I have not suffered untold tragedy in my life. In fact, I have been blessed in so many ways and for that I am eternally grateful to my Maker. There has been, however, one dark moment in my life. This pales terribly when compared to greater misfortunes that have befallen others all over the world but it is the most trying moment of my life.
Sixteen days before my seventeenth birthday, my father died. Nine days before my birthday, he was buried. The entire episode is a blur now, except for one moment that remains as clear as if it was yesterday. It was during the vigil and I was standing in front of my father’s casket with several thoughts running through my mind.
I was drowning in grief because my father and I had always had a special bond. I was also terrified because I thought tomorrow for my mother, my siblings and me, was rapidly fading into the shadows. I knew several instances of how the death of a man had led to the complete ruin of his wife and children, because his family members thought the widow and her kids had no right to his property. I was afraid because I thought my family’s and my life was ending at the same time with my father’s.
Leslie, my friend, was standing next to me. The relationship between Leslie and me might have been romantic, had I given him the chance. But at the time of my father’s death, we were just friends.
There I was, confused and afraid as I looked at my father for the last time. I was drowning in anguish when, suddenly, Leslie held my hand.
Holding hands may often be a small gesture, but sometimes, it has immeasurable power, as I found out that evening. Holding hands could be for emotional support, to help someone walk, stand up or climb somewhere, or to rescue someone from a dangerous situation. Leslie’s hand was all of the above.
In that moment, for some reason I cannot explain, my heartache vanished for an instant, the uncertainty was gone and somehow, I knew everything was going to be fine.
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