I don’t deserve to live.

Nata was better than me. Annousheh was better than me. They should have lived, and I should have died.

When I let myself think this—because it feels like a forbidden thought—it is like a door opens. I feel better.

My dad didn’t spare my life because I deserved to live. It’s a fluke. It’s a fluke that they are dead and I’m alive. It’s part of the grief: a part of what has been lost is any kind of fairness. It’s like a hole in the world. Yes, things aren’t fair sometimes, and it’s not important just not to know that. You also have to know that the unfairness hurts.

I have not let the unfairness of it hurt. I suppressed all expectation of fairness, and that has not, on the whole, worked out well for me. A part of what has to be restored after traumatic events is that expectation of fairness. Without it, you never protest injustice. You never try to improve your life if it is not in a good place. You stay in this place of, “Well, shit happens.” And shit just goes on happening because of that.

After trauma, you have to process this idea that life was radically unfair for a bit, and it could be terribly unfair again, but a lot of the time it is sort of fair. Not entirely so, but kind of.

And the way to restore it is to feel the pain over that rent in the fairness of the fabric of your life.