I have so much to say to you, but I am hesitant. After all of these years, I struggle with the fine line between what part of a story is mine and what part of it belongs to the other people in the story.
You cannot crystallize the meaning of a life into a sentence or a group of sentences. Lives are collections of moments and emotions. Not just the emotions you feel or the moments you experience, but all of the emotions and moments that connect others to you and you to them.
This weekend, I watched my father in law breathe his last breath. This is not a metaphor. I heard the last breath leave him. I am not the person who walked into that hospital room anymore, and I can never go back to being that person, either. My heart is broken in a way that will never be mended because that day, I learned what it really means to be a human being.
If you have experienced this, as well, you know what I mean. If you have not experienced this, there is absolutely nothing I can tell you that will bring you close to understanding all of the things that this moment meant.
A human life is roughly 600 million breaths.
I googled it. What the google result didn't say was that every breath you breathe is a word spoken or a word held in. Love or anger expressed, regret swallowed.
The human heart beats an average of 2.5 billion times in a life time.
I googled that, too. Google did not mention that each of those beats is a willful intention sent out into the universe. I imagine it's your soul whispering, "Alive."
Until one day, it no longer whispers anything.
I watched him breathe his last breath and heard his pulse whisper, "Alive" for the last time on Thursday night. And right then I supplicated to my Creator and begged that I would go the way he did. I prayed that when my heart whispers it's 2.5 billionth whisper and my 600 millionth breath comes forth, that people all over the world would shed a great deal of the 16.5 gallons of tears they are allotted in their lifetime.
I said it before. If you have not experienced this, there is nothing I can tell you that will prepare you for this.
I can tell you, though, that every moment in your life is simultaneously a big deal and then will suddenly become not a big deal at all.
Everything you do, every head you pass your hand over lovingly, every cheek you touch, every penny you save for someone's education, every curry recipe you teach someone, every grandchild you play soccer with in the living room or play cards with after dinner, every son you educate, every daughter in law who you tell is your *daughter* and that the "in law" part is completely unnecessay... is extremely important and then simultaneously fleeting.
Your life is vibrant reds, blues, purples, brightening the world and making it better -- see, the brightness of the colors of your life are made vivid by all the lives connected to you. And then, one day, when you breathe for the 600 millionth time, all of the colors in the universe will instantly dim.
All of the people connected to you will realize that it was your light that made the world seem that bright. And then those people will realize that they will never see those colors again in the way they did when you were here.
Nothing will ever be the same for them.