Be Still My Heart

The story of how I got my heart broken.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

She came from nowhere…

It was a day like most of my days, but this one changed me and my life in the worst way.

I woke up one morning in February 2013 and had a new Facebook friend request, which wasn’t unusual back then. This was a referral from another friend that I know very well, and she told me that; “I think you and her will find good things to do together”! Of course, that piqued my interest, and I went looking at the woman profile and saw that she was running an NGO. Something I also had been doing for three years then (More about that in a later article!). So said and done, I let her be my friend on Facebook.

Just a couple of days later we started to chat. She was an educated woman from Nigeria who worked as a teacher. She had 3 children, and lived centrally in a town, and had a nanny. She was 15 years younger than me, so I had no intention to fall in love with her.

The days went on with chats on Facebook Messenger but after a while, I suggested with use WhatsApp instead. So after a couple of weeks, we started sending voice messages instead. And we talked on the phone a couple of times. I still didn’t fall in love with her, but she was a good listener and I enjoyed or conversations.

The Heart Attack

Our conversations started to form into more of a lover’s conversations as the months passed by. And then June came, and it was a Monday. I was on my way to work and suddenly I had excruciating pain in my chest halfway to work. I fell to my knees and thought; “This is it, I’m dying!” After a very long time, I finally got up on my feet (No help was given from bypassing people) and started to stumble back home, outside my house I called 112 (The same as 911 but in Europe) and after about 12 minutes an ambulance picked me up and rushed me to the ER.

In the emergency ward it was (of course) discovered that I had a Heart Attack and was to undergo treatment for that. I had already called work while in the ambulance and I texted my daughter that I was at the hospital with a heart attack.

In the late afternoon after I had my surgery, I messaged her and told her what happened. It didn’t take more than a couple of minutes before she called me, and I felt so blessed to have her in my life. I think it was at that moment I fell head over heels in love with her. As this wasn’t my first rodeo, I recognized my feelings so well. Before I fell asleep that evening, she called me a final time to say good night and told me she loved me. I was in a bit of a conundrum, was I in love with her?

Fell In Love

Back home convalescing the days was filled with resting, sleeping, and of course phone calls from her. By the end of week two after my heart attack, I had decided that as soon my doctors said it was okay for me to go to Nigeria, I would do it. Preliminary travel plans were made and looked up the cost for me to travel to visit with her and her children. I told her that she had to pay for the travel from Lagos to her hometown, and she agreed that it was only fair. So in July, I got the OK from my doctors to go visit with her, and the same day I ordered my tickets. We agreed that I would stay for 3 weeks, and if everything felt good we could get engaged.

August came and by the end of it I traveled down to Nigeria. The whole trip should take about 24 hours with transfers in Addis Abeba and Lagos. For me, who hadn’t traveled that much and had panic attacks sometimes when flying, this wasn’t that easy, but I endured it although I had some episodes during that travel. Anyway, I arrived after an eventful last leg of the travel, where we couldn’t land in the city where she lived due to heavy rains and thunder, but had to go to a nearby city to land. Finally, the moment came when we met for the first time IRL, it was mindblowing and even if I was dead tired I was so ready to meet her.

After a couple of hours on really bad roads we arrived at her home in the city, she had a driver that she hired to drive as it wasn’t easy for a lone woman to drive outside the city. It was in the middle of the night and the had prepared a feast but as I was dead tired I just wanted to sleep. So after tasting a little bit I went to sleep. Waking up with her looking at me, and I asked: “How long have you been up looking at me?” She told me about an hour. She also told me she had cleaned the clothes I had worn traveling. I was really in awe of her now.

Meeting the children went very well, I had presents for them and they were appreciative of them. Later the first day we went into town for a little sightseeing and shopping. I also followed her to her hairdresser. Back home we had dinner and fruits. and we played with the children and it was all so joyous.

Day two after breakfast we went to the Muslim parts of the city as they had the best gold, and yes we had decided to get engaged…. but not only that, we had decided to get married.

The wedding

As it happened I had gotten to know a man while traveling the last leg, he was a very sympathetic and Christian man that I felt a strong connection to. He revealed when we had landed that he was the governor’s brother and chief of security and gave me his business card and his private cell number. And said to me; “If you need anything, just call me and I help you whatever it is!” So I called him and asked him to be my best man, and he said yes immediately.

The wedding was a community marriage in the local community house. When we arrive my friend and his private security have already arrived and secured the premises. My wife to be’s friends and family was almost in shock when the saw who was my best man. I mean an unknown Swedish guy has that governor’s brother as the best man? The ceremony was longer than I had thought and there was a lot of paperwork to fill out. But it all turned out for the best, and after the ceremony, everyone came to celebrate at her apartment, except my friend that had official business to take care of.

Malaria

Three days after our marriage I started to feel sick, my joints and neck were stiff and I started to run a fever. She called her doctor who came to the house and checked me up and yes, it was malaria. I called my emergency service in Scandinavia and told them the situation, and then they talked with the doctor. The doctor gave me an injection and Morphine to ease my pain, the latter made me sick to my stomach and the dose was heavy so I was mostly sleeping during the following days. The doctor came three times a day to check me up and had constant contact with my emergency service, that had an ambulance plane standby in a nearby city if I got worse. After the three days passed, I was feeling much better and could get up and have breakfast and keep it for the first time in days. It was only 3 days before I was going to travel back home.

The day when I was going to start travel back home came, and we had armed escort courtesy of my friend, as he said it was as much for me as for him. Arriving in Lagos I was topped by a controller from Ethiopian Air as I looked pale…. I had to have a checkup with a doctor before I was cleared to fly back home.

Back home and plans for the future

Arriving back home the process to get ‘my family’ back to Sweden to live with me started. She started on her end by applying online, and I started in my end with contacts with immigrations, checking up schools and preschools for the children. Planning on how to reorganize my apartment so five people could live there. Looking into getting a larger apartment and so on.

Beginning the next year I realized I didn’t have enough money to pay for everything, so I got a large loan that would cover all the costs.

During the next year followed Intervjues, submitting chatlogs, and how many phone calls we had between us. For me, I planned out how we should all fit in my 2 room kitchen apartment and I got it too work well, at least in my own opinion.

The summer came and I had to undergo another surgery, I got fitted with a Pacemaker due to both long periods between heartbeats during sleep as well to slow heart pulse.

So come late August and it was finally approved for her and the children to come and live with me in Sweden!

The arrival….. and the disaster

By the end of October, the travel dates were set and they would arrive in Sweden. I couldn’t be more excited and proud to finally have my family with me. And honestly, the first week having them with me could have been one of the best weeks of my life.

Then the first signs that not everything was alright started to show. She had built a network of ex-pat Africans who were her advisers. As soon as I told her something about how things worked in Sweden, she immediately said; “No, that’s not true my friend xx told me so and so”. And she could disappear in the evenings to be “at rehearsals with the choir”, or any other excuse. She also started to keep me awake at night by watching Nigerian sermons on her iPad with a loud volume.

Then started the psychological abuse and namecalling. This was not the woman I had fallen in love with, but I tried to let it pass. But the real bottom came one Sunday when the namecalling and so on drove me to the point I thought I had a heart attack again. I was transported again by ambulance to the heart ER, but luckily it was ‘just’ a panic attack. The day after I was released from the hospital by a heart surgeon that said to me as she had heard my story, that a broken heart is a real thing, and that I should be careful with myself.

A week after this happened one of my workmates came into my office and said; “Anders, you can’t have it like this. We all see how you’re suffering an that you lost a lot of weight (I had lost 14 kg’s in two months), So I said I will do something right away. I went to see my doctor and got 6 weeks of sick leave right away. Then next step, I went home and sat down with her and told her that I wanted her and her children to find a new place to live. I gave her the phone number to the social authorities and money for them to last over Christmas. Her answer, she throws the money in my face and spits in my face.

So while she was namecalling me and cursing me, I started packing some clothes and things that would last me at least two weeks. She continued to degrade and namecall me. but I was numb now. So, when I had packed I just said to her: You have until the new year to find somewhere else to live. And then

I LEFT MY HOME with her and her kids. There was no other solution, and to this day I couldn’t understand how I had the courage to do so.

So I stayed at a friend’s place up north in Sweden, she called a couple of times but I didn’t answer. Then she sent me long and first sweet texts, but when I didn’t answer the texts got more and more threatening. A week and a couple of more days passed, and Christmas was near. Then I remembered I have a Withings scale that also a CO2 sensor. So I went into my app and checked the ratings, and could see that the past 5 days that the CO2 level had been very low. so I decided to go back home, with a heavy pounding heart I opened my apartment door. Nobody was home, the apartment was dirty and the trash had not been taken out the time I had been away. I called the landlord and had them change the lock on my door. I planned to stay in my apartment for the night, that evening I almost ended my life. But luckily I didn’t.

On Christmas eve I returned to my friend, and on the way there I got a call from her. So I answered, and she screamed that she couldn’t get into the apartment. And I told her that I had changed the lock, and she could book a date and time when she could come and pick up her things. She, of course, started with the namecalling but I hang up the phone. I sent her a text and told her again that she should book a time to pick up her things, after New year I told her. So I celebrated Christmas with my friend and his family (I’m so grateful that you could help me Eric!), new years I spent with my friends in Norrköping. While there she texted me that she would come and pick up her stuff on the 2nd of January. So on the 2nd, I took all her stuff, she had already packed it and had it outside my door. I didn’t want her to get inside my apartment again.

Aftermath

I’m still suffering from the abuse she inflicted on me, my panic attacks are still bad. And I have nightmares that she strangles me in my sleep, not that she would have done it but….

She managed to get a permanent visa to stay in Sweden, how she did tḧat eludes me to this day. The visa she and her children came to Sweden on was in connection with me, so I didn't know.

She broke my heart

She broke my heart, and I told myself I wouldn’t let myself feel that again. And yes she broke my heart, I had to rush to the hospital with an ambulance and was taken into the heart emergency room. My heart was pulsing so hard I thought it would pop out of my chest, but luckily it didn’t. So I protected my heart, from heartache again. I did it so well that when I finally understood that I had fallen in love again, it was too late as the woman I had fallen in love with, was gone.

Final words

I know some of you are saying; “He’s got only himself to blame!” and while I give right in that, I can only say that she fooled one of my sisters, and two of my best friends too.

It’s now six years since she and her children arrived in Sweden, and my broken heart is mostly mended. But the betrayal is still hurting, how she could go from loving and caring to be a cold-hearted bitch is still an enigma for me.

One thing that came out of all this was my travel to Africa, meeting the people there, and seeing the cultural places. I will treasure and remember as long as I live.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store