It was a cold, chilly morning. I was in the ambulance, bringing my mother from the hospital to our hometown. When suddenly, she stopped breathing. And that was the moment our lives changed forever.
For the past year, my mother had been suffering from illness. It was in the last two months that her final stage of cancer was detected. We thought we had time (the doctor’s told us so), but it was not to be. After a few chemotherapy sessions, her body couldn’t take it anymore, and her soul departed.
The whole family was devastated, but my father was traumatized. Unable to handle the grief, he slipped into depression. I did not know how to handle the situation. I was just 23, I barely had my life under control, and suddenly I had to take care of my family — my father and my younger brother.
My brother, through his own ways, was trying to cope up with the loss we had just suffered, but it was my father who needed healing. He needed support to get out of it. He needed assurance that things will get better. And I was there watching them fight their battles, drowning myself in a flurry of emotions.
I was more close to my father than my mother. Not having her around anymore was heartbreaking, but watching my father go through such a depressing phase broke me from inside. I had no idea how our life was going to get normal, how will we ever come out of this misery, how are we going to get our life sorted?
It was like a surprise test thrown by the life which we weren’t ready for. There was no escaping this reality. We had to face the harsh truth of our lives. It was not easy, we had to conquer so many challenges in our daily lives, learning to live without her being the most difficult.
“In all these happenings, my father suffered the most. But I was the one who was growing.”
As I mentioned earlier, my father slipped into depression. It was tough for us to handle him, to bring him out of this depression. We consulted many doctors, gave him different medications. We even shifted our home for a while, but nothing seemed to work. I think he was just not ready to move on in his life.
I was frustrated seeing him like this, sometimes even yelled at him for not thinking about his children because even we were suffering. I later realized how wrong I was to get angry at him. Depression is not something you can just come out of in a blink of a second. It takes time and the first lesson I learned was to be patient.
Now I knew that the situation wouldn’t get better in a single day. We had to work hard and reach to a conclusion to help my father come out of this. So with the help of my family members, we started working together, researched his condition and talked with different doctors who could help us. And doing all these I learned my second lesson: to be responsible.
I wasn’t able to accept reality, I couldn’t hold back my emotions. I was mentally weak but I had to take care of my father, I had to get him out of depression. I had to look after my brother too. I didn’t have the option to break down. And in that phase, I learned to be strong, to be supportive.
With time, things finally got better, I am not sure which medication or which treatment suited my father but he was coming out of depression or at least he tried to. He got more involved with the family, started looking after us and also took his responsibilities back. And that was the time I realized that no matter what life brings to you, you should never stop trying. There’s always a way out, even from the darkest of phases.
Through all these phases the most important thing that I learned was: “You can not avoid hurt, you cannot ignore it and definitely not escape it. You have to face it, you have to deal with it, and if needed, you even have to embrace it to leave you and make you a better, stronger person.”
After a year, my father is doing much better and I am here strong enough to share this piece for all those people who have gone through this pain. You are not alone. Things might seem to be not working, but it does get better. There won’t be a day you wouldn’t remember them, but more than being sad, you will learn to be happy thinking about the best days you lived with them. You will break down emotionally, but that’s okay, you will learn to get up and be strong.