Connecting the dots

When I was in high school, I never really understood why my mom had to get sick. I was angry because I knew she didn’t deserve it. I was frustrated because I couldn’t fight her battle. I was wounded because at an early age, I realized life is unfair.

I used to hate everything and everyone. I built walls around me. I needed to, because I have to save myself from crumbling down. I was afraid to ask for help because I thought no one would understand. I isolated myself from everyone who tried to reach out. I fought the demons inside me while praying I wouldn’t turn into one.

When my mom passed away, I was lost. All I wanted was for her to see me succeed. I wanted her to be proud. I wanted her to be happy. But all of a sudden, I didn’t know how to continue. My plans became pointless and meaningless. Absurd ideas entered my mind. I was tempted to ruin my life because of the desperation and loneliness I felt. But I knew it was not worth it.

I strived hard to excel in my studies. I started debating, writing, and volunteering. I distracted myself from the pain by becoming so busy that I no longer have time to think of what I have lost. But there are times when they all come flooding back and all I could do is close my eyes and feel everything – the nostalgia, bereavement, regrets, longing, and emptiness.

I wanted to forget. But I knew that forgetting the pain would also mean forgetting the happiness and good memories. I am the product of my success and achievements, regrets and failures, doubts and beliefs. I am who I am today because of the decisions I made, the consequences I faced, and the trials I conquered. To forget these things is to forget the essential part of me.

I learned that life is all about acceptance. The world is unfair to begin with. It didn’t promise everything will be smooth and steady. But it gave us the idea that we will be okay eventually. We just have to learn how to hold on and be strong. I stopped hating and started accepting. I started understanding that there’s a reason for every pain, for every tear, and for every goodbye. I started again, because I know someday, I will be okay.

My achievements made my family and friends proud. I’m thankful, but sometimes it’s a painful irony because the only voice I wanted to hear is no longer there. But I know there’s always a reason. I got left behind for me to know how to continue on my own. I was bereaved of a mother’s love for me to appreciate how lucky I was to experience a mother’s touch. I fell down hard for me to learn how to stand up. I became weak and fragile for me to understand that I have to be strong because I have no other choice but to be one.

The trials and obstacles that come our way are like dots that connect our lives and give meaning to our existence. You may not understand what your tears, problems, and struggles mean today, but someday, you will. And by then, you will realize and understand why you’re here.