My Difficult “Rock and Hard Place”

I Don’t Want To Forget, But It’s So Painful To Remember

These pieces are becoming more difficult to write. Before, the words would just flow out from my heart and onto the screen. Now, however, as the years have passed since the day my eldest child went back to His Garden, the days are becoming more and more ordinary. And it is taking more effort to write these tributes.

Her birthday was December 30. I was working. It was busy, and thank God I was able to work normally, without breaking under the weight of her loss, under the fact that I could not see how beautiful a 21-year-old she would have made.

That — in and of itself — is a blessing. I need to be able to focus as an Intensive Care specialist, to help others in dire need. I also need to be able to focus as a husband and father, because I need to be here for my family.

Yet, the fact that December 30 was so ordinary, so normal, is painful. I don’t want to forget my eldest child. I hate that her memory is fading father and farther away as the years pass since her death. But if I try to remember; if I look at a picture (I don’t dare watch a video); if I take myself back there in my mind’s eye, it’s suffocating.

The pain comes back. I become aware of the gaping hole in my heart, and I can once again feel the horrific ache this hole gives me. From the very moment I laid eyes on her, my heart was stolen. I never knew Divine Love until the Beloved gave me Bayan.

Now that she is gone, it still hurts so much, and the pain quickly becomes overwhelming. And so I try to forget. And then the pain of that desire hurts even more.

It’s my difficult Scylla and Charybdis, or “Rock and a Hard Place.”

When I’m in the ICU, and I see families struggling with the realization that their loved one will not be leaving the hospital alive, I share with them that I’ve lost my daughter. I, too, know what they feel; I, too, understand their pain.

Almost universally, they feel for me and say, “I’m sorry.” But I don’t want their sympathy. I am trying to connect with them on a human level and trying to comfort them with the fact that they are not alone. Someone else is also suffering under the mighty weight of loss.

So far, thank God, it has always brought them a small amount of comfort — a small amount of light in a terribly dark time. Just this past week, I shared my story, and all that happened was our eyes locked — both wet with tears — and we both immediately understood.

It seems that I will not be like Odysseus: I will not be getting past Scylla and Charybdis for many years — if ever. It is what it is, I guess. Only God is Perfect, and all else is not.

Yet writing about it helps me, and that’s why I do it. The pain is too great to stay bottled up inside. And while it may seem to others that all is normal on December 30, deep down inside an indescribable pain lurks and is ready to lash out at a moment’s notice. And I silently vacillate between hating that I’ve seemed to forget, but then hating even more when I remember.

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