I have watched loved ones turn into corpses, and, I somehow managed to survive. Being alive means I get to watch an amazing little girl grow up, but each and everyday, I daydream of what life would be like if Anisha’s mother and grandparents were still with us. I try to look on the positive—I am the ONE who gets to raise an amazing little girl! I get to feel her hand on my face in the morning, “Dada, wake up! I’m hungry.” I get to hear her say, “Daddy, look at my new dance move!” or “Daddy I wish I could hug you forever and never, ever let go!” I try hard to remind myself of the precious joys of watching a girl who is a blend of my wife and I mature. I try, yet I still feel this never ending abyss of pain, fear and anger.
What if I can’t raise a daughter on my own? What if Anisha would have been better off if I was the one who died and not her mother? What if I cannot financially afford everything that I want for her!? These thoughts are not constant, but they lurk behind my glimmers of happiness waiting to retake center stage. I know that dark thoughts are not surprising since I have seen so much death in the past several years. Nevertheless, I still hate all of the negativity! All the thoughts that are irrational, based on fear are so, so limiting and self-defeating. I find myself stumbling around in the anxiety and the darkness, desperately trying to find some order, some refuge, some peace. Yet, I know grief is a process and I will continue to feel this way from time to time, but at least I understand fear much better.
One of my greatest realizations in this grief is that fear is just an idea, it is not real. Fear is just a thought that does not exist in the real world unless I let it. I wish I could discuss fear with anyone at anytime, but, we all know that is impossible. Fear makes people fear fear. Fear can snowball as we all focus on it. Sometimes, fear can subside through discussion, but people have to be willing to take a risk; the risk of feeling every ounce of our internal fears.
I firmly believe most people are afraid to talk about death because they fear the unknown. They would rather focus on safe, clearly defined topics like sports. “Did you see that hit on Pedersen in that game? That is not hockey, we don’t need that in the game!” Sometimes, I feel this pressure inside of me that needs to be released. I need to talk about death openly and honestly whenever and wherever I want. Or, at least I need to have the option of talking about death if I desire to do so. I hate feeling as though I have to walk on eggshells because others cannot handle a deep, meaningful conversation! Talking about sports requires no real examination of the human condition which makes for easy conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about sports too, but I also like being able to talk about death. It is not my job to bow down to the fears and discomforts of other people—especially if that person is not my boss or co-workers. People whose opinions carry weight are worth catering to emotionally. My boss and coworkers’ need for casual conversation is understandable and I have no problem responding accordingly. However, I don’t care about the rest of society; I am the person who talks about disturbing, serious stuff without letting such discussions ruin my mood.
Bowing down to people with low self-esteem is just so, so tiring even though I know we are all just trying to do our best to get through life. Also, my lack of patience with these people is rather condescending, “I have it all figured out, why don’t you?” Perhaps, I get tired of them because they remind me of Old Bobby. I can’t help it, it’s annoying when people can’t be honest and direct with you. All they have to say is, I don’t agree with you, or, can we talk about something else, or even, I don’t want to talk to you anymore.” I would be perfectly okay with any of that, but the problem is that it takes too much confidence for these people to be assertive with a stranger, or casual acquaintance. They would rather talk behind my back and tell their friends that I am the rude one, and then they can feel superior and say, “look at the bad man, he is rude, but not us, we are the good guys!” It’s easy to feel good about yourself by looking down on others as social media makes clear everyday.