Last week was the anniversary of my dads death. He passed away at the age of 55, when I was 14 years old. A few years ago I started processing my delayed grief, which is commonly caused by the inability to process the loss of a parent at a young age. During my grieving process I worked towards the day that I would be alive without my dad longer than I’ve lived with him. That day was 10 February 2018, and as an end point of the grieving process I spent a weekend in Ireland to commemorate that day.
I’ve travelled quite a bit, and I’m hardly really nervous or anxious. How incredibly different was it while I was preparing for this trip. I was procrastinating on, nay, more resisting, packing my bag. I was utterly and completely afraid of what The Day would be like. So I was trying to find ways in which I could avoid The Day. I wasn’t looking for ways to simply avoid the trip. I hoped that by postponing packing my bag, I could actually prevent The Day from coming.
That’s a bit silly, isn’t it? My comprehension of theoretical physics isn’t that good, but I do understand the concept of time: it’s irreversibly and inevitably creeping forward. Whether I liked it or not, I was going to have to live through 10 February 2018, or stop living at all.
So I called my beloved boyfriend in tears and explained him that I didn’t want to go. I cried and murmured that I still had to pack my bag, even though my flight was due to leave in ± four hours. I wanted to miss my bus to the airport, to miss my flight to Ireland, to skip The Day and move on to the Sunday after it.
He talked me through packing my bag. He didn’t let me not go. He just understood how difficult the journey, both physically and mentally, was for me, so he offered his support. I literally packed my bag with him on the phone, collecting piece by piece from my wardrobes and drawers. Until, 30 minutes later, my bag was packed and I didn’t have any excuse anymore. I was ready to go.
I stepped out of my front door with my heart beating in my throat. At a slow pace I moved closer and closer to the bus stop. The bus came, and drove me closer and closer to the airport. I got out and walked closer and closer to the gate. I got in the plane and flew closer and closer to Ireland.
And then, it felt all of a sudden, I had arrived. I stepped on Irish soil. And as soon as I hit that Irish tarmac – and the cold Irish winter wind hit me – I felt that I was exactly where I needed to be, at exactly the right time. I had conquered my fear.
I hadn’t left it behind in Liverpool, my fear. But I hadn’t let it stop me, either. In the past I would’ve mourned on my own, not letting my loved ones know that I needed their support. But I thank God that He gave me the courage to call someone and tell him: ‘I don’t feel good. I need your help, even though I wished I could do it on my own strength. But I can’t. Will you help me?’
I hope you’ll conquer a fear this year, how big or small it may be. “Who conquers herself is stronger than who conquers a city.”