Physics, sleep, physics, sleep. Physics. I shut off the alarm, switched on the light, and grabbed my textbook from my night-table. Today was just the start of another ordinary day of school, and I could not help myself from looking forward to the weekend as I went over Newton’s three laws in my head. As I turned to the next page of my notes, I was startled by the sound of a doorbell. At four o’clock, who could be at the door? Could it just be a simple mistake? The wrong house maybe? My intuition said otherwise; I knew something was wrong. My mother got up out of bed and rushed to the front window. I heard the voices of my father’s friends as my mother let them in. The next thing I knew, I heard my mother crying as the two men tried to console her; my father had passed away.
In that instant, I felt as though the ground had been taken from beneath me. Not knowing what to do with myself, I questioned how any of this could have happened. How could he have died? He was only thirty-nine, he was healthy, he was happy. He had just called me from Dubai a few days ago, telling me what a wonderful time he was having and how he might be heading to Nairobi for a couple of days. What could have happened to him from the day of his last phone call to the day he – I paused- I could not even think of saying the next word.
Standing at a podium two weeks later in front of all my family and friends, I delivered my father’s eulogy. Holding back my tears, I reflected on all that my father had achieved throughout his life, the wonderful moments we had shared together and all that he had taught me. My dad and I had always shared a special bond, one that went beyond that of a father and daughter. He was my best friend, my inspiration. He allowed me to learn from his flaws and mistakes. My father instilled in me the determination and tenacity that I possess to this day. Not having him there to share my accomplishments and disappointments with, the stepping stones of my life with, was a thought unimaginable to me.
The magnitude of the situation sank in once I returned back to school after weeks of being away. All the petty matters that I used to worry about, all that had dictated my life, seemed so insignificant. At times I did not even know how to approach school. I tried to focus, to continue studying hard during my junior year, but my heart simply was not in it. My mind kept drifting off to thoughts about my father, about how much I missed him, how much I needed him here with me.
The change came when I stopped thinking about what I wanted my life to be and began thinking about what it actually was. I had to accept my circumstances and...