It all happened very quickly. It was 7am, in a cold morning at Prague, when I received a phone call from home. The tone was tense, and it didn’t help that the line was unstable. Even though the conversation took place for 2 minutes, I could only remember vividly that one line : “Your dad has collapsed. He’s passed away”.
I’ve shared this experience numerous times with people I meet, simply because I was amazed at how such a loss, which almost pushed me to the brink of giving up, had instead given me a new lease on life.
The word lose, is unfortunately, one that is tinged with negativity. We grow up with the idea that losing something leads to a huge deficit in our life. Because when it happens, it takes us off guard. And that’s when we will need to make a choice. We can either feel sorry for ourselves by being overwhelmed by the ensuing emotions, or gather the courage to push ourselves out of the negativity that surrounds us.
My dad’s passing away couldn’t have come at a worse time. I was in the midst of my AIESEC exchange program in Czech Republic, and just a week away from submitting my application for the Local Committee President of AIESEC in UTP, when all of this happened. It crushed my confidence, laid my dreams in tatters, because I knew I had lost the biggest pillar of my life.
It was a day later, when I was going through a few journals of mine, when I stumbled upon a simple sentence which I wrote during a conference a year back in 2013. It was written “I will become the LCP”. I cried while recounting the feeling I had while writing it. I was just a member of the organization back then, who had set his sights firmly to on a goal. Little did I know back then, that I would have come this far. But instead of falling short again, I mustered the courage to request for an extension of time, and submitted my application. But that was not the end. I had to face the grueling elections and interview which pushed me to the brink of defeat.
When the interview ended (7 hours, mind you), I headed back to my room and broke down. The interview had compromised my confidence, and I cursed at why I brought myself to this situation, when I could have just stayed home and recover from the crushing loss. But deep down, I knew that this journey had offered me the strength to move on and face bigger challenges. It broke my shackles, suffice to say. I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to him, but he gave me the chance to begin a new chapter in life.
And I believe that this dilemma happens to you whenever you lose something that is dear to you. You are torn by the idea of having to live without sharing the happiness and laughter again. You are devastated knowing that you will have to pick up the pieces and adapt to the changes around you. You are unprepared to continue, and nothing feels better than just being swallowed by the agony of a losing something. But life goes on, because the strength that you amass to move on, will be the one that carries you forward in life. You will meet new faces, people that will fill in the gap that you have missed.
So the next time when you lose someone or something dear to you, remember that you have a choice. A choice that decides how you react to changes around you.