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Hitting Home Series: Pain by Death by Jadesola Giwa

Our Hitting Home Stories invite everyday people who are on their way to better health, have overcome or witnessed a loved one with chronic disease issues to share their personal stories. These are true stories that take courage to share and we hope they inspire you to get started or keep at your journey to better health and wellbeing. To submit your story, email us at

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Time of birth


I had just come back from the gym

That I went to after the memorial

That I didn’t see myself go to,

But I went to

Show respect.


Respect for the five dead,

And the lost soul.


At this moment,

And I mean second,

123, 534


Its been approximately 50secs and

123, 700


Makes me wonder if the

7, 266,749, 451

People alive

Include those resurrected.


I’m trying to find hope.


Death has become

A word that I hate.

A reality too difficult to accept,

Constantly surprised at its occurrence

Yet it happens so frequently.


The reason why mama couldn’t eat,

Uncle cried,

Mom went,

Students gathered,

And we mourn.


The chaplain said something about

Moving on.

He didn’t say how

Do you move on

When a piece of you is gone?

Do you continue the same routine

When the friend you say hello to

At exactly 9:50am after your class

While on their way to class

Is no longer there?

Do you pretend to be on the other end of the phone

When they are gone?

Do you role-play their life

While trying to live yours?

Or do you accept their absence and

Move on 

As if they weren’t there

Because they aren’t there

To give witty comments,

And dis your favourite sport team.

The chaplain said something about 

Moving on,

He didn’t say how.


Time of death

April 16, 9:29am.

So it seemed

As pages of Dewale's smile 

And compassionate heart,

Presented themselves as stories

In my book of memories.

As the blood of the five

Aligned as lines on my blank pages.

No stories to write,

Just tears that paint the feeling of my emotion.

Up and down

Transparent and opaque.


But, this is how I moved on:

When I hurt 

The assurance of God's love gave me healing.

When I met the feet of my King with years of questions,

His Truth slew the lies masking my vision.

I saw again,

I saw hope

And I found it at the cross of Christ.

It’s almost a year since my 18-year-old cousin died, and almost 9 months since five U of C students were murdered. Both have connections to non-communicable diseases: my cousin had sickle cell, however, he’s death was as a result of the implications of the disease not because of the disease itself. On the other hand, a victim of a mental health disorder murdered Zackariah Rathwell, Josh Hunter, Jordan Segura, Lawrence Hong, and Kaiti Perras.

The effect of this news was devastating. To recognize the communicable effects of death on psychological well being, the University of Calgary provided students with the option to defer their final exams with the opportunity to write them later in the year. Similarly, students supported each other with hugs and candy care packages. In these actions, we see how aspects of health (mental and social) and a social determinant of health (education) is affected and addressed. Non-communicable diseases might be silent, and may not require the immediate need for medication or quarantine, but they are just as detrimental. For this reason, we should analyze and execute action at all levels of influence. This includes: society/public policy, community, organization, interpersonal, and the individual. As an individual it is our responsibility to make use of the services designed to improve our health. By so doing, we also inform the delivery of service to ensure that our population health is less vulnerable to non-communicable diseases.

Jadesola is an alumna of the University of Calgary's Bachelor of Health Sciences program.

She is interested in improving the socioeconomic status of low-middle income individuals by addressing the social determinants of health. Her previous work includes the development of health interventions tailored to the needs of women of ethnic miniorities.

If you would like to support Engage Africa Foundation's mission, click here


Our mission is to create narratives and inspire action that can put health and wellbeing at the center of Africa's development.

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