Grief is Hardest at Night

And anxiety casts scary shadows

Dr. Furaha Asani
3 min readAug 23, 2021


Image from Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels

I too lost my breath the day he died.

Don’t get me wrong, I always knew he would eventually. I knew he should because of the laws of nature. I knew he could because he kept reminding us that one day, we all will. I still can’t believe he actually went and did it.

And five years later here I am, still a casualty of his absence. Living my daily life anywhere on the spectrum of being the world record keeper for the longest breath ever held, and being a zombie- albeit an efficient and charming one. And yet zombieland has not spared me from still being a victim of the human condition with all its associated entrapments and feelings. So, my best hope is to make do in these liminal spaces where so many of us reside till I am ready to breathe again. ‘One day at a time’-ing it just to get by.

At least I have now come to the acceptance that nothing could have saved me from this grief.

They say it’s the price I have to pay for the love that was. To me it’s the price I have to pay for the love that must continue across the realms of the living and the dead. It is the price I will willingly keep paying to make sure my faith too, doesn’t die; the doubting belief that when I’m done with this earth I will see his face in the crowd of my ancestors welcoming me to the other side.

And so believe I must.

In a heaven that exists only beyond the confines of my flesh. I dream of it and must keep dreaming even as I lie awake at the ungodly hour when my ungodly fears threaten to physically manifest at ‘any moment now’. Shutting my eyes, as I did as a child, makes no difference in my adulthood; over the years the terrors diffused from the dark corners of my room into my mind.

But twice, he saved me. First, I dreamed of him gently pulling the blankets a little tighter round my shoulders. And many months later, when the darkness of the outside world closed in again and all my uncried tears crystallized into unbearable knots in my muscles, the same dream came.

Daddy, punctual in life and afterlife.

But tonight I’m ok, I swear.

The burdens don’t feel so burdensome and the darkness is bearable. My eyes are dry and my lids aren’t heavy as they shut for the wakeful dreaming- a mini-death of its own- for a few hours. There is no fear in my heart as I ignore the monster at the bottom of my bed.

No tossing and turning, the silence forms a truce between me and my grief. We are both tired and ready to surrender to unconsciousness. As I let go, a fatigued spark of hope ignites and whispers into the ear of my heart that he might visit me in my dreams tonight. And just maybe, tomorrow will be the day I try to exhale.



Dr. Furaha Asani

Migrant. Postdoctoral researcher. Teacher. Mental Health Advocate. Writer. Professional in the streets, loud on the sheets of paper.