I made a conscious choice to embrace a life of misery, believing it would shield me from the devastating blows of emotional pain.
Despite my pessimistic nature, I soon realised that no amount of preparation could truly prepare me for the onslaught of bad news.
Throughout our existence, the cycle of life guarantees both sorrowful farewells and joyous welcomes.
As one soul embarks on a journey into this world, another soul gracefully departs from it.
The true realisation of life’s fragility strikes when it hits close to home. Previously, it seemed as though such events only occurred to others.
As a five-year-old, I have a vivid memory of a time when I genuinely believed I was on the brink of death.
One sleepless night, I tearfully confided in my Father, explaining that my hands being white on one side was a sign of my impending demise.
In response, he chuckled warmly and reassured me that this uniqueness was simply a part of who I was meant to be.
As the years went by, I grew fearless, even in the face of adversity.
It was during my 19th year when I found myself confined to a hospital bed, battling an excruciating abscess on my tonsils, dehydrated, that I had a taste of my impending doom.
The pain was unbearable, rendering me unable to swallow and causing distressing breathing difficulties, as well as reducing my weight from 7 stone to 6 stone. A remarkable transformation occurred.
In moments of such intense agony, one tends to surrender to their circumstances.
It is as if the concept of death becomes strangely inviting, as some would say.
The thought of losing a loved one fills me with immense fear, and I suppose it’s natural for me to feel a personal impact as well.
It’s not that I want to make it solely about myself, but rather that I would grieve their absence and feel a sense of sorrow within me.
I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to have sympathy for both the person we lose and ourselves if we don’t let our own emotions overshadow the pain of others.
In the year 2014, my heart sank into a deep panic as my beloved Father’s health deteriorated gravely in Dominica.
The realisation that he was on the brink of death consumed me, intensified by the daunting knowledge that his upcoming operation carried immense risks.
As fate would have it, he returned to London, seeking a diagnosis for the relentless battle he was facing with stage 4 cancer.
Every passing moment became a precious lifeline, and I clung to each one with unwavering determination, desperately cherishing the time we had left together.
From the moment he fell ill in the fateful April of that haunting year, I sensed the onset of my sorrow.
And when he ultimately succumbed in February 2017, I found myself utterly lost, unsure of how to navigate the depths of my grief.
The initial phase for me was a profound sense of detachment, an inability to come to terms with the harsh reality that he had truly departed from this world.
As my mother and I went to officially record his passing, I found myself mentally absent, unable to fully engage in the solemn task at hand.
Even when my aunt arrived to lend a hand with organising the funeral arrangements, I struggled to connect with the situation unfolding before me.
The moments leading up to the funeral raced past me in a hazy whirlwind, leaving me with an overwhelming sense of impending doom.
As the day dawned, I carefully dressed myself in my new suit, unaware of the impending reality that awaited me.
It wasn’t until the hearse pulled up outside the church that the weight of the situation truly sank in.
The casket appeared incredibly undersized for a man of such a tall, slender build.
It was almost inconceivable to fathom his presence confined within it.
However, the piercing wails emanating from another aunt shattered any illusions, grounding me firmly in the harsh reality of the moment.
As I sit here on the train, tears well up in my eyes as I recall the haunting memory of that day.
It was a solemn journey, driving towards the cemetery, and my gaze remained transfixed on the car in front, carrying a coffin.
Observing the profound reverence bestowed upon my Father’s coffin by the undertakers left an indelible impression on me.
As we entered the church and caught sight of his coffin, the overwhelming anguish compelled us to shield ourselves from the heart-wrenching sight by drawing the curtains.
The length of the service seemed perfectly balanced, neither too brief nor excessively prolonged.
However, as we departed from the solemn gathering, a whirlwind of emotions engulfed me, leaving me uncertain about the depths of my own broken soul.
This beautiful man embodied everything I held dear—my universe, my champion, my reason for living—and now he was forever out of my reach.
The concept was incomprehensible, and my mind struggled to accept it.
Even now, the weight of grief remains heavy on my heart.
However, I have found solace in channelling my internal pain into a legacy of writing essays on the balance in everything.
In addition, I have become an integral part of NELCA, trying to make a difference with patients getting early diagnostics and raising cancer awareness within the communities in Northeast London.
Throughout my life, I have encountered individuals who possess a complete lack of compassion, perceiving their own loved ones as nothing more than burdens.
Amid someone’s suffering, instead of offering empathy, they callously dismiss it as a mere part of life, insisting that the person must simply move forward.
These thoughtless and self-centred words are particularly hurtful, especially when emotions are still raw.
When it came to my Dad, he had a remarkable ability to leave a lasting impact on the lives of everyone fortunate enough to cross his path.
It is a true rarity to come across someone who genuinely cares about life, as most individuals tend to be solely focused on themselves.
Eternally, I shall hold dear the memory of my Dearest Father, and I am channelling the ache within me towards a purposeful path.
Through the strokes of my pen and the lines on my canvas, I shall immortalise his essence.
Gratitude shall flow from my heart as I offer my sincerest thanks to the divine for the gift of his life.
THE BIRD 🐦 (BIRDIE)
My Father’s pet name for me.