It’s been a year since she left. One year since the dreadful night after many dreadful nights in a dreadful hospital where we counted down her last days and breaths and watched her slowly ebb out of our touch forever. One year of absolute horror and trauma and incomprehensible sadness that enveloped my life. But also one year of a heavy move, and renewing some promises to oneself and loved ones. Of trying to do better than this year has been. Of starting a new life in a new city and keeping expectations in line with what life may have to offer and trying to find the joys hidden in small, everyday things like a child.
My father has been with me for the last few weeks. We will be together during this day and tomorrow we will together visit the temple in Pittsburgh. We visited the temple together with Ma in 2008, on her birthday on August 10. We will go back there to remember the wonderful trip we had ten years ago, just the three of us.
This was a difficult week. I felt surrounded by death. Many loved ones were lost in a mindless act of violence in Pittsburgh. Older adults who were gunned down. Someone’s dad, mom, uncle, grandmom. I understand and feel their enormous pain of that loss. I know it will not go away anytime soon. I know that deep sadness that will engulf them for a long time and over time they will find grace in that pang of despair that will hit them. A coworker also lost her husband to illness. He was my age.
Yet another dear friend gave birth. And we are overjoyed to see that too. We mustn’t forget that death surrounds us. We are arrogant and foolish only when we believe we have nothing to lose to death. Death is humbling. It is benevolent. It will teach the living how to live with grace and humility. Death is profoundly human and I seriously believe our behavior towards life would be much more tempered if we were cognizant that we too will die. That the ones we strife against will also no longer be there. That this place we call home will one day be as alien as the next. There must be something more than this. I’m not an atheist nor am I religious. But we have limited time with our loved ones. And that in itself should give life meaning. We don’t need to solve the big questions to realize that.