The wheel and the windmill

The wheel and the windmill

From afar, and recently, on my trip to India, in person, my Hindu family, friends, neighbors, well-wishers from every sphere of my past, have been swearing on the karmic cycle, the soul, the wheel. Many of them have referred to Raahi as a “liberated soul,” one who has attained moksha or nirvana. I am grateful. It should be enough. The compassion, a heavy sigh, wordlessness. But few people stop at that.

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Death makes the heart grow softer

Death makes the heart grow softer

Then when he was three-and-half years old, his sister died. She went away on a summer morning, and never reappeared. Suddenly from the edge of the carpet, someone could leap to the end of the universe, to a place no one has seen, and no one ever comes back from. He did not understand what death was, or how far it took our little baby. But he loved trains, so his sister, who was the little El train running parallel to him, the bigger Metra, just “went ahead to the next station.”

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The dialogue of death

The dialogue of death

Regardless of the frequent opportunities, I struggle to frame the discussion. Death, of course, does not follow a prescribed timeline, it does not bend to logic or will, it is not fair. Not everyone young will grow old. Far too many times I linger in the anxiety of the subject matter, lost at the beginning of the conversation, pen and mouth idle to find even the first word to console a heartbroken friend, or to answer an inquisitive 4-year-old.

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The Ring Theory of what (not) to say

The Ring Theory of what (not) to say

'How Not To Say The Wrong Thing' was originally published in the LA Times in 2013. There is a way, it purports, to show up in the company of people in the middle of crisis, trauma, and loss. People say there is no right or wrong way to grieve and that's true. The aggrieved grieve as they must, a hundred different ways, as is their emotional autonomy. But there sure as hell is a wrong way to be around grieving people. I've seen it. I've witnessed it. Have you?

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Completely incomplete

Completely incomplete

A baby entered my home for the first time, but she wasn't mine. My son watched the baby tentatively, and finally went over to say hello. Uncertain of how to greet her, he waved. He was fascinated by her tiny fingers and toes, miniature in comparison to his own. All the while, I was fascinated by his bravery, strength, and resilience. He was thinking about his lost sister, the one he never met. The one he often longs for. He handled this other baby, his cousin, so well. So did I. If he could handle it, so could I.

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