In the morning of Saturday 8th March, 2014, I woke up to the news that Malaysian flight MH370 had disappeared. How can a huge Boeing 777 vanish into thin air? All social medias has gone berserk with news of all sorts; from worried families and friends, rumours, speculations galore. I just didn't know what to think or believe. I tried my best to put it out of my head. But it was simply impossible to do.
On the following Monday, I was called in to volunteer as a counselor for this mission. Families of passengers on board the flight were all accommodated in a local hotel. A family crisis centre was put in place and I was happy I could be useful. I decided to clear all my work schedule and dedicate my full commitment to this mission.
Despite the fact that I was working in a highly tensed and stressful environment, I was calm. I was driven and fully conscious of what needed to get done. I responded accordingly and professionally. I even surprised myself when I realised that my depression and anxiety had flown out the window! Wonderful, right? But my heart still bleeds for the families and friends of those on board the missing flight.
Due to the nature of my work, I am not at liberty to divulge details. All I can say is after 105 hours of volunteering work in the span of a month, I learnt something about myself. I felt like as if I had walked into a storm and come out of it a changed person. I'm no longer the same. I don't know how else to articulate that.
As I'm writing this, its been more than a month since the flight had disappeared. No debris to prove of any crash. So many conspiracy theories circulating around the social media. We still do not know what had happened to it.
The way the human mind works when there's no information or news forthcoming, we tend to go to the next best thing we have, and that is to draw our own conclusion. And we do this in order to survive, to move forward, to let go, to accept that things have changed. We do this to cope. And at our worst, we would form assumptions and conclusions laced with fear of the unknown, uncertainties and anticipation of loss. And for as long as the truth of what had indeed happened eludes us, we have nothing but that: assumptions of the worst. Its our way of preparing ourselves for the worst pain we might have to endure.
My own personal perspective is not exclusive to this option. I find myself assuming the worst when I'm left in the dark where there use to be light. I'm left to keep on standing on my own when there was once a source of support that I could lean on. I'm left dealing with uncertainties in place of a time when promises were made and believed. I am no longer sure where I belong or what grounds I'm standing on.
I've seen the best and I know it well. I say this with great certainty because I had experienced it personally in multiple occasions, so much so that I've learnt to rely on it being something dependable. Precedence set and carved in stone. But it's no longer there. So, where is the best as promised?
What I now know for sure is that in moments of grief and loss, most people react with anger. Nothing is ever good enough. Everything is a source of provocation to bring about wrath and you become the punching bag for them to let out their frustrations. But I'm also aware of my own limitations. I cannot see in the dark. I cannot hear what is unspoken. I cannot know what is not told. I am no longer sure where I belong. But its been made clear to me where I don't belong.
And so, I continue to stand still. Still standing and standing still. Unknowing. Hoping for a single slither of hope. For closure.