Earlier today I was told of the abrupt passing of someone I met once a few months ago, and who last emailed me last week . I don’t know how to cope.
His name was Mattias, a tall and dignified gentleman in his late 30s, early 40s. He was the coordinator of a rehabilitation project geared towards young adults 18-29 with psychological distress to reintegrate into society through helping them with whatever connections, networking, training they need. I keep remembering the last email he sent me after I had to cancel our second meeting, “ it’s ok Mulki, let me know when you feel better and we’ll make a new appointment.”
I’m in denial. I don’t know how to react. I’m not a crier but I’m crying, in short bursts whenever I remember our first meeting where he was listening very intensely to what I had dealt with and what dreams I wanted help with. And how he was so validating and warm. And amazed at my intelligence and wisdom.
I keep asking myself, how is it possible? He emailed me a couple of days ago…
The first meeting was an intial assessment of my needs after which he’d convene with his colleagues to see if they could take me on ( they are like a support group that helps you with customized and inclusive plans) . I didn’t make it to the second meeting because my ptsd was triggered and it sent me into an intensely painful episode that I’m still engulfed in, 3 weeks on.
In a way, I’m glad I couldn’t make it because if I had met with him more times, I don’t know how his death would affect me.
I’m very very sensitive. I feel so connected to everyone. Just today, before I got the bad news , I was at the local pharmacist’s to order my antidepressants and a Somali auntie was there who didn’t know much Swedish. She was fairly new to the country and she asked me to translate for her as she had prescriptions she wanted to take out. I said alright.
The pharmacist was an old white lady with a faint eastern European accent to her otherwise impeccable Swedish. She was completely cordial with me, but when she turned to the Somali auntie, she became a stone-hearted bitch. She was rolling her eyes and sighing and showing frustration.
She even told me to explain how to take the medication to her since there was no point for her to explain it as the Somali auntie was most probably going to forget.
I said, you don’t know that. Explain it to me and I’ll translate it.
She dismissed me saying that the directions are written on the package.
I told her not to dismiss me and explain it, it wasn’t my obligation to read.
She told the auntie the total price and as I was explaining to her – she was also illiterate btw- the pharmacist snapped and told me to wrap it up as she had customers!
I fucking blew my fuse and told her that she had no goddamn right to treat that auntie that way JUST BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T SWEDISH! I told her that she was also a customer and had every right to take her time! I told her I didn’t like the way she was discriminating against her.
The auntie isn’t getting why I’m fuming and I told her let’s go. I had only met her 10 minutes prior but I felt so protective of her, and after we parted I thought of creating a support group for Somali immigrants. I couldn’t imagine what they must be going through, all the passive aggression and covert racism and condescension.
I was in those thoughts when I got the email.
I say that to say, I have a bleeding heart and my empathy is so extreme that I end up experiencing people’s pain as if it were mine – even from pain I glean from what’s left unsaid. And setting boundaries to protect ME has been an uphill battle.
I always end up numbing myself, keeping my pain to myself. I guess this post is my way of telling myself that I have a right to feel broken and sad. That my feelings are more than fleeting inconveniences or afterthoughts.