Tag Archives: deaths and births

Huis No More

I have been called a lot of unflattering things in my life. One of the earlier ones of that series was that I was hard-hearted, which I countered by pointing out that I was perhaps harder on myself than anybody else. Thankfully, my accuser concurred. One of the recent epithets in the same vein is that I’m cold and calculated, and I use my head to think rather than my heart; I believe it is a fair assessment. Dan weer, using my head is the only way I know how to think (wat, natuurlik, is exactly the sort of cynical comments that earned me the said assessment.)

Lees verder

Kers wat brand Bright

'N klasmaat van my van IIT oorlede 'n paar dae gelede. Toe ek hoor die skokkende nuus, Ek wou iets oor hom te skryf. Wat my opgekom was 'n paar onsamehangende herinneringe, en ek het gedink ek sou dit hier te deel. Vir vrees dat meer pyn aan diegene naby aan hom, Ek hou al die identifisering van verwysings na 'n minimum.

Ons gebruik hom PJ te bel — 'n afkorting vir 'n effens beledigende uitdrukking, wat waarskynlik in ons akademiese jaloesie het sy oorsprong. PJ was akademies briljant, en gegradueer aan die bokant van 'n klas vol byna patologies mededingende en helder IITians. Dit intensiteit wat hy uit te oefen op die minder bonatuurlike is deel van my eerste herinnering.

Ontsteld deur hierdie intensiteit, ons weer 'n afvaardiging gevorm om te appelleer aan PJ se beter aard. Ek kan nie onthou wat dit geïnisieer, of selfs wat daar was in die afvaardiging. Maar dit is beslis voel soos iets wat Lux of Rat sou doen; of Kutty, miskien, As ons kon kry om hom enigiets te doen. In elk geval, ons PJ genader en versoek dat hy neem dit maklik. “Wat is die big deal, man? Stadig maar seker wen die wedloop, jy weet.” PJ se reaksie was 'n eye-opener. “Seker,” het hy gesê, “maar vinnig en bestendige is beter!”

Ek is seker dit vinnig en woedend tempo van PJ se briljantheid het hom baie welverdiende toekennings later in 'n leeftyd miskien die beste gemeet word in terme van die kwaliteit eerder as kwantiteit, impak eerder as lang lewe. Maar PJ was nog nooit 'n alles-werk-en-no-speel mede. Ek onthou een keer toe die MardiGras meisies het na die Mandak eetsaal (“gemors”) om te eet. Bestudering van hulle met die ongelukkige ywer dat slegs 'n mede-IITian ten volle kan waardeer, ons bespreek hierdie ontwikkeling met PJ. Hy het gesê, “Ja, ons wil om te mors met hulle!”

IIT met ons gebeur het op 'n ouderdom wanneer vriendskappe gekom maklik en die bande gesmee gebly sterk. Met PJ gegaan en die verbindings 'n bietjie swakker, Ek voel 'n bietjie van die ontrafeling. En die weemoed woorde wat lui in my gedagte herinner my — vra nie vir wie die klok lui, Daar is gedurig bewyse.

PJ was 'n briljante man. Ek hoop sy briljantheid sou bron van krag en moed aan diegene naby aan hom. Jy weet wat hulle sê, 'n kers wat brand twee keer so helder brand die helfte so lank. Met een van ons helderste kerse vlam uit, wat ek voel is 'n gevoel van 'n paar donker dalende iewers ver.

Foto deur armin_vogel cc

Dood van 'n ouer

Dad
My father passed away early this morning. For the past three months, he was fighting a heart failure. But he really had little chance because many systems in his body had started failing. Hy was 76.

I seek comfort in the fact that his memories live on. His love and care, and his patience with my silly, childhood questions will all live on, not merely in my memories, hopefully in my actions as well.

Perhaps even the expressions on his face will live on for longer than I think.

Dad and NeilDeath is as much a part of life as birth. Anything that has a beginning has an end. So why do we grieve?

We do because death stands a bit outside our worldly knowledge, beyond where our logic and rationality apply. So the philosophical knowledge of the naturalness of death does not always erase the pain.

But where does the pain come from? It is one of those questions with no certain answers, and I have only my guesses to offer. When we were little babies, our parents (or those who played the parents’ role) stood between us and our certain death. Our infant mind perhaps assimilated, before logic and and rationality, that our parents will always stand face-to-face with our own end — distant perhaps, but dead certain. With the removal of this protective force field, the infant in us probably dies. A parent’s death is perhaps the final end of our innocence.

Dad and NeilKnowing the origin of pain is little help in easing it. My trick to handle it is to look for patterns and symmetries where none exists — like any true physicist. Death is just birth played backwards. One is sad, the other is happy. Perfect symmetry. Birth and life are just coalescence of star dust into conscious beings; and death the necessary disintegration back into star dust. From dust to dust… Compared to the innumerable deaths (and births) that happen all around us in this world every single second, one death is really nothing. Patterns of many to one and back to countless many.

We are all little droplets of consciousness, so small that we are nothing. Tog, part of something so big that we are everything. Here is a pattern I was trying to find — materially made up of the same stuff that the universe is made of, we return to the dust we are. So too spiritually, mere droplets merge with an unknowable ocean.

Going still further, all consciousness, spirituality, star dust and everything — these are all mere illusory constructs that my mind, my brain (which are again nothing but illusions) creates for me. So is this grief and pain. The illusions will cease one day. Perhaps the universe and stars will cease to exist when this little droplet of knowledge merges with the anonymous ocean of everything. The pain and grief also will cease. In time.