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Bitter or Better?

Losing a parent is never easy. It is perhaps one of the most heart breaking feelings in the world. But watching your parent slip away right before you is even worse, it’s a feeling that can never be penned down to paper. It’s a feeling beyond compare, one that leaves you helpless and bare.

I dream of my dad often, we exchange hugs and kisses and I tell him that I love him and he assures me that he knows. This Christmas I’m going to miss decorating the house with him using bells and bows.

16th December 2016 was the day that changed my life. For better or for worse only the future will tell, for when you lose your dad at 21, nothing ever seems well. He’s been gone for some time now and I know I’ll never see him again. But as difficult as it maybe for me to come to terms with reality losing my dad has taught me lessons that I will adhere to for a lifetime to come.

It taught me that death is inevitable. You can do everything within your power to save the one you love but you cannot stop the bad things from happening, no matter what you think, do or say, what is destined to happen will happen anyway.

It taught me about grief. I never knew something could make me cry so much. I never imagined something could hurt this much. My mind wanders off to a memory of him in between a class lecture, a walk down the hallway, in the middle of a meal , a cab ride to college and every day of my life. Every instant, thought, and flashback stains my eyes with tears and wrenches my heart with emotions of intensity unstoppable. I no longer run away from my emotions, my emotions are mine and mine alone and this grief I will face, and I have learned to counter my set back with a new found grace.

Most importantly I have learned how to let go. When you lose a parent you lose one of the strongest pillars of your very foundation. It’s a loss you never recover. I no longer hold on to people, places, relations or situations. Those who are meant to leave will go, those who are meant to stay, you’ll know.

I learned not to take anyone for granted. Not that I ever did. But the realization that you can lose anyone at a tick of a second will make you hold onto the people you love with a tight sort of desperation for you learn that loss of a loved one cannot be replaced with temporary love, affection and consolation.

Loss taught me how to embrace my emotions and feelings fearlessly. As my dad lay shivering that night something within me told me to hold onto him tight, but I did not. And perhaps this regret will weigh my heart down in all my days yet to come. So I now face the world with my heart on my sleeve. I’m no longer afraid to love, no longer afraid to feel. I love fiercely, give relentlessly and wait patiently. So do not be afraid to show how you feel, in a world of hidden emotions, be real.

I learned to appreciate the little things in life. We often undermine the importance of a smile, an apology, and even a mere thank you. But it is these small gestures that make big differences. So go ahead, walk that extra mile, appreciate people, give someone a reason to smile.

I’ve learned to hold his advice close to my heart. There are two things that my dad repeatedly told me. Firstly, to never chase after people and worldly pleasures and secondly, that it is your attitude towards life that always matters, not your qualifications. It is the mid of 2017, 8 months since he’s been gone, I’m in the middle of my Masters course and I have lost people I used to chase after. Looking back now his advice does seem to make sense cause none of them anymore do matter.

Lastly and most importantly I learnt about strength. I never realized the depth that my strength could go into until the night he died. Strength is about waking up at dawn when all you see is dusk. Strength is about smiling at your little brother when all you want to do is sit on the bathroom floor and weep. Strength is about acceptance. It’s about making peace with your perturbed mind and disturbed heart and accepting that your past could have been no different.

Yes I miss my Dad. My stomach sinks, my chests twists with unfathomable pain and my head spins in anxiety each time the realisation dawns that I’m never going to see him again, hear him call my name or make me breakfast in the morning.

As he left, he left within me a void that no one will ever be able to fill. But we all have a choice. Even on our worst days we do. So I choose to fill this void with little chips of courage, sprinkles of strength, dust of happiness and mend it tightly together with strings of hope for a brighter dawn and a calm cast dusk.

We all go through trying situations in life. But we always have a choice and I’ve made mine. So what would you choose today? To be bitter? Or better?

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