I had to overcome the fear of talking to my friend about losing his father. In Afghanistan, it is not okay to talk about the people who are not with us anymore because it is believed that it will sadden the person and makes them cry. And if you are a man in Afghanistan, it seems culturally odd to cry. Greif and loss of someone are possible drivers of depression and many other mental distresses, however, they are completely ignored in the country. After having a conversation with my friend, he said that our conversation made him feel being understood that gave him a good feeling.

My friend did not have a good relationship with his father for about 7 years. He always thought that “he did not have a good father” and it was his choice to never talk about his problem with him. About a year ago, his father had a minor brain attack and his health declined day by day afterwards. About 6 months ago, the father died. My friend never took the chance to talk to his dad in his last days of living regardless of his father’s attempts to talk to my friend for the last time. When he passed away, my friend was mentally shocked since he was not prepared for his death. My friend cried for many days but his mother, his friends and his relatives always told him that “your father was old and sick, he is relieved that he doesn’t have to go through his pain anymore.” What he was told never calmed him down. It was the first time after 7 years that he felt how much he loved his father and how much he needed his father by his side. He always remembered his father’s kindness towards him. He felt guilty his attitude towards his father. It was no one in the family who could calm him down or look at things from his point of view. He could not share with his family how guilty he feels. His feelings of guilt made him depressed and isolated.

After two months, he decided to compensate for his behaviour by praying for his father, going to his grave side and donating to charities. It was then that he felt better about himself. The belief that his charities would help his father in the other world made him proud. When he was not as guilty as before, he started to talk to his friends about importance of having conversations with their parents and he wrote about them for the public. He shared his own experience of guilt and the pain the went though after losing his father in order to help his friends and reader of his writings to have better relationships with their parents, especially boys with their fathers. His writings to the public was a tool that worked as pain reliefs.

By the start of new year, he returned to having a normal life. He goes to school and sees his mother and other family members regularly. He is very thankful to have his mother, sister and brother around him.