40 Days

It hasn’t been an easy week. When I was home, I had looked forward to coming back to LUMS, I had thought it would make me feel much better. I am not sure if that’s the case.

There are many more people here in front of whom I have to put on a brave face. At home, there are just a few and there’s always a bathroom close by to lock myself into when I need a few moments alone. That’s much harder to do here, I’m constantly surrounded by people, the bathroom is too far to walk to in the cold, and crying secretly doesn’t work since it would smudge my mascara and make it very obvious. So no, I have to smile and say I am okay and things are good, and then continue to laugh along with whatever joke is being cracked. I have to pretend a lot more over here.

There is, of course, the obvious alternative of not leaving the room at all and just staying in bed all day to mope around, but I left home in order to STOP doing that. It’s a vicious circle. I know my friends will read this and feel helpless or sad or even pity me a little without realizing it. But there’s only so much other people can do for me. Some battles are meant to be fought alone.

Choosing courses was supposed to be a good distraction, but attending classes is hard as well. In one, a professor talked about something related to the soul and all I could think of was what my aunt told me recently that when a person dies and their eyes remain open, it means they have just watched their soul leaving their body, watched it ascend towards the heavens. The professor talked about retreating into the inner soul and all I wondered was whether my brother, too, had seen his soul depart.

In another class, we were asked to read a short story. Guess what it was about? A mother whose 30-something year-old son dies. In the same class, we were told to do a writing exercises and for the love of me, I tried and I tried but it felt impossible to pick up the pen and make any effort. I kept forcing myself to think of a scenario that wouldn’t be depressing, or wouldn’t involve death, because that’s all that comes to my mind. I ended up writing crap, possibly the worst piece of fiction I have ever produced.

LUMS is full of music lovers. Every time I hear someone sing, I remember my brother. Even irrelevant things mentioned in people’s stories remind me of him. Every joke made that has something to do with death or a heart attack or not being able to breathe makes me cringe inside and brings his face to my mind. He’s more present with me here than he was at home. The nights, as always, are the worst. I honestly thought they would be better here, that I would be better here but, like someone said to me recently, perhaps there is no ‘getting better’ and only ‘getting used to’. It’s a harsh truth, but how do I ‘get used’ to my brother being dead?

Wherever you are, I hope you're happier than this.


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