It was so strong, I could even smell it as it flooded the air around me.
The very utterance of that word still awakens frosty memories which I want to push away forever. My deepest moment in life, as if I was falling down into a bottomless pit... I experienced it in one single, shattering moment. A single, simple change which shook my life like an earthquake.
My heart was at peace, my mind at rest, and my life was as perfect as one could imagine it. Why then, did my body have to rebel against me, trampling down on my strength and crushing my joy? What did I do so wrong that half of my hopes and dreams had to be cast away?
It was the eighth of December. The weather was beautiful, and so was my mood. I was ecstatic. I was in the seventh heaven. After all, what is not there in life to be happy about?
However, my father’s mood was a bit damp. I, being a rather naïve and carefree person, did not even bother noticing. He sat rather stiff, and he seemed rather afraid to open his mouth. I still did not care. Something must have happened at work which must have shaken him like that. Who was I to meddle?
But when I heard his voice…
“Dear…” he began. I jerked into alertness. His voice, which was usually so calm, had become very wobbly. He simply did not sound like himself. It was enough to make me feel like crying even without knowing the reason why. I felt disturbed, but did not question it directly just yet.
“What is it, dad?” I asked him. He shook his head. “You know that I went to ask for the reports of your test today, right?” he said, referring to the blood test I had to take due to some weird signs of increased hunger the last few months. I nodded. “So, what was the result?” I innocently put forward my question.
I should never have asked.
“The doctor said you are suffering from type-one diabetes,” he said bravely, but that was where it ended.
That day, I saw my strong dad break down in front of me. Every teardrop from his eyes felt like a stab in my own side, so great was the pain of seeing him in sorrow. As I helplessly watched those tears stream down his eyes, I saw that he had been strong all along for us, even though he needed support himself.
It was not as if I wasn't sad myself. In fact, my world had come crashing down around me like some giant skyscrapers which had been bombed. Was what he said true? He was fond of joking... so this was another joke he was making at that moment, wasn't it?
But deep inside, I knew he wouldn't do things like that. Even his expression was depressing.
However, I decided to pull myself together… for the time being.
“Hey, dad… It’s okay. We should be grateful it’s not pancreatic cancer, right?” I tried to console him. I was taken aback as the tears continued to flow bitterly, showing every ounce of love he had for me as a father.
“But… you’ll have to take injections… f-for your whole life! I can’t bear watching that!” he cried.
That was another painful stab. Injections? I heard that insulin-dependent diabetics had to take injections before every meal. Was that to be my fate? On top of that... why did it have to be me who suffered?
Why... why me?
But I still maintained my calm in front of him.
“Dad, I can manage it. You always said you had a strong daughter. Give me the chance to be strong now. I promise I won’t cry,” I murmured, trying to channel strength by my own words. It was hopeless.
He controlled his emotions in the end. But my sister and mother were waiting at home. If I went crying into their arms, they would have no time to tend to their own grief. I had to look like I was taking in the news pretty fine.
It was as I expected. My mother leant on me and cried her heart out. It was so evident... she had known the news beforehand. She had already suffered a lot. She needed to vent it somewhere.
It seemed really funny... All of them were crying for me, but I was unable to shed even a single tear for their sake. It was like a complete reversal of roles in this kind of situation.
But that experience taught me something very valuable that day.
I had allowed everyone around me to be strong for me and take all the hard falls for me. They had always been making my life comfortable. I was cushioned in every fall of mine, saved from every inevitable bruise... I was so lucky.
But several others in this world were not. Thousands of poor children must be suffering the same condition as mine at the moment. More than half of them probably didn't even know. Even if they did, wouldn't their level of panic be much, much higher? Their families too wouldn't be having a clue. Their sorrow would be so much greater, with all the color drained instantly from their life.
Also, it wasn't just the diabetics. Every single person in the world, I realized, had a dark place in their heart, a pitiful side of them which they did not wish to show to others. Depression, anxiety, madness, anger... it all was the same. Something happened in their life to make them that way. But I wasn't going to let myself become like that.
On that very day, when my life took the greatest plunge ever, I decided to rise on my own. This change had changed me and my perspective. I knew then that I had to be that beacon of light and hope for those who were in despair. If I continued to weep the loss of my old joy, I would never have the space to gain new life. I had to rise above the dark depths in me to shine. I had to cast aside my selfishness and reach out to all.
There is love missing in several corners of this globe. I have to be one of the few to notice.