Be strong, you are the man
Updated: May 15
Right after we broke the news that papa has passed away, I have been told a countless times “be strong” or “you have to take care of your mummy”, “you are the man of the house now”.
Everytime I hear these words, I get this sudden twitch in my neck as if someone has poked a sharp needle in it.
I am wondering, how can people be so illogical and inconsiderate? My papa's body is not yet cold and they come and say it in my ear to be strong? Why am I not allowed to mourn and grieve over my loss? Is being a guy or “the man of the house” mean I should swallow my emotions? Does it mean I have to forget about how I lost my father right in my arms and start taking decisions immediately on what needs to be done in the house or with the family?
All I wanted to do at that moment was to hug my close and dear ones and cry my heart out. I wanted to scream and punch walls and break stuff because of the anger and hurt it was causing me. But in front of the world which wants me to be strong and be a man I couldn't or I should say I wasn't allowed to do that.
Whenever I used to breakdown while pretending to be okay with the fact that I won't be able to hear his voice ever, or that I won't be able to break the news that I have someone with whom I want to settle down, people used to come to me and whisper it to me to not cry. That if I cry how can I help my mom? That she needs me to help her go through this process. That woman who has lived and experienced life more than me, who is smart and intelligent, that woman who have fought all odds to bring up a son with undiagnosed autism and helped numerous other people both emotionally and financially.
I am not saying she is better without me, no, never, I am there for her, but this is a time to grieve and I have the right to grieve at my own pace and so does she. We informed you to let you know that he isn't there anymore and not to hear your opinions. I so wanted to scream and punch all such people and tell them to talk after a week or two but I didn't.
I am tired of wearing this mask that I am alright. I can't pretend anymore that I am alright. I miss him and still remember each and every moment when I was trying my best to bring him back. I remember how his lifeless body felt in my hands, how his head was dangling and I was trying to put it to rest on my shoulder. No one should face that situation ever in life, it's the worst feeling one can get. The helplessness of the moment and the desperation, I feel horrible to even believe that I am alive after all this. He was my father, he brought me up and made me who I am today.
I have visited people during funerals even though I hate it, the sadness and pain is unbearable but yet I have been there. Never have I said or told someone to be strong. I don't even talk to them at that time, I just let them know that I am there for them and this message can be conveyed without words also.
It's like expecting the lion not eat you because you are vegetarian. It's not practical but its not impossible either. People should be allowed to grieve, guys should be allowed to express what they feel, specially people like me who are on the spectrum. We already suffer with difficulty in expressing and this kind of attitude by neurotypicals is just disturbing.
Every night and every day, not one moment has passed where I haven't thought of his last moment and my last moment with him. I wish I could have grieved some more, held him for some more time. I was running out of sand in my time piece and they were not selling any more sand. I will always miss you papa, the void that is left behind is something that will always remain and this regret of not being able to mourn for my loss will not leave me so easily. Something I haven't told you ever, I love you.