On Sunday it’s Father’s Day. The idea seems a bit odd to me now, a celebration of the paternal figure in your life, that is supposed to happen even if you’re well separated from your father and rarely talk. Last year, my own father called to wish me a happy birthday. Which is nice, but he was a month early. He’d forgotten his son’s birthday.
We had a laugh about it, but that’s kind of emblematic of our relationship. We more or less know each other exists, and hope for the best for each other in a general sort of way, but we really don’t have much connection beyond that anymore.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week, because as I mentioned last week, Corey Wren’s story about grief hit very close to home as our own little dog was having issues. Unfortunately, on Wednesday, those issues culminated in us having to kill her.
People like to use softer language about that sort of thing: put her down, put her to sleep, let her go, but in my heart of hearts I can’t avoid that blood-curdling knowledge that we killed her. Our little companion, our bundle of unconditional love that trusted us and worshipped us for eleven years—we killed her.
And even knowing that it was the best decision, that the only other option was allowing her to live in suffering—suffocating in the air that her little lungs could no longer fully process—doesn’t seem to give me any comfort.
How does this tie into my father? Because that happening, and the closeness of Father’s Day, it made me realize that I essentially have no friends. Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of great people, especially the writers here at the Voice, but aside from my partner, who is of course dealing with the exact same issues and needs just as much support as I do, every relationship I’m in is a supervisory one in some capacity, either as employee or nominal supervisor. And I don’t think it’s appropriate to attempt to put this kind of pain onto them, even if they could, or would, accept or understand it.
But how does any of this tie into you, as an AU student? Well, while I’ve always been a strong proponent of distance education over brick-and-mortar, especially for people who are neuro-diverse or suffering severe anxiety, it does have the downside that it makes it far too easy to avoid getting entangled with anyone else if you don’t want to. And while most of the time that may seem to be a blessing, there comes a time when you look around and realize you’ve done too well at being the independent student, the isolated learner.
So you might want to take the time, here and there, to get to know some of your fellow students. You can start by reading this issue of The Voice Magazine, of course, where fellow students are putting forward their ideas and thoughts on all kinds of things, and where we can see, as we do in this week’s interview, some of the amazing and varied people who’ve come to AU.
From there, maybe you want to consider writing for the Voice, and that way be able to join in our own little discord group of like-minded students and graduates. Who knows, maybe you’ll make a friend as you enjoy the read.