Mama Fatima, an aso ebi trader said her goodbyes on the phone and turned to her trusted shop girl Iyabo with a worried look. When Iyabo asked what the problem was, she began talking, " it's Iya Bola my best friend from uni-days, we haven't been so tight for some years now, but this past week alone, she has called me unfailingly everyday always wanting to talk for long hours, but you know I have to attend to my customers, so , I always cut her off". She explained further that Iya Bola always seemed reluctant and sad to end their calls so she decided she'd go check on her over the weekend.
Truth is, Fadeke wasn't the social type, actually, she was, just not for the past 20 years at least. She used to be the life of the party when she was younger, the talk of the Town, the prettiest, most stylish, and most social- she planned every event on campus at the time and it was easy because she had an impeccable eye for details and fashion. Now though, she's just a 55year old woman seemingly living like an 80 year old. Why? Life choices.
Fadeke had awesome grades out of the University but she never had the chance to put them to good use, she didn't need to. She met and married her Husband, Chief Abayomi Bakare straight out of School. Chief Bakare has always been rich and successful and wanted a full house wife which she had no problem with being at the time, she was happy her children would have all the comfort she missed out on as a child and hence, had enough of them, 6 in total. Her last son, Debare came much later than the others and was her absolute favorite.
Iya Bola had everything she wanted as far as money could buy it and so did her kids. She was a dutiful mother and honestly, raising 6 kids was a handful, the medical checkups, family trips, PTA meetings... She barely had time for herself and as the years passed, she didn't have time for friends too, her life revolved around her kids, all the dreams she had were shelved and long forgotten.
Decades later, her children had become adults; while some got married, others were studying in faraway countries. She missed them so much but when Debare had to relocate to Canada, that was her biggest blow, and responsible for her recent low. She was overcome by a sense of loss, loneliness and constantly wished her children were adolescents again, still living under her roof. In these moments when she's overthinking the whole situation, she’s engulfed by deep feelings of sadness and is filled with regret of lost opportunities/connections over the years. She sat in the huge empty mansion day in and out riddled with overwhelming loneliness and poor appetite.
Also, over the years, Chief Bakare’s workaholic choice and frequent business travels had somehow created a distance between her husband and her, he enjoyed work and the company of his friends more than staying home with his Family and only came home to eat and sleep without paying much attention to her. So in a bid to rid the loneliness, she called everyone in her address book trying to reconnect and only Mama Fatima, Asiyah, her bestie from school seemed to spare her sometime because others were too busy with work or their own business.
Asiyah came to see her as promised and Iya Bola was able to share her concerns with her. Her friend understood the situation from experience. Mama Fatimah herself was a widow and her children were all living abroad too, but her feelings of loneliness were contained because she had her successful Aso-Ebi business to occupy her days. She encouraged her friend to seek out the mental health expert she spoke to when she was going through her own emotional struggles.
After meeting with Dr. K, her condition was referred to as the "Empty Nest Syndrome”, characterized by feelings grief and loss over children leaving and with supportive therapy and lifestyle changes, she entered a new phase of her life. She picked up event planning again and started getting more involved in her community and church events, she began to smoothen old friendships and create new ones. She also kept in touch with her kids and gradually sparked a new found relationship with her husband as well. It wasn't immediately but as she opened herself up to opportunities, people and relationships, she began to feel like her old self again.