems it works.

What I have discovered is that taking privileges works better for me. Just the threat of not getting their tablet over the weekend brings the Boys back to their senses. Smacking really is violence, my Boys threaten to smack themselves and actually do hit themselves sometimes which I believe is from the few times I’ve smacked them. Smacking may be fast and effective but could have longterm consequences. I, therefore, encourage other effective ways of correcting a Child.

Conclusion

The temperament of a child is important in determining the appropriate discipline. The type of inappropriate behaviour should also be considered as well as the child’s age. It helps to commend and reward good behaviour, this encourages them to continue being good. Avoid yelling (aren’t we all guilty) it serves no purpose. Yelling just gets everyone worked up and causes irrational reactions.

Most importantly, avoid criticism and comparison. Always correct not criticise, this is done by addressing the bad behaviour and not the child. Be careful with the words you use, words stay with children. If you keep telling them they’re bad or naughty they may start to believe it. Don’t condemn your child(ren). Lastly, correct in love.

Aunty Lulu

Credits:

https://www.education.gov.gy/web/index.php/teachers/tips-for-teaching/item/1623-types-of-discipline-in-the-classroom

https://nt.gov.au/community/parents-and-families/discipline-and-children-birth-to-12-years/types-of-discipline

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/discipline-tactics#1

see also https://www.myauntylulu.com/lets-talk-bullying-the-ugly-monster/

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Health Talk with Adeola – 40s – what to expect.

health talk with Adeola

Please read Dr Adeola’s response to a blog visitor’s question. The question is about changes to expect when the milestone age of 40 is reached.

Hello Dr Adeola,


Thank you for your post. My question has nothing to do with OCD but with women and ageing. I recently turned 40 and I have noticed some changes in my sight for example and a few other areas. Can you please advise on changes women/men should expect as we age and supplements that we should be using. You hear all sort of suggestions, Viet E is good, use VitC, Iron etc. Please advise on how we can take better care of ourselves. Also on changes to expect as very active and young at heart people in our 40s. Thank you
Bola

Dear Bola,

I can identify well with your need for clarification. Just recently a friend of mine and I were sharing our experiences of turning 40!  We moaned to each other about how suddenly one is about to turn 40 or just turned 40 and the changes simply drop (not creep) on one without warning. It’s clockwork, bang on time. If it creeps on people it would give some warning shots or a bit of confusion as to what’s going on but the experience is usually for most people so clear that one quickly understands and attributes them to approaching or having approached the beautiful fortified milestone.

These changes are not exhaustive but are the most common ones and the ones that most people will experience.

Period changes:

A lot of people will have heavier and prolonged periods.

Hair changes:

Less where it’s wanted  (head), with less hair fullness and/or length or loss of hairline and more where it’s unwanted. For example, some people who were previously predisposed to having excessive hair on their legs or chin area would develop more and may find this problematic to control. This is commoner in women, men seem to struggle with earlier onset of grey hair more.

Weight gain:

This can be attributable to hormonal, dietary and metabolic changes. It’s more problematic in certain areas like the lower abdomen, waist, upper arms etc. From this age onwards most people burn fewer calories so it’s advisable to eat less and healthy. It is wise to imbibe a healthier active lifestyle of healthy eating and moderate exercise ( the zeal for exercise can decrease due to decreasing fitness levels and easier fatigability but this is when to keep going ). Weight gain and difficulty with losing weight is similar in both men and women.

Digestive changes:

Lots of people complain they feel bloated easily. Bowels may become more sensitive to certain foods and toileting habits are more noticeable to vary with certain diets. Most people soon work out what suits their bellies and adjust. In women especially, bloating may become complicated with hormonal changes.

Changes in Vision:

Most people notice a change in their near vision and need to adjust reading distances to suit and may need more lighting to read or do fine tasks like threading a needle or doing a necklace clasp. Visiting an optometrist/Optician for an eye check and advice now becomes a necessity.

Sexual Function:  

Some men notice a decline in initiating or sustaining an erection and some women may notice an increased or decreased libido (sex drive). Fertility reduces in women so it may be harder to conceive but this is not a general rule as most women will still fall pregnant easily. It is advised that you should keep on an effective contraception (if you are done with childbearing) till you are menopausal which is on average around age 50/51 and you would have stopped menstruating for a minimum of one or two years and be confirmed to be menopausal. The perimenopausal period and changes start several years ahead of the actual menopause.

Increased risk of health problems:

One should now be aware that the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, breast, prostate, gynaecological problems etc increases somewhat and one should endeavour to look after one’s health by eating healthy, having  regular exercise, adequate sleep, health checks, responsible alcohol intake, stopping smoking, and seeking medical help if one notices any changes that one is unsure of.

General symptoms like aches, pain, tiredness etc are more noticeable after what previously would have been a doddle.

Age-appropriate multivitamins usually contain most of what is needed to enhance good health. Without advertising for any company in particular, I have found centrum for men and women generally tolerated and preferred amongst my clients. However, I must add that these are meant to supplement rather than replacing a healthy balanced diet of low-fat food, foods rich in fibres and grains, fruits and vegetables etc.

The changes described are not exhaustive, this is just a snapshot and the list could go on and on. Whilst they can be normal age-related changes in most people they could be a sign of ill health in others. Therefore, when uncertain about any changes it’s always better to check with a professional.

I do hope you find this helpful Bola,

My very best wishes,

Dr Adeola

https://www.myauntylulu.com/welcome-to-our-health-column-with-adeola/

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Wedding party 3 – to be or not to be?

I recently watched the wedding party 2, the sequel to the wedding party movie that was released in December 2016. The wedding party is a rom-com produced by Ebony life films, Ink one production and Konga Films. The movie was recently released on Netflix.

On a Saturday night that was looking boring, I decided to let off some steam and unwind by watching it. It was released in 2017 to a lot of pomp and pageantry. It also came with mixed reviews, some people were of the opinion that it fell short of its prequel. I was however still eager to see for myself and determine my feelings about the movie

The wedding party to me is a holiday blockbuster as it is usually released during the Christmas holidays. Christmas period as we all know comes at the end of the year and it’s a time most people tend to slow down, let down their hair and take a break after a busy year. It starts at the end of November (Thanksgiving) and goes on to the first few days of the New year.

wedding party

The atmosphere is usually cheery, jovial, light and definitely celebratory. Writing this is already giving me full nostalgia of many magical Christmases long gone back home in Nigeria. Anyway, Christmas blockbusters are usually light, funny and feel good, just to reflect the mood of the season which is usually a time for family, friends and food… the wedding party ticks all the boxes here.

Though I’m not a movie critic, I do know a good movie when I see one. So how do I grade WP2, or even 1? All I’ll say is it’s an enjoyable movie. It scores high on the things I like to see in a Christmas blockbuster- Fashion, romance, comedy and good music. Come-on it’s the end of the year, who needs movies with plot twists and too much action let’s keep it light, simple and funny. A little fashion and romance won’t hurt the eyes either😉 .

So please Aunty Mo, Ebony Films or whoever is listening, I’d really like to see the irresponsible rake ‘Sola’ get hitched. It won’t hurt to get to know his family too, bring a few new characters to the movie. It’ll be nice to see him settle down especially since WP 2 was already pointing us towards the direction of the feisty Yemisi. It’ll also be good to know Yemisi’s story as well and in a twist, the writers could even get him to settle down with the sultry ‘Rosie'( Beverly Naya’s character) let them tame each other. Yemisi can go with the groomsman we never get to see (the one that was in an accident). Don’t even say I’m getting ahead of myself 😁.

There is so much that can be done with this story, they can even get to 5 or 6 instalments if the game is played right. By that, I mean getting really good scriptwriters. As much as I enjoyed the movie I must say the dialogue sometimes made me gag 🤐 not forgetting the eye-rolling-worthy Cheesy lines, oh and also some very unnecessary comedy scenes 🙄. Other than that, it’s a great holiday movie and certainly lifted my spirits yesterday.

It took my mind to some romance novels I read years back. They are different stories of a group of friends finding love, it was always good to catch up with all the couples in each story. This could be done with the wedding party.

So please Ebony TV, what are you waiting for? Get yourselves some badass writers and let’s marry Sola off, please. If approached well, this could be the best of the Wedding party movies. You’re sitting on something big so do some magic with. We are patiently waiting… ⌚

N.B

It’ll be nice to see our favourites – The Onwukas 1,2 and 3, the Cokers (please tell Alibaba to behave a little bit more like a millionaire and stop embarrassing Yoruba millionaires 🙈). Also, save us the agony of scenes like that of Ay and Saka – too painful to watch. Make the comedy light and sensible, please! Harrison and Tinuade are perfect madam and those chauffeurs that become family however, it shouldn’t be overdone. Thank you.

Aunty Lulu.

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