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