For Waldo

Death brings people together at one of the worst moments of your life. But it also teaches you a lesson. Recently, after the death of my cousin, Waldo, who was more like a brother, I was reminded that I should be grateful for my life.

Gratitude is a simple attribute of being thankful. Yet in this society, there are very few people who show gratitude.  From my experience,  gratitude can take you to incredible places. I am grateful for all the little things: my flaws, my crooked teeth, smiles in the hall, my books, my support system.  I could go on and on. But one of the most important things I am grateful for is my life, every breath I take, and this includes my anxiety.   I was reminded of the importance of life recently when my cousin, Atheesh Balasubramaniam, aka Waldo, was suddenly killed in a car accident on December 26th, 2016. My cousin was on his way home to Pickering when he was involved in a 3 car collision and was pronounced dead at the scene”. At the time, someone close to me told me that “it’s good to use something negative in your life as a positive”. This really resonated so I stopped dwelling on the past. Moving forward I decided to cherish everything I have, everything I’ve seen, and all the memories I’ve made. I use a gratitude journal, journal, blog as well as simply writing whenever it strikes me. Though my anxiety is like a monster living inside of my brain, it is one of the many pieces that make up ME!  It makes me unique. Sure, anxiety can be bad, but understanding my anxiety has led to some unexpected positive things as well – like me becoming really productive, something new for me after my diagnosis.  I never got the chance to tell Waldo that I had a generalized anxiety disorder but I hope he is looking down on me now and saying he’s proud of me for not only getting help but also opening up about it.  He has become my guardian angel, and I will do everything I can to honor him.  He was one of the few people on this earth who could make me smile at any moment, and he my friends, was taken way too damn soon.

Waldo was someone I would depend on and turn to in times of trouble. I vividly remember Snapchatting you whenever something big happened to me and you would congratulate me. You would tell me that the best is yet to come and that I could accomplish my dreams. When I told you I was thinking about applying to college instead you did not question it, you simply said that it was my decision and that you believed in me. You told me that I could do it and that’s all I needed to hear.

Waldo was a fourth-year university student who was a blessing to me. He was a family man who worked two jobs. He was like no other person I knew. He was optimistic who could be seen smiling at any given moment. This smile captivated the hearts of many people including mine. His smile could light up an entire city. He inspired and encouraged me to follow my dreams. He changed the lives of people around him and made them so damn proud. I am proud to say, you were my brother. You will and always will be a blessing. You hold a special piece of my heart. I love you more than you know

I remember your funeral, where I heard the cries of your parents. Everyone was asking questions of how you could be taken away so soon. I remember seeing your pale gray body in your casket that you were too tall for. Your face did not look the same, it wasn’t my Waldo in there.  I still see you being carried by all of your brothers, with “See You Again” being played in the car you had created with your best friend. My heart still aches when I hear your name or think of you.  When I close my eyes all I see is your dad pressing the button to cremate you. And at that moment I died a little, knowing my favorite person in the world would no longer be here for me.

When I think of you I think of all my memories of you. From our sleepovers to breaking the lights from playing silent ball, to Neopets, to endless Mario kart races to playing little big planet to deep talks in the basement eating frosted flakes. All I know is that these memories will be cherished. The memory of my superman will live in my heart forever. I will continue to tell you all my problems and accomplishments. You are my shining light. My guardian angel. My everything. My Heart and Soul. I love you so damn much Waldo.
-XOXO chana

5 thoughts on “For Waldo”

  1. A very moving, honest and thoughtful article. I am truly sorry for your loss. Anxiety is a thing for me as well that comes and goes in waves. I think it’s amazing that you are tackling it and I’m sure everyone close to you, will be proud. It’s not spoken about enough, and sharing will really help yourself and others. 🙂


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