grief and loss

Here’s a story that I never forget, of a time long ago witnessed by yours truly.

I was young, unknowing and at that age, completely clueless of the world around me. As someone who was protected by the world, I sought to discover much on my own only to be taught that this world is not always rainbows and sunshine.

Over a decade ago, I was with family. At the shopping mall just minutes from our house by train, we were roaming around and browsing through shops like little tourists on vacation. There was much shopping to be done.

I stood outside a store, waiting for my parents to come out when I see a little girl, much younger than I was, running out a store. She trips and falls flat on her face. She stays there for a few seconds and looks like she’s going to cry.

Her father comes up to her, stands beside her and without bending down or crouching to be at eye level with her, he only extends his hand down to her with two simple words uttered.

Get up.

To me, they’re as simple as they can get.

Without another word, the little girl grabs her father’s hand and together, they walk off hand-in-hand.

A simple lesson was taught to her that day.

When life knocks you down, you get back up.

Simple, but effective.

I was taught to be independent from an extremely young age. I was taught to do things on my own without expecting help from anyone else but what about grief and loss?

What should be done to help me get back up on my feet?

Loss is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone because of the underlying meaning behind it.

Loss means forever.

This April, I loss my father in an accident. He died as quickly as it happened, unknowing to me a week before it did that I would be fatherless.

I grieved for months.

Grief helps us cope with loss but what does coping really mean? Is it means of forgetting or accepting?

I questioned that for a long, long time.

Given my work and occupation as a student, I was given a lot of encouragement and love from colleagues and teachers but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t ready to get back into the field and I wasn’t happy with how things were as opposed to before.

I blamed my unhappiness and failures in the past five months on my father’s death. And I kept doing it because I was unable to be strong and to cope.

How do I get back up on my feet?

Grief and loss turned me into a moody, lifeless person. I once had the world in my eyes and all that was left is now emptiness and sorrow.

I had almost wanted to give up on life, work, school and family.

I prayed for a different outcome in life.

To give and receive, to be given life when one was taken.

In turn, I was taken on this whirlwind of journey with someone who showed me what life truly meant from a different perspective.

What was it about this person who gave me meaning to keep on going, to live as life has offered me and to do best rather than do enough? He showered me with compliments, crude advice, and drove me to insanity before bringing me back down to help me understand that I was strong enough to handle it.

Today, I no longer grief and blame loss for many things.

I realize the control I have over my own life and it was a great portion of it.

When I wake in the morning, instead of feeling anguish and sadness, I’m filled with the drive to do something greater. Instead of expecting hope and happiness to drop onto my lap, I strive for it.

How did I cope with the grief and loss?

I let someone into my life and he pulled me out of my depression state. He showed me his side of the world and I showed him mine.

To be protected from the world, from its losses had made me weak. It had taken my energy and brought me down but one person pulled me back up onto my feet.

Today, I have accomplished much more than I had hoped for in the past score of my life.

With this loss that I had felt, it had made me stronger with the help of someone who made me realize what life was truly about. He, who helped me understand the future and he, who taught me how to think for my own.

He, who helped me grief over loss of family while learning to stand up from it.

If I had to do the same with my children, I would do what my own parents did to me. I would protect them from the world, raise them to be independent and knowledgeable.

Before releasing them into the wild.

Looking At The Bigger Picture: Untold Soliloquies

I’ve always looked upon others with a simple question; why?

To a person unknown to me, it would seem bitter and heartless but from my perception, it seeks out the truth from what I only see. Looking at the bigger picture, I see what actions say as opposed to the words that only speak little.

My life has a single meaning to it; to strive for what I want despite the setbacks of anything and everything – but what does it mean to others? What do the lives of others mean to me? In all of honesty, very few people have a special place where I keep them but it matters not because there will always be space for others.

Albeit, looking at the bigger picture of my meets in life, I have become wary of allowing a significant number of people into my life but only because I have lost more than I can imagine. The lives of the people who were once very dear to me are now lost souls – living or dead – but lost, nonetheless.

The bigger picture is this; caution is what I keep by me always.

Everyone you meet has a story – be it a sad one, depressing, happy or tragic – we are all entitled to our own story. However, as strangers who pass you everyday, we are unaware of their bigger picture, the one that hides all truth and only speaks through words. We are, by our subconscious, ignorant and nonchalant to the likes of others who do not matter to us.

So this article is mainly, for those who have stories untold and unread.

I was walking down the streets in the city once when I stopped to watch a young man in a suit offer a bedraggled elderly woman in tattered clothes some money. To the public eye, they could only come to two conclusions; the man is kind and the woman is homeless.

It was, however, only a general statement. I stood where I did and asked one simple question; why? 

Why was the man so kind, and why was she homeless? In these situations do we look upon the words and stories not spoken and ask the questions about the people who do not matter to us. Many looked on the woman, some offering her money without giving her another glance but have many wondered why was she placed in such a predicament?

The life of the elderly woman is of no concern to me, but her bigger picture was, however, a question. The young man, suited and seemingly well-off, took thirty seconds off from his busy day to dig into his pocket for small notes of cash to offer to a woman who mattered not to him.

Why?

Did he at one point of time feel and experience life the way the woman did, or was he brought up to understand the hard work that had brought him where he was today? Was he, by any chance, a kind man not by oppression from society and parents but by choice and past experience?

These lives are the ones with stories untold from the start. Soliloquies that only they themselves understand.

We come to the general conclusion of situations when we know not of the truth behind every action and every word. We do not choose to see what is not shown because it is easier to not question why when the people involved do not matter to us. We do not question for reasoning but yet choose to come to a conclusion only obvious to the public eye.

I have spent days alone enough to think of what it means to understand the meaning of the bigger picture. It is as often, hidden by nature or sometimes by choice, but hidden mostly because vulnerability is threatened. Exposing your story can cause both positive and negative reactions – both to be expected from human nature – but just because it is hidden does not mean one does not question it.

We are too engrossed with our own lives to bother knowing the lives of others but with every step, you pass the chance of knowing a different story as how you pass strangers without questioning the simple question of why?

I have, by all means, discovered the true meaning to my life ever since I underwent a ten-minute talk about differences and bigger pictures, courtesy of my father whom I had learned from to accept and understand people from different walks of life. It is by this discovery, that I understood why I do what I do.

This larger insight on a person’s life is more than stories that changes a person, even if it does not matter to you. I could have walked away the day I saw the suited man and elderly lady but instead, I chose to stay and watch because it changed what I thought about the people around me. I was given a chance to question a man’s actions and a woman’s well-being because without it, I would have not understood what it meant to be in both their shoes.

Both their lives may not have mattered to me, as how I would not have mattered to them but the bigger picture, however, intertwines us all into a story in itself.

And we must always question the story.