Recently, I got an interesting comment on my Facebook page, “Are you ever unhappy or do you not take pictures at those times?” Pray Tell Zain Mahmood”
I am surprised and a bit taken aback, by this comment.
Since this is from someone who went to middle-school with me, about 35 years ago, and we haven’t stayed in touch, it’s difficult to decipher the motive.
And neither does it matter. This odd comment, makes me think.
I realize that, I am not really accustomed to, nor am I trained to express my frustrations, pain or anger in public.
I know how to smile wide, and accept whatever comes to me.
When I am frustrated, angry or hurt, I go for a long walk, or just take a nap. I don’t numb with food, alcohol or rage. Most difficulties, I have found, look and feel different, after a good nap.
In the midst of crisis, I reserve my emotions aside, and assume the role of a risk and project manager; I look for every inevitable possibility, of things that could go wrong, and try to mitigate the risk. This creates an interesting situation, where people perceive me as an emotion-free robot. I leave my grieving for later. And in private.
Recently, I experienced pain, anguish and frustration, all at once.
One morning, At 5 am, I get a call from a nurse, telling me that Daiyaan, my 20-year-old, is being taken to the ICU for observation, because her heart rate is unusually high.
My mind goes on overdrive, arranging logistics for Shania (my 10-year-old), and my travel arrangements to get to Daiyaan quickly, all the while, talking to her physicians and friends, and monitoring her condition.
At this juncture, I see no point of howling with pain or questioning the Universe about why my child is suffering.
After all logistics are complete, and I believe I have the necessary actions in motion, I say a silent Universal prayer: to have the strength and ability, to handle this sudden and grave adversity, and do what is required of me: stand up and be a Dad.
The pain and loss one feels in a situation like this, is tough to describe.
One has to surrender to the vulnerability that surrounds us at every minute. This is not just my anguish; I know every parent feels this, when they know their child is unwell.
I have felt the same anguish, as I saw my father pass away in front of me, and still feel it, as I watch my strong and athletic mother, lie in bed, unable to move freely.
About 5 years ago, I felt the same way, when my beautiful marriage of 15 years, collapsed in front of my eyes; I blogged about the emotions I felt at that time: Jumping into a Meandering River.
Every time, I feel I am surrounded by opaque walls; its like watching a bad movie, in slow motion, that I am a playing a role in. I have no idea, what’s behind those walls, and who I will become, when clarity returns.
I know, something inside me is churning and changing, at that very moment. Even though, I may want everything to remain constant.
During these moments, there are two things that help me stay focused.
First, I think of one happy memory, with the person who maybe hurting – this allows me to project into the future, and think about the possibility of more happy times and remain grounded.
Second, I imagine my particular safe place at my home, a quiet, simple and serene room, with zen music, and the smell of eucalyptus. It’s that place I feel safe, and look to go back to go, whenever the chaos ends. I can feel Shania’s deep hug, and that same sensation, when I gently kiss Daiyaan’s forehead.
I am not sure why my inconsequential friend wanted me to journal my hurt, pain and anxiety on a public bulletin board. I have never understood, nor have I been trained to share my darkness; If you believe in Newton’s Third Law, Every Action has an Equal and Opposite Reaction – I can say, every light has a shadow.
I will need a whole different Facebook, to learn to share my pain, anguish and sadness.
For now, I am comfortable, sharing my sunshine. God knows, everyone has dark moments.