In one of the Fringe episodes, Olivia awoke violently from her coma after her return from the alternate universe and the first words she spoke, in Greek, were, “Be a better man than your father.”
There’s a film right now, based on the true story of a larger-than-life avid mountaineer who amputated his arm using a dull knife to free himself from a large boulder he was trapped between. I’m reading Aron Ralston’s story and it is not just what he did – although, that is uncommonly courageous, given that he could have chose suicide which would have been the easier way out – it’s his whole outlook on it that’s remarkably inspirational. He never caved in to his disability, his sacrifice, and has never emotionally cashed in on its drama. Instead, he faces it with insouciance.
My own father submitted to his illness. It has been protracted and painful, the illness, not fatal and not the worst, considering the suffering of countless others. But he tried to take his own life. And now, we are all paying for that (in all sense of the word ‘pay’).
I’ve moaned my fair bit. I have to be honest and say that I’m very bitter about this. I’ve only just graduated and like any other person my age, my life has just begun. I know there are many others in situations much worse than mine. But many of my peers also seem to have it so much better. For some time, I could not let go of my futile questions: why this, why now, why me?
I know I can hold on to these questions and just stay on the same spot. But then, I’d have no one else but myself to blame for my utter failure in life, later on. Really, this is such a tiny setback. I’m determined not to fail, not even to be mediocre. And people like Aron Ralston constantly prove to me that we are so much more than what life throws at us.
I tell that to my father. I tell him stories of people who’ve been through so much tougher shit and still come out bigger than ever. That it’s not what happens to us in life, but our reaction to that. And all he can tell me is that it’s different for him, he’s suffering, can’t I see that? Never mind these heroes, he’s suffering.
More than anything, I’m determined to be a better person than my father.