Luis Diaz Peralta’s game showed how the holidays can change drastically when you lose a loved one. The gameplay consists of changing images found in a present. You change it from images of a happy Christmas to the hospitalization and death of Peralta’s grandfather. It was a beautiful tribute to his grandfather, made with love, and extremely relatable.
After losing a loved one, times of joy become times of sorrow and, if you are holding everything in, times where you have to pretend you are doing alright. Some of the screens in Peralta’s game show a happy family together, but others show the grandfather missing. They still gather for Christmas and act like things are normal, or can be, but that missing piece will always be the elephant in the room.
For me, Christmas is pretty difficult, as my family remembers my grandma sitting in the chair at the back of the room, watching as we open up our presents and smiling at us when we got something we wanted. The smiling that we can’t see anymore. She doesn’t sit with us during our dinner anymore, and her seat has been taken over by another family member, as a reminder that things are different and they will always be.
I have the same grieving problems about my friend who passed away in 2017. I can’t enter my old English class I had with her without thinking about her seat in the room, specifically about her now sitting in it anymore. She isn’t sitting there telling the class about her day, and laughing at the various comical moments in the class, nor is she standing shoeless by the door waiting to leave when the bell rings. I remember the last time I saw her, standing around three feet from the door surrounded by classmates, and having the teacher confront her about her not wearing shoes.
So my favorite classroom with my favorite teacher became a symbol of what I had lost, and the regrets about not talking to her more and losing connection with her through most of my time at high school. Now when I go into that terrific classroom, I am terrified that I will remember everything and have an anxiety attack and revert to my broke down and grieving self.
The drastic change after tragedies such as the death of a loved one is heartbreaking. Amazing days become days where it is harder to cope, and average days become hard when doing certain tasks that remind you of your friend or family member who lost their life. Peralta’s game brought me to tears as I saw the parallels between his experience and mine, where one moment you are having a great time with an amazing grandparent, and just a year later, you are left wondering if anything will ever feel as amazing as it did last year.
For people currently grieving, please seek out support through various resources such as grief groups, or a therapist to help you through coping. Do not hold stuff in and deteriorate mentally as I did. Please seek help, and remember that crying and showing your pain are not signs of weakness and are completely normal and needed in some situations.