I believe in facing life’s hardships head on. Avoiding the issue and running away from reality only serve in putting off what you eventually must face. Now writing this more than a year after dealing with the death of my cousin, I recognize the foolishness behind my deserting reality and shying away from the truth.
It started with a midnight call. I was fast asleep and in my perfect land of dreams when I was suddenly snatched from my dreamworld and thrown back into the realm of reality. I distinctly remember my sister roughly waking me up to the sight of both my parents huddled around my bed with expressions suggesting a tragedy beyond words. Once I heard the news, I denied and rejected the facts. I thought it was all a nightmare, but after putting on my clothes and driving in a long, silent car ride to the hospital, things seemed too real.
We rushed into the ER, into the room, into a moment that changed my life . . . There stood my aunt, uncle, and cousin, all in tears, crowding around a bed which my eyes evaded. There was no avoiding it: my cousin Eddie, the sight still ingrained in my mind, lay motionless and pale. I had seen Eddie just two days ago telling me about his horrible experience removing wisdom teeth. Several days later we found out that this same experience along with mixing medications caused Eddie to die of suffocation in his sleep.
In the following weeks, all I wanted to do was forget it all: the look of my family in the ER, the new heart-wrenching sadness that had settled in, and the fact that I had lost someone so close. I pushed aside fond memories of conversations about our high school, Parkway West, and all that had changed in the many years between each of our high school experiences. Whenever Eddie was mentioned, I nonchalantly dealt with the subject because I felt I had grieved enough. In fact, I didn’t realize that I suppressed deep-hidden emotions that needed expressing.
So weeks passed, and I continued with my ways of denial and desertion until I had a catharsis of sorts. After cramming my emotions for too long, I was bound for eruption.
BOOM! As I was making Spanish Paella for a class project, I got into an argument with my mom about my cooking. According to my mom, I was constantly on edge, willing to fight over anything in the weeks following Eddie’s death. So my mom called me out on my uncharacteristic behavior change and asked for an explanation. I explained it all through tears: an uncontrollable downpour.
After finally encountering the suppressed feelings that had preyed on my soul, I escaped my false reality and faced the truth. It took long after that incident for me finally to accept Eddie’s passing on, but I can now say that the tragedy put things in perspective and taught me that properly grieving was a better remedy than deserting life’s heartbreaks.