Sunday, September 12, 2010

death (and life).

this is a pretty sad post, so i decided to put the happiest, cutest picture i could find at the top.

yesterday my fiancé found out one of her college friends (and husband) died in a car accident Friday.

we were taken aback, sad, and remorsed (is that a word?), but are ultimately ok. our thoughts go out to Yu Lin + John's family and friends. this is never easy.

i had only met the couple once at their wedding in San Francisco a few years ago. we had a great time, but as with all weddings, didn't get to spend too much time with the couple. we were actually supposed to see them next weekend at another friend's wedding, and had just mentioned how we were looking forward to get to know them as a couple, etc. i guess that will never happen.

but it sparked a number of conversations and thoughts on the broader topic.

it was too soon. 
in our late 20s/early 30s, it always seems like one week after another, someone is getting engaged, married, or having a kid. we've even had our first few divorces. and yes, there is death. but as we get older - into our 60s, 70s, 80s - what milestones do you look forward to hearing from your friends about? unfortunately - it's not life (unless you count grandchildren - but i assume you get desensitized to the good news/cuteness that comes with the territory of being a new grandparent).

it should have been something (someone) else.
we expect death to come in an expected manner - like with old age and disease. it doesn't make those things any easier, but you have time to steady yourself for the worst. but at any point lightning, a bus, or worse could strike, and you're done. no one wanted this to happen, but did it have to be in such a manner? if you read the article linked above, you'll note that the person whose fault it was survives. they'll get on with their lives, but they've ruined countless others. this was nothing intentional, but that doesn't make it fair, or right.

life is precious. 
it sounds cliche, but sadly rings true more now than usual. this came out of nowhere, and frankly it could have happened to any of us. our immediate shock made everything else big (career, vacations, etc) seem insignificant, and everything else small (meals at home, talking with your friends) seem more important. animals and insects reproduce litters and swarms - knowing that many will die, and few will survive. even our ancestors had many children, because there was no certainty how many would survive to carry the family on. but in our modern society, families usually can only afford/manage to have 2-3 children. and so much goes into them. for something like this to happen becomes all the more devastating.

it will always hurt.
a few years ago a close childhood friend passed away. my dad spoke at his funeral. sadly, death is nothing new to my father, as he has seen most of his family (in India) pass away over the course of his adult life. he said something that really stuck with me (i'm paraphrasing):
"people say you'll get over it in time. they're wrong. you don't. you never forget these people. you keep them with you, they become a part of you. what's painful now becomes something you learn to endure, and not as hard to live with anymore."

i'm now going to make cupcakes. i would advise you do the same.

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