What we inherit
Looking back on the last 48 years of my life, I start to realize the transience of people’s lives.
If we look back on our lives as we remember them, we can make a general conception of what a “lifetime” is.
And yet, for each person, each day is the youngest they will ever be again. We cling to each day and remember that the end of our lifetime is still far in the future, and feel comforted by the routine of waking up each day.
However, as long as we’re alive, everyone must eventually face death.
We face it on our own, facing many near-death experiences. Or, because of our own inability to help someone. I have experienced the grief from death perhaps more than average.
What is life? What is death?
I thought I had a good understanding of what these questions mean.
Even when experiencing feelings of despair, I have been able to find “life” and move on.
On December 27, my father passed away suddenly.
He had been in and out of the hospital many times for the past few years. I could say he’s a father who has been brought back many times from the brink of death.
He hated hospitals and always wanted to be discharged immediately. He was sometimes selfish, and it was hard on my mother. But, he was so full of energy, I always thought my father would live to be 100 years old.
Seven days after his cancer was declared to be in remission, he passed away.
There’s a superstition that “If you cut your nails at night, you won’t be there when your parents die.” I faithfully followed this maxim, and yet, I wasn’t there for his final days. On his second last day, I visited my parent’s house, but only spoke with my mother, because my father was sleeping. Even on the day he died, I went to my parent’s house, but I couldn’t meet my father, so I left.
From childhood, my father always doted on me, the youngest of three. He was pretty strict with my older siblings, but not with me. I loved and respected him a lot.
The last few years, though, dealing with my father’s attitude became kind of a hassle. I feel like I may have been staying away from them. I never really rebelled against my parents when I was young, but maybe it was just that my rebellious phase came late.
I wonder if he noticed? I don’t know, and I can’t ask now. In my impudence, I have come to bear a tremendous amount of regret.
Grieving my father has been very painful. I have come to understand the unease people feel.
At the same time, I’m slowly understanding what I inherited from my father. With that realization, I feel a sadness and emptiness beyond imagination. What we understand when we experience the death of a parent is when we understand our lives.
Life is something that we pass on. Being born, dying. There is no inherent meaning.
When people are born, we inherit something important and by doing so, we understand what it is to live.
When you go to a funeral, it’s not a celebration. You can understand about a family and its members.
Everyone experiences one lifetime. I feel the answer to the meaning of each life lies within us.
On New Year’s Eve, as the snowflakes dance in a blizzard, I see a long line of mourners.
I feel I understand what I inherited.
To everyone who was part of my father’s life, to everyone who attended the funeral and wake, to those who gave offerings from far away. On behalf of my family, I would like to express our deepest gratitude. Thank you so much for your kindness.
From those of us who remain, thank you for your continued support.