My mom and I try to humor each other, as she wraps up her quarantine, and stint with covid. This time we picked a sensitive topic. But it made us smile and giggle for sure. Just that post that conversation, I turned into a lump of guilt that is is hard to swallow.

My father was a people person. He could not see them in pain. And he used whatever resources he had, and he had none, to help those who needed it. He donated blood multiple times a year, because that is what he could give. He didn’t have money to give.

His benevolence and desire to help everyone was often a cause of concern in the house. My mother worried about how he would put others before self and lose track of time, while his family would wait for him to come home.

So I tickled her with the idea – “ what if Papa was around and seeing all this happen? He would have rushed to the streets to help the sick. Leaving us all worried about his health.” She laughed, “ yes, it would have been tough for him to stay at home and watch the news, and it would have added to my agony.” Both of us shyed away from saying the obvious. It’s good he is not seeing this. It would have been very hard for him to stay put.

And now my lump of guilt. When in a rough situation, I always ask myself – what would he have done. And although he and I are two very different people, I lead with his values and use my actions. I didn’t believe in how he put his values to work. But those values bind us.

Today, while I know what he would have done, I am still not sure what I can do. Kindness, empathy, check in on family, friend, co workers from past lives. I’m checking all those boxes but it is not enough. And I know I cannot do much sitting here except donate money. He had blood to give. Perhaps I can give my mind and my time. May be. But how do I put it to use? How do I channel my energy towards something that actually helps. I don’t know. I feel helpless and futile. That lump keeps growing. I cannot help it.

I seek energy from people. So when they are not happy, I also absorb their sorrows. It’s hard to absorb the sorrow without an outlet. And that’s where I am at. A worst place than I was a week ago when my family’s health was distracting me from the scene at large. As my mind opens up, it is absorbing a lot of pain and agony, and it’s making me sick. I don’t have an answer or a plan.

I am just an idealistic father’s foolish daughter trying to do good to the values he instilled in me. At loss of words and actions, waiting for an outlet that I can pour my blood and sweat into. And may be the outlet won’t come, and the agony will subside and I will accept that I cannot be like him.

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