I believe people automatically look down on those who are down and under the weather regarding someone’s loss.
They would rather we pile up all our feelings and then sweep them under the rug because that’s what’s “normal.” But what they don’t realize is that by not giving us space to vent, the pile would just keep growing and growing until, one day, it has an elephantine presence in our lives, and shrouds and destroys everything else in its wake.
I lost my father, the best man I have ever known, two and a half years ago. I had just turned 19 when the unthinkable happened. I was devastated, because never in my wildest imaginations did I believe he would die.
I am still crushed by the realization that he is not around anymore, that he will not just happen to show up on my doorstep one day and take me out. It is a feeling like no other, and the thought of it knocks the air out of me every damn time.
He will never climb our stairs again. He will never use his bed again. He will never walk through our home again. I knew all too well who I had lost, but I didn’t realize the consequences and the changes about to take place.
My mother cried, my brother cried, but I couldn’t.
I felt I should be strong for them and be their rock, so I bottled up my tears and kept them for later. I kept them for when I’d be out of sight.
I wanted everything to remain as was — his clothes in the right drawers, his photos on the same spot on the mantlepiece and his mug on the table. I stared at the kitchen table and imagined him pulling up the chair and sitting down on it, the chair creaking underneath him. I wished, how I wished, for it to be real. How I wished he would come back one more time…just once more. I would just hold him and cry until I couldn’t anymore.
I get sudden bouts of realization where I truly believe that he is, in reality, six feet under. He is not who I smell around. I’m failing to remember what he sounded like, or how he said certain words.
It’s the understanding of the permanence of the loss that cuts me deep every time.
It makes me wish a lot of things, but mostly that life hadn’t played out this way. In the moments when I escape these thoughts, I try to remember how my dad was when he was well and alive, happy and healthy. Those are the memories I want to live with and I will cling on to for the rest of my life.
There are people who will not care for you moping around and will tell you that death is natural. Of course, it is, but that does not make it any less painful.
Any death feels like pulling off a wax strip: the hurt does pass, but the effects remain, for the rest of our lives. For those who haven’t experienced the devastating pain of losing someone close, I am jealous. But at some point everyone will have to go through the same excruciating hurt and it will never ever be easy. For anyone.
I was lost for a while, after my dad left me. So I turned to the one thing he ensured became a habit of mine: reading. I delved into books and I found myself thriving on the lives of others. The books I read made me weep, made me bawl my eyes out, as I found sadness and him in everything. I continuously read as a way to cope with my new normal. I started writing too. I ensured I paid tribute to my father, one way or another, because he might not be a living entity now, but he should still be tangible in some ways — maybe through what I create or do.
My dad is who made me me. I owe my life to him, and I wish I could tell him how much he means to me, and how much I love him.
To this day, my only regret is to have missed the chances to show how much I appreciate him, and how sorry I am for hurting him when I did. I’m not saying I have turned extremely spiritual after he passed away, but I must say, I see the meaning of life now, more than before. I can see myself for who I am and I know how to appreciate the beauty of life, no matter how hard it gets. I find peace in loneliness and happiness within myself. I take each day as it comes and try to live for the present; as you never know how far life will take you anyway.
We are all destined for greatness and then death, but don’t let that deter you. Love who you’re meant to love with all your heart; tell them you appreciate them and be grateful. There is no shame in loving wholeheartedly and there is definitely no shame in grieving over a loved one.
If you feel you must show the world how big of a deal the person was to you, then you have every right. Live not only for yourself, but for the person who has departed, who has left a part of his soul within you. It’s a journey, after all, and you want to reach the end with everyone you love.
Let us know your thoughts below! You can also follow Karima on Twitter here.