Sadness is part of life. However, there’s a strange reality of life during pandemic is that I have continued to go on without acknowledging all the cumulative losses.
Since March of 2020, I have experienced being laid off, being rehired 3 months later, moving during the pandemic, and loss of physical support systems. Things I have gained are a lot of zoom friends, online support, new passion/hobby, and a dog.
In the beginning, there a lot of anxiety but also the excitement of the unknown. Fast forward almost two years later, two vaccine shots and a booster shot later, I have endured a slow loss of the life I had known before. Many nights are spent at my home with my dog, and I have slowly embraced my solitude. However, some days a deep sadness and loneliness sets in, where I do not know what to do with. I am struggling to breathe and practice with what is. I sometime waiver and want to feel the void with yet another relationship that is wrong for me. How do I commit, communicate, and cultivate loving friendships and relationships? So far I haven’t discovered an answer, I am trying to live into the answer the best I can.
You asked me in your last letter, “should I fear death?” I cannot ask that question for you, you have to find out the answer to that questions by living and dying.
I will not quote spiritual books to you or speak in terms of academic theology, I will speak from my own truth simple and plain. I do not know what lies after death. However, I do know that our life here is but a blink of an eye; human beings are but children to ancient trees or wise old turtle. Everything no matter how long it lives, will eventually die.
I am not a Buddhist, yet the wisdom of the Buddha’s words rings true, everything is impermanent. And yet, the impermanence of life does not render life meaningless, but each moment is precious and an opportunity to be present.
So my friend, we who live in a culture that denies death, we can be countercultural and embrace the truth of death and impermanence. Also, it does not mean our embracing the truth of impermanence will make our grief any less, when we say goodbye to someone we love due to death. Saying goodbye to a life is always hard, otherwise we would not be human, and yet it does not mean we have to wallow in sadness in pain.
My young friend, live now, so you have fully lived when it is your time to welcome death. For death is the great unknown, when we know not when it will knock at our door. Sit, breathe and inquire with curiosity your fear and find what lies underneath.
It is a joy to be your friend and companion on this journey of seeking and discovering. Be well.
“13 Things I love about you”
(a poem dedicated to my daughter)
I love the way you wrinkle your nose.
I love the way you shrug your shoulders, when I am too silly.
I love the way you laugh.
I love the way you ask for cuddles, before I tuck you and kiss you goodnight.
I love how creative you are, when we play games with our imagination.
I love how you jump out of bed full of energy, and that you wait for me to have my first cup of coffee.
I love how you dance.
I love that you love to sing.
I love that you love the environment.
I love, when you get excited about the rain.
I love, when you get excited about the ocean.
I love that you ask me to read to you.
I love you being you.
my identity is etched into my skin
but unlike a tattoo,
it’s not drawn in with ink.
who I am has been etched into me
by my ancestors, by codes of DNA,
and the prayers of my people.
I am so much more than the labels
society puts on me.