Mad House

Visual+Image+portraying+my+life+and+family+during+lockdown.+Photo+credit%3A+Ebube+Okoji

Visual Image portraying my life and family during lockdown. Photo credit: Ebube Okoji

Ebube Okoji, Staff Writer

On March 13, 2020, what started off as a much needed vacation turned into hell. It was the day we were given two weeks off from school due to COVID-19, which seemed like a blessing in disguise, little did I know that it would be the start of how my life would pan out today.

It suddenly went from bad to worse after being woken up from screams and shouts and being told that my uncle, someone who I look up to had passed away. I lost my father 18 months after that, but my uncle was more of a father figure, he was my best friend.

Both my uncle and father were the closest of brothers. They had an amazing relationship. My father was older than my uncle but my uncle had the height advantage. My uncle stood at 6-ft and weighed almost 200-lbs, dark in complexion while my dad stood at 5-ft 5-in, weighed roughly around 165-lbs and was also dark in complexion.

He introduced me to the world of sports and made me fall in love with it. Losing a loved one is never easy, the world seems to stand still when you’re aware of what’s happened. That feeling you have never felt before, of total sadness.

Living through the pandemic and lockdown was hard enough already but what made it worse was I lost both my uncle and father in the span of a year. This broke me and it put me in a state that I still find myself in today. With the passing of my dad, fear overcame me. I’ve limited myself many times and sold myself short because I no longer have the role model I once looked up to.

My entire family are all from Nigeria. I am an only child but surrounded with cousins that I consider my siblings. We are a tough love family, we always have each other’s back no matter what.

With the chaos going on both outside and inside of my home, I couldn’t have asked for a much better way to end my senior year in high school and track and field season by winning a medal in my final race in the 300 meters high hurdles and a week later, receiving my diploma at graduation. These are the moments I will cherish the most.

Applying to college is enough hassle as it already is. The fear of not being accepted into your dream school is terrifying. Although it was a different case for me as I was accepted into eight of nine colleges I applied to, including my dream college San Jose State University. I was boiling with excitement on what college I should choose despite being accepted into the school I dreamt of.

Despite being accepted into my dream, it did not go as planned. My mom didn’t want me moving far away because she believed I was not of age to have that freedom yet. I knew she wasn’t playing around after several attempts failed with me trying to convince her in choosing SJSU over Cerritos ended with “I’m not gonna tell you again, this conversation is over.”

The first day at Cerritos was an unforgettable moment especially for me because I was moving onto a new chapter in my life after graduating from Downey High School. I was nervous and had a bit of fear, I got lost a couple of times before I could actually find my class. I was in a new environment but it didn’t take long for me to settle in and get to work right away.

With the pandemic slowly coming to an end, I think what’s next for me is to keep moving forward just like my uncle taught me. He always taught me to look at what is in front of me rather than what is ahead and cherish the people I have in my life.