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Radhika Kannan: This is Why We Need to Stand by Each Other
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Radhika Kannan: This is Why We Need to Stand by Each Other

Radhika Kannan - Stand Together

Radhika Kannan opens up about how she coped with her mother's death and became more of a complete person as a result.


During the winter of my junior year, my mom died from what started out as the flu. I could not understand how in a span of three days someone who I had just talked to and who had laughed at my crazy jokes could somehow cease to exist. I learned that as much as I looked for answers for what had happened, some events in life are unpredictable and don't have clear answers. Coming back to college was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Among my group of friends, I began to feel like an outsider, someone who was incomplete, but I had to accept that this was my new reality. I would not be able to call my mom about my bad days, my good news, or even that econometrics final, which I had studied so hard for, but still felt like I knew nothing.

It was in one of those moments when I was emotionally at my lowest and really did not feel like facing college every single day that I understood that I had to let people in. I had been fiercely independent to the point where it was a source of pride for me not to ask for help, but I needed help. People who I have never before approached for any kind of personal assistance helped me in such unexpected and touching ways. People opened their doors and opened their hearts, sometimes even sharing personal stories of loss with me. They gave me a sense of hope, optimism, and just made me laugh in what was such a dark time for me. The way in which we stand by each other makes for a solid foundation for becoming resilient.

The fact is life is really unpredictable, which all of us will find out to varying degrees. I am not ashamed to admit that I am afraid for the future. We are entering a world that is changing faster than ever, from climate change to population growth, but one that is also improving every day. I leave you with this final thought. I urge you to think about which communities you can let in and which communities you have the power and ability to affect.

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