Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli

Someday, Maybe

A mere fortnight ago, I was a woman with a husband who filled her world with shiny, pearlescent moments. I am now a woman with blood-stained jeans and hollow eyes, one who screams at her sister and frightens her mother and cries so hard it makes her choke. A woman being garroted by grief.

I didn’t just read this book; I experienced it. I experienced it in ways so grand and raw. Grief was given a name, a face, and a form.

This book is intense. It’s so intense it makes me break at every comma and full stop to breathe. It makes me take compulsory breaks in the middle of sentences to sit with the words. How deep, how touching, how sorrowful they are. It doesn’t make me want to pull myself out of my grief; it makes me want to sit in it, get to know it, and confront the truth about grief.

  1. Grief makes you feel special.
  2. Grief gives no warning. It doesn’t alert you on how it will attack you. It just comes and makes a home in your chest, head, and entire body.
  3. It makes people pity you, and the pity may eventually metamorphose into an annoyance for not getting over it quickly.
  4. You would need to confront it alone.
  5. There are no answers to grief, just the leaving and the dying.
  6. Death makes it impossible for you to demand a list of reasons for the demise of your relationship.
  7. Grief torches your capacity for both sympathy and empathy


Eve, a once happy woman with a partner who adores her, wakes up one day and finds him dead in his studio. Death by suicide, leaving no note, no goodbyes, no clue. Eve is left alone to face the reality of her husband’s death.

Someday, maybe it will be a journey about grieving.

I have read people say that Eve was grieving too much, and I am curious to know what exactly it means to be grieving too much. I actually think that throughout the book, Eve wasn’t grieving. Rather, she was in shock, reacting to the shock of Q’s death, in disbelief, and looking for answers. And shock is part of the grieving process.

I felt for Eve, I was grieving with her, and if I were Eve, I would do worse.


I’m thinking about Q- he seemed to have a happy life. He was happy, or so we thought. Nobody saw it coming, and I could never have guessed that he was unhappy, that his life was overwhelming.

Maybe it wasn’t.

It makes me question if taking your life means you were going through something. What if you were happy and good and felt fulfilled and wanted this to be the end for you?

Maybe that’s what it was with Q. I don’t know, and we all will never find out.

Ironically it was Jackson, his childhood friend, who was dancing with death, always risked his life in the name of recreation, but death didn’t visit him. Rather, it was his friend Quentin who was bold enough to kill himself.

It feels like cheating, like life wasn’t fair to Eve (reminds me of Cory Taylor’s memoir, Dying).

Gloria is a keeper. She depicts the burden of being a firstborn child in an African home. She was a child, but she was caring for her siblings, mothering them, and even as adults, she mothered them.

Aspen is the most annoying person for me in this book. She was so mean in the way she treated Eve. It was as though Q’s death was a way to punish Eve for marrying her son.

Perhaps, that’s how she could grieve. Perhaps, she wanted someone to blame for her son’s death, and Eve seemed to be the ideal candidate for that. I’m glad Eve handled her aptly in the end.

My thoughts

This book highlights in beautiful ways the communal African family, who are there for you even when you think they hate you; who would silently clean up after you and ensure your laundry is done and you have hot food to eat while you grieve- all despite their imperfections.

Nwabineli writes about the language too, and how the translation of our languages to English does not do justice to the words and takes away the feels and feelings of the words, the humanity; how translations are often bland, raw, and devoid of the closeness and empathy it is determined to give. Like ndo in Igbo. Like kafra in Twi. Sorry doesn’t do it for a translation.

“Ndo,” she says over and over. Sorry is a poor translation; it does not do the word justice. I am feeling with you is closer and far more meaningful.”

This book is easily a 5-star because it’s so seamless, and the language is simple and good. You would need to read it to experience it.

And someday, maybe we will find the answers we all seek…

Nasiba Mbabe Bawa

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