Thursday, May 24, 2012

we still remember ..

my grandfather passed away two years ago.  when my family gathered together, my sister lamented how grandpa was gone and we'll never see him again.

i then told her that he isn't really gone;
with a critical eyebrow, she asked me what in the world are you talking about?
so i told her that i don't believe in souls, but i believe in the essence of every person. [1]

you see, i told her, as long as we still talk about him, remember him, then he is not truly gone.  it's just that he'll never respond to us again, tell us his good advice for the events that will happen to us.

it is only when the last of us, who knew him, depart from this mortal plane that he will really be gone .. but, by then, it's not like we would be in any condition to lament this, would we?

so i have a point in this, even something slightly mathematical.

today my department held an excursion -- a boat trip, and it was a fine day for it.  as goes the tendency of such events, many colleagues and i got to talking ..

.. and soon we were telling stories about the advisor.

somehow talking about him convinces me (partially) that he is not really gone .. that yes, we all miss him and his ways .. but until he is really forgotten, he will never be truly gone.

[1] i think she thought i had gone crazy.  at that point, i seemed the only one who was not close to tears.  (the way i see it, grandpa had lived beyond the age of 80, which in his generation is doing quite well; he beat the average already!

moreover it was only a few months that he was in poor health, which is more than one can say with many senior citizens with a variety of ailments.  in that sense, i saw it as a good life: many years of health, and a mostly painless way to exit.)

They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death;
And if ever there was, it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

~ walt whitman, leaves of grass

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