In the living room of my home in Montreal, in the dining room cabinet, on a shelf behind the glass is a picture of our family. It is an old photo taken in Dubai when my kids were still very young. It was taken on the same day we were photographed individually for our Canadian visa application. There’s an aura of happiness on all our faces.
It’s been a decade now since that picture was taken. So much has happened since then. My eldest has already joined the workforce and my younger is about to finish his studies and follow in his sister’s footsteps. And I am ten years older. During these last ten years, I have put the needs of my family before mine and my profession. I quit my job to be with my husband in his sickness and I have no regrets about it whatsoever.
Except after he passed away. Suddenly I felt so let down. Five years had passed since my last job as a teacher. And I realized that if I wanted to go back to teaching I didn’t have the heart for it anymore. Life has lost its glamour for me and the last thing I would like to do is face a classroom full of kids. But what else can I do?
The fact that I had missed my chance added to my sorrow and my fear of a future life without my significant other beside me. I drove myself crazy thinking about all the things that went wrong, of all the opportunities I missed because I chose to make my family a priority.
Here I was with all these feelings of pain and anger and sorrow bundled up inside me wanting to get out. I wanted to write about my love, my loss, my feelings of despair. Yet every time I tried to put words on paper this little voice inside would tell me to stop. It would tell me to stop whining. You are not the only one.
True. But my mind and soul are so full of memories and losses and fears that somehow writing about them is all I can do. Writing about them helps me understand and forget them. I write to explore all the things I am afraid of; death, loss, life, the future. I write to give myself courage and strength to face the world. I write to keep my sanity. I write, to use Roger Rosenblatt’s words:
“To make suffering endurable
To make evil intelligible
To make justice desirable
and … to make love possible”