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San Francisco Botanical Garden

Today marks the first year death anniversary of someone I love so dearly. I chose these pensive black and white pictures I took while walking around San Francisco’s Botanical Garden as my featured photo for today. It is my way of remembering her and writing is one tool I use to express my love for her. The statue of the lady with water flowing from the urn on top of her head gives the illusion that she is weeping. It is appropriate for what I’m feeling today.

San Francisco Botanical Garden

Reflecting on the fatal year that was 2011, I can’t help but feel the same pang of anguish that hit me hard upon hearing that she has terminal cancer. This time, more than any other time in my life, I really felt that I am not free. Yes, no chains are around my feet but I am not free. The rules of the universe enslaved me. I am a lowly subject of the cosmos. I had to dig deep into my soul to find some form of solace. My soul suffered from an incurable form of spiritual lesion, a leprosy that just won’t heal. It was not just due to her suffering. More than anything, it was her death that bothered me the most. Why? Because death is the worst of humanity’s misfortunes, not only for the overwhelming pain it inflicts but most importantly, for the questions it poses about humanity itself. Despite man’s remarkable feats he is nowhere close to answering the basic questions about himself. On one hand, believing that death is the end, makes everything in life devoid of meaning. On the other hand, accepting that man is three-dimensional and that death takes away only the body and the spirit, brings one face-to-face with the inevitable question about the soul and its post-mortem destiny. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Tell me, is there any other way to cope with this enormous loss apart from choosing to believe that I will see her again? Alas! For me, there is no other way to live a life without her.

Mesa Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Yet, despite this hope, it’s still terribly hard to say goodbye. How do you let someone you love with every beat of your heart go? Is it even possible to contain the torment of this human experience into a miserable eulogy? How do I begin to sum up her wonderful life and everything I am feeling? For several months, I interceded for her healing or for her suffering to end quickly – I know these choices are mutually exclusive. Unlike everything else in life, this is black or white – either she lives or she dies. I beseeched the heavens for perseverance and unwavering faith, for the incredible strength needed to make it through this trial by fire.

There are no words to offer any form of comfort. There are no angels to wipe our unending tears. There are no miracles to make our broken hearts whole again. There is no medicine to mend our shattered and terribly wounded souls. There are no armies to fight our battle. However, we were able to take comfort in the fact that she lived a really good life, yay though there is so much more to experience. Yes, we were downtrodden but we didn’t lose the battle. The least we can do now is to honor her by keeping her heritage alive. We promised to live our lives worthy of her and we intend to keep this. We will continue to make her proud. We love you. May you rest in peace. Shalom my love!