I experienced the darkest point in my life a couple of months ago, but it made me realize that nothing is permanent in life, not even grief. What I experienced was intense, painful, and the most challenging thing I’ve ever gone through. But through the Lord’s blessings, I was able to remain patient and keep my emotions as stable as possible through the suffering.
The Call From My Father
During my winter vacation from college, I was enjoying a movie with my brother and sister in law. Suddenly, we received a call from my father. He was supposed to be sleeping in his room. My oldest brother answered the phone call. All my father uttered was, “come up here and listen to me.” I was worried it was about my mother because she has hepatitis.
Well, my brother went to the room and my father told him he wasn’t feeling well. He said he was feeling nauseous, and that concerned us because it was unlike him to feel unwell. We asked him to go to the doctor numerous times, but he refused. We gave him medicine, and according to him, he slept. The next morning, he got up and asked my oldest brother to take him to the hospital.
It turns out, he had experienced a heart attack that night and was in intense pain. We got him into the best hospital in the city, and we were quite hopeful for his speedy recovery.
My Tragic Loss
While he was in the hospital I could tell that he was in so much pain. I would ask him the same questions over and over again. How are you feeling? What are you feeling? What’s happening to you? And all he would say was, “nothing, my son.” But that wasn’t true, because he was unable to sleep due to the pain.
And then on the 7th day at the hospital, I lost him.
Seeing your loved one dying in front of your eyes is the most challenging thing someone will go through in their life. I lost him after a few hours of the doctor’s struggling to keep him alive. He left us all alone. At the time, I wasn’t that sad because I couldn’t understand what was happening. I was in shock.
I’ve never felt more helpless. Realizing that I couldn’t comfort my loved one who was suffering so much made me fall into the darkest point in my life.
My Struggle To Find The Light Again
Overcoming the pain of losing a loved one is not easy. It was not effortless for my family and I to get back to our everyday lives. We had become fragile and weak from the realization that he’s not with us anymore, and that he’s not going to come back. We were in denial, and our phase of denial lasted for three to four months.
We faced so many challenges ourselves for the first time in our lives. My father had been a shelter for us, and he was always there as a last resort if we had any problems. He was a strong, friendly, and brave man. He was our strength and the pillar of our family that held us all together.
But whatever happens in your life, no matter how dark it gets, you need to work to heal the pain and start your life again at some point. At the time, I was wondering how I could possibly get over such a big loss. I was very depressed, unhappy, and struggling with mental illness.
Of course, you never get over a painful loss. But there are ways to work through grief, and so I’d like to talk about what worked for my family and I.
How I Worked Through My Grief
- Hamza (my oldest brother) and I, tried to switch our focus to something rigorous and productive. We decided to join a gym, and then COVID-19 hit Pakistan. But we didn’t let it stop us. We started working out at home instead. We chose to do High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to start. We also started eating healthy. Not only does working out make us physically strong, but it’s also helped us fight off this severe depression caused by losing someone so special and close to us.
- Before we decided to work out, I had no routine because I wasn’t going to university due to the pandemic. And the lack of routine was impacting my mental health. Instead, I was sleeping for long hours, smoking, and wondering why God did this to me. This had cost me my peace and happiness.
The gym helped provide us with a healthy routine, but we didn’t stop there.
Learn New Skills
Eating healthy and working out was not enough for my brother and I. We needed to have a goal in life, one that would make our father happy and proud of us. We made it a routine to get up early in the morning. We began to work hard to learn new skills like SEO, how to get a job on Upwork, how to use Fiverr, etc. I have my own YouTube channel, so I began to give it more attention too.
It’s been helpful to focus on gaining new skills, and to start being productive again.
It’s Okay To Feel Your Painful Emotions
Sometimes, accepting that we are weak, helpless, and fragile is a good thing. This point of view has helped me come to terms with the death of my father. I concluded that what’s gone is not going to come back, no matter how much I cry or get angry. I believe that by letting yourself free, and choosing to stop beating yourself up is the only possible way to unhook from the negative emotions. But to do this, I believe that we must admit that we’re weak at the moment, and that’s okay.
I don’t think I’ve completely overcome this dark time in my life by making these small useful changes. I still miss my father. I get sad thinking about him. I miss him in the middle of night while I smoke my cigarettes. I don’t believe we can ever be completely free from the pain, but we can learn lessons to slowly feel better.
I hope that the following lessons I’ve learned can help you bring positive change to your life as well if you’re suffering.
A Summary Of What I’ve Learned
1) Nothing is permanent in life. Life is not going to be the same after one year, one month, or even after a single moment. So open up and embrace the change. This includes difficult emotions, too.
2) Acceptance is the only way to overcome the pain. You are less likely to heal when you have not accepted something wholeheartedly.
3) Believing in God has made me strong enough to keep myself alive. I have believed in him more than ever through this, and he has kept me strong. This is the most beautiful lesson I have learned so far.
4) Never Blame God for testing you is the best thing I learned from this incident. God can test your faith. However, you cannot judge his ways.
5) Suffering is not a curse. I learned the real meaning of pain after losing my father. Suffering is not a curse by the Lord. It is a blessing. He chooses his loved ones to test their faith and to make them strong and firm.
6) Find happiness within. Pain and suffering are not going to end, but you must learn to stay firm and find happiness within.
These lessons made me realize that pain and suffering make us human. And through pain and suffering, we can become empathetic to the pain of others.
This story was selflessly submitted by Usama Tahir from Pakistan.
If you or anyone you know has a story to share, you can submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if you’d like your story to be published anonymously, we’re also more than happy to honour that.