Days, hours and minutes all hold the power to alter someone's life. It only took a matter of seconds to change mine forever.
The gardens stood isolated from the hustle and bustle of the busy London streets. Strips of houses stood tall like watchtowers. Grey clouds cast dark shadows across them, leaving a series of haunting silhouettes.
I had been here before as a young boy. I still remembered the smell of the lilies that the florist sold on the street corner and the laughing and gossiping from the local school. It was by that very post box that I had my first kiss from my next-door neighbor Angie.
Now this place was nothing but a collection of old memories to me. Once a place thriving in colour and joy was now nothing but a pallet of broken dreams and despair. I couldn't tell if the darkness had engulfed the gardens, the street, the whole city or was it only me who could feel it? The skies seemed dimmer than before, my blood ran colder and my heart was sinking like an anchor in the deep blue sea.
It had nearly been 24 hours since I got the news of my father's passing. It was his house cleaners who had found his lifeless body on the bathroom floor. Ever since I've been walking around in a daze. Every time I snapped back to reality, I could feel the pain roll over me afresh.
I dangled my feet off the roof of my old building and looked out still less, the soft wind brushing across my face. The continuous vibrations from my phone were left ignored. It had only been a day and my brother had already compiled a page long list of things to do and people to notify. It felt strange knowing that I held the power in my hands to shatter their lives forever, just like someone had done with me.
Hours passed and I was ready to return home. Bumbling down the streets, I often confused strangers in the street as my father. As I passed his favorite restaurant or coffee shop, scenes from my memories would play over like holograms. My body doing all it could to fill the void.
I light my fifth cigarette in a row. My throat had become raw from the continuous burning smoke. It was the only distraction that was proving helpful. As I puffed away, I got to thinking about death. One day I am going to die and when I die, I will be nothing but a handful of stories and photographs. There will be no more thinking, no more worrying and no more laughing. There will be nothing and I will be nothing for eternity. There will be silence and the silence will last forever.
No one prepares you for the intensity of grief and loss. There is no warning about the speed at which you are expected to close someone else's life. The documents you must sign and the countless phone calls to funeral directors, each time reminding you of the loss you have suffered.
I stand outside my front door and think to myself about all the times I didn't tell him I loved him or tell him what an amazing man he was. All I do know is that from the moment I found out, my whole being changed. My goals changed from money and fame to love and life. All I could strive for now was to make him proud every day and live up to the legacy that he left. It is very easy to get lost in a bubble created from expectations and competition. It is a shame that it takes something as substantial as loss to pop the bubble and knock you straight back into reality.
Grief is never an easy process for anyone, regardless of the situation. I had hoped the pain would only last for days but as I sit here, still in the same cycle of agony, a month later. Someone who leaves an imprint in your heart can never be forgotten. At last, I have found my meaning of life and can begin on my personal pursuit of happiness. Thank you, dad for carving the path.