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They say time heals all wounds, or is it – time wounds all healed?

The afternoon of 13th August 2014 – stationed an abiding stroke on my life. A stroke that continues to remind me of the distinction between the ‘before’ and the ​’after​’. I was a 12 year-old utopian when my father departed for his heavenly abode. 7 years down the line, and I am now 19, determined, dependable, often dramatic, and as some of my friends would call it – “the mom” of our dainty little circle. 

The experience of losing a parent is many things – the word ‘painful’ hardly cuts it. It is surreal, yet life-altering. It is powerful, yet disturbingly uncomfortable. However, with that discomfort – comes pressure. The pressure that allowed me to re-examine, re-process and re-mould the life that I lived versus the one that I sought to live. The people I now encounter, haven’t experienced the past 7 years of my life, and they certainly didn’t get to see the bald spots that once covered my scalp. They simply got to meet an overly expressive whimsical with an oceanic capacity to love. 

If there is one lesson that death taught me, it is that all I could ever do was breathe, eat, sleep, wake up and do it all over again until one day, it wasn’t as hard anymore. I wrote, partly because I didn’t understand what had  happened and partly because I didn’t want to. I found pictures and I made a collage out of them and I pasted them up on my wall because somewhere in the middle of all that work, I stopped crying. And, I guess that was the point.

So, to those of you saying their goodbyes as I conclude typing this sentence, I know how incredibly painful it is. I know how painful it is to wake up to unblinded windows. And to respond to messages asking if you’re doing okay feels simply foolish and everything in the world appears insignificant right now, because no one really knows how to help, and nobody ever can. I know you’re scared, scared that one day you  will wake up and you wouldn’t remember his smile. That one day, his scent wouldn’t be all that familiar to you, the sound of his voice and his hand wrapped around your little one will become a foreign feeling. And, I also know that while these words are doing little to help you now, remember that time will do its magic and the sinking feeling you’re experiencing right now, will not last forever.

The next time you find yourself buried under a hundred million what if’s and why not’s – remember that when all else fails, the power of your subconscious mind never will. The only difference being – the next time you two share a smile, it will be in the vast expanse of your dreams instead of a four walled-bedroom. So when your heart begins to feel heavy, please don’t beg it to stop, let your throat become tight and let those tears fall. The next time you post a photograph remembering him on his birthday, close your eyes and picture him smiling seeing it from up north. Because, crying isn’t only about being sad, for the most part – it takes away your sadness – physically – out of your body.

The past few years have cultivated my fragile self to embrace change and blossomed me into a mature, resilient soul. I now have the ability to handle the curve balls thrown at me in a manner I wouldn’t have just if I had continued living a fairy-tale childhood. Some goodbyes are said, while others are felt. I am now the woman I hope my father too would be proud of. It indeed is true,​ we grow through what we go through. 

Anshika Malhotra

UC London '24

Hi, I’m Anshika! I’m from India, and currently, studying a dual Arts & Sciences degree at UCL! I’m passionate about all things art & music, and always up for binging sappy old movies🤧
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