Most of us at some points in our lives have somebody who inspires us to work hard and achieve our dreams. Sometimes it’s a successful businessman who ‘started from the bottom now he’s here’ [love that song] or maybe just a warm hearted woman who always makes things better when we’re feeling down. And in some odd cases things can get kind of crossed up [but we won’t talk about those].
In my case, I’ve learned that no matter what life throws at you – giving up should never be an option, not from a very rich woman or famous at all. But just a real good friend who I’ve spend the last eight years laughing, crying, gossiping and arguing with. Her name is Cynthia Bosafola.
She has taught me that we can’t control the spontaneous things life throws at us but we’ve a choice on whether we move on and appreciate what we had or just feel sorry for ourselves for a very long time.
I am not going to go too deep into her life story, the purpose of this post is not to praise her for her existence, but to show you that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
The first few years of secondary school, we didn’t talk to each other, Cynthia knew me as the girl with the ‘ravishing long hair’ and I knew her as the loud mouth [I could hear her laugh from the other side of the playground]. Things haven’t changed much since, my hair is just not as long as it used to be.
To cut the story short, in year 10, we somehow managed create a life-lasting friendship [our first conversation only happened because we both liked the same guy].
We did all the things two best friends can ever do, sleep overs, talked on the phone for hours, made up nicknames for guys, so whoever we fancied didn’t know we were talking about them [Bob was always handy, we were never too creative]. We even made up nicknames for each other but I will not share those [simply too embarrassing]. We always annoyed each other, the word sorry didn’t really exist in both of our dictionaries at the time.
I soon discovered that Cynthia lived with her mum, her dad had died when she was very young, she hadn’t seen her family back in Africa since she moved to the UK [she was fours years old] and dreamt of becoming a TV presenter.
We both had strict parents, so it’s no surprise that we spend a lot of our time complaining about how life isn’t fair because we had to be home by 8pm [all the other girls were out until 10pm]. I was more scared of her mum than my own parents – you just don’t ever want to see an African mum angry.
Life was great – we had nothing much to worry about, our main priority was to have fun. As a young adult, you never really expect the unexpected and when they do happen you’re not prepared.
During the first week of A-Levels, Cynthia’s mum fell in hospital, she was ill. I had no idea what was going on, the doctors kept saying everything will be fine. I asked Cynthia to tell me what was wrong with her, she never opened up – she had made a promise to her mum to keep everything a secret. I didn’t think it was anything major.
Until one night, while I was babysitting I get a phone call from Cynthia, she was crying down the phone, she couldn’t speak. The nurse took the phone, I could still hear Cynthia screaming in the background. By this point, I knew what was coming next but I was just wishing I got it all wrong.
I remember the exact words the nurse said, ‘is this Cynthia’s friend?’ [I couldn’t give a straight reply] ‘you may want to come and see her because her mum has just passed away’.
That night I found out that her mum had been suffering from breast cancer for years. She kept it secret from Cynthia for a while until she eventually found out by accident [Cynthia read a letter from her doctor]. Her mum made her promise never to tell anyone because she didn’t want to worry her three kids back in Africa, she hadn’t seen them in 13 years. Cynthia did exactly that. Never did she speak about what she was going through at home to anyone, not even me.We all were extremely worried for Cynthia, every time we put ourselves in her shoes our heart shattered into pieces. We didn’t know what was going to happen next. We stayed by her side but nothing we did or said changed the situation.
In less than two weeks, Cynthia returned back to college, working harder than ever before. I was always impressed at how well she was handling everything. Until recently, not once did I have the courage to ask her how she managed to keep going. If it was me, I am sure I would’ve created the idea that the world is against me.
But she didn’t, she finished her A-levels with outstanding grades, graduated with a Drama and English degree and is now working for the BBC as a Production Assistant.
But this is not what I am basing my inspiration on, success is not measured by the position you’ve reached in life but by the obstacles which you have overcome.
Anyone who knows Cynthia, knows that she’s bubbly and always has something to smile about [you hear her laugh miles away]. She never sees the negative side of things and is always by your side whenever you need her.
And today, for the first time in five years, I asked her what kept her going after everything. She gave me a short and meaningful reply, ‘because of what mum used to say to me. I believe there’s a God and he has always looked after me and my mum. Everything happens for a reason. Death isn’t a choice. I decided to live in the best possible way.’