MGBEMENA firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-09-14 published
Desola Juliana ONUOHA
By Gloria CHUKWU and Chinwe MGBEMENA, Wednesday, September 14, 2005, Page A22
Wife, mother, friend, registered nurse. Born July 25, 1972, in Nigeria. Died May 23 in Brampton, Ontario, of colon cancer, aged Desola was a very vibrant person whose personality and beauty charmed everyone who came in contact with her in her short life.
Desola was born and raised in Nigeria, where she obtained the equivalent of a bachelors degree in science laboratory technology. During her graduate internship, she met and married her best friend Obioma ONUOHA in 1999. They had a daughter, Kechinyere.
Desola's family emigrated to Canada in May, 2001, whereupon she faced the reality of being a new immigrant and the need to update her education with a Canadian education. She quickly enrolled at the school of nursing at Humber College. It was in November, 2001, while in nursing school and pregnant with her second child, that the colon cancer was diagnosed. The disease led to the death of her unborn child in 2002 and ultimately claimed her own life in 2005.
I met Desola through my friend Chinwe less than two months after Desola's arrival in Canada. It was during Chinwe's son's christening and, at the end of the day, it felt like I had known Desola for ages.
She was charming, witty and down-to-earth. She had a positive attitude toward life and never believed that anything was impossible. Her courage and attitude carried her through her nursing program even after her diagnosis.
Desola had the option to quit the program and concentrate on her treatment, but she chose to do both. Her diagnosis did not dampen her spirit and, even with series of chemotherapy and surgeries, she continued with her nursing program and graduated with honours in May, 2003, an accomplishment that has not ceased to amaze many people.
Desola loved people and loved company. She had a passion for cooking and entertaining. Anyone who knew her would not pass up an opportunity to visit with her since it always meant good food and positive conversation. During the vigil night kept in her honour, some people declined to eat. A friend of hers remarked that Desola would be upset that people did not eat at her house, which was very true of Desola. Needless to say, that the remark brought back memories and energized the room even amidst the grief.
At the vigil night, several people testified to how she positively affected their lives. One of these testimonies truly summed her up: "Desola had a forgiving soul and was always ready to make excuses for other people's inadequacies." She did not like to talk about the wrongdoings of others and would divert conversations away from any opportunity of doing that. Her belief was that people's behaviours are influenced by what they go through and so it is unfair to judge a person by one single action.
She was full of love and held her marriage as sacred.
She taught us a lot of things, especially to face whatever comes our way with strength and courage. Throughout the four years of fighting cancer, Desola held onto God, fervently praying and never losing her faith.
She continued to show strength and be a source of courage to her Friends. Even during her last days in the hospital, Desola comforted Friends who visited her, instead of them comforting her.
Desola's life confirms that life is not measured by how long we live but by our productivity. Desola was very hardworking and positively touched a lot of lives. As her funeral brochure stated: "Far and near, up and down, her beautiful face we will never see again, but the footprints she left in the hearts of her loved ones will forever be there."
Gloria and Chinwe are Desola's Friends.
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