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In I Almost Died, Ena shares tales of hope


Indeed, times are hard, tough and more difficult than it used to be. Consequently, suicide is on the rise in Nigeria, as citizens are taking to this criminal act as solace. This sudden upsurge, no doubt, is not only alarming, but also disturbing and surprising, especially in a country that was ranked second on the continent in World Happiness Report for 2016.

Most shocking is that the younger generation and very many people being looked up to as ‘fulfilled and without worries’ are not excluded from this worrying trend that claimed over 80 lives in the early 2018.

Emonena Abenabe, in her book, I Almost Died, insists that suicide is not in anyway a solution. In the book, she mirrors her challenges, as well as her ordeals, while romancing with hope. Ena, as she is fondly called, a 26-year-old law graduate from the Igbinedion University, Okada, takes her reader through these challenges.

The 149-page, 14 chapter book is a collection of short stories about 13 survivors from various parts of the world willing to share their progress and achievements: how they are attacked and how they deal with their attacks in different ways. It is an inspirational book that portrays strength, courage and relentlessness.

The lady, who is the fifth child of a polygamous father and her mother’s only daughter, reveals that her father died of suspected food poisoning in 2009 while her mother followed years later after bout with renal failure.

In July, 2015, after completing the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), she develops anaemia and DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), which consequently results in Ischemic stroke — an ailment she claims to have survived three years after (While anaemia is a condition in which there is deficiency of red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood resulting in pallor or weariness, DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body this usually causes leg pains or swelling).

Despite the agonising narrative, the writer appears so untouched by her experiences and challenges. She uses her experience to inspire, mentor and lighten the roads for people who may be in similar situations of pains or anxiety.

Using her life as a mirror that shows the light at the end of every tunnel, she advises: “If you are feeling pain, depressed or suicidal, I understand your pain because I have felt pain both emotionally and physically. I fought depression and suicidal thoughts by hearing the word of God, reading and watching inspirational and motivational messages. They helped me understand that this life is too short to be sad and depressed. Love yourself no matter what you are going through.”

Ena describes the book as ”a compilation of stories of her and other survivors who beat death and have the zeal to live and enjoy life, those who had every reason to give up but chose to hold on to that tiny ray of hope. Survivors who chose to live on, regardless of what life brings their way. A tale of those who held on, even when they had no reason to, who fought rejection, stigmatisation and hopelessness with bare hands and came out victorious.”

The Delta State-born writer said: “After my dad died in 2009, my mother who is the real inspiration for writing this book, couldn’t pay my fees in the university, hence she committed me into the hands of my uncle until I graduated from the Law School in 2013. I struggled through Law School financially, sometimes; my friend bought food or gave me money for textbooks. I had my natural hair on, because I could not afford hair relaxer nor the cheapest weave-on. Despite all my struggles, when results emerged from my Law School, I failed a course, Civil Litigation and was not called to be called to bar in 2013.”

Deji Olunlade, a partner in Rosenut Solicitor, said, “Ena did not only recover from debilitating illness, the recovery process re-energised her, enabled her to refocus and through this challenging phase, she remained a source of strength and inspiration to a lot of people. Her survival story and that of other contributors have shown the indomitability of the human spirit and courage to live and hope.“This book is one that you will never want to drop. It is masterfully and beautifully written, full of good counsel with serious life-changing applications, and it is indeed a blessing to read. It has opened my heart to fresh and exciting realities.”

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