Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has had a pretty rough year. In April, she announced the loss of an aunt to brain aneurysm in a post on Facebook in which she expressed the paranoia she feels in the midst of a pandemic.

In June, her father, pioneering Nigerian Professor of Statistics James Nwoye Adichie, passed on.

In a deeply moving, personal statement on the tragic loss or her father, Chimamanda hinted at suffering concussion, a form of head injury.

In a new essay for The Washington Post, Adichie details the incident. She said she slipped and fell while playing with her daughter. As her husband drove her to the hospital, she couldn’t remember key details of the fall. She eventually regained her memory of the incidents, but the experience was deeply unsettling. She also details her experience in the emergency room and comments on the negative effects of the pandemic on the services of healthcare providers.

The essay is a must-read for how beautifully it is written and how much it shows of Adichie’s world as the parent of a 4-year old.

Read an excerpt below:

“My daughter and I were playing tag, or a kind of tag. Before that, we traced the letter P and we danced to James Brown’s “I feel good,” a song she selected from the iPod. We laughed as we danced, she with a natural rhythm striking for a 4-year-old, and I with my irretrievable gracelessness. Next on our plan was “Sesame Street.” It was about 2 p.m. on May 28. A day complacent with the promise of no surprises, like all the other days of the lockdown, shrunken days with shriveled routines. “When coronavirus is over,” my daughter often said, words filled with yearning for her preschool, her friends, her swimming lessons. And I, amid snatches of joy and discovery, often felt bored, and then guilty for feeling boredom, in this expanded boundless role of parent-playmate.

My daughter picked up a green balloon pump, squirted the air at me, and ran off, around the kitchen counter. When I caught her, squealing, it was her turn to chase me. I was wearing white slippers, from some hotel somewhere, back when international travel was normal. They felt soft and thin-soled. I recall all these clearly, because of all the things I will be unable to recall later. I turned away from the kitchen to make the chase longer and something happened. I slipped or I tripped or my destiny thinned and I fell and hit my head on the hardwood floor.

At the beginning of the stay-at-home order, plagued by amorphous anxieties, I taught my daughter how to call my doctor husband at work. Just in case. My daughter says that after I fell I told her, “Call Papa.” My husband says I spoke coherently. I told him that I fell and that the pain in my head was “excruciating,” and when I said “excruciating,” I seemed to wince. He says he asked my daughter to get me the ice pack in the freezer and that I said, “Thank you, baby,” when she gave it to me.”

Read the full essay on The Washington Post.

Brittle Paper sends Ms. Adichie lots of love and goodwill.


Photo by Chimamanda Adichie via Instagram | @chimamanda_Adichie