Posts Tagged ‘funeral’

Moving Week

24 October 2008

Dear J-

The long week comes to an end; I look forward to several calm, numbing hours in front of the TV scanning odd channels for coverage of improbable NCAA Football upsets.  I always end up, at the end of the day, reflecting on the distances traveled and comparing where I woke up with where I lie down.  It’s easy with the lens of distance to note the changes, just as it’s easy when you make the millionth round-trip to where-ever you call home tonight to dismiss the everyday as pedestrian.

With the rare opportunity to be up and awake just past midnight (this, courtesy of my brother and his Wii), I bunked down in my nephew’s bed, which forced all kinds of musical sleeping arrangements — and was up by five to experience the promised ninety minutes of Bikram Yoga.  I’ve never practiced Yoga before, and the opportunity afforded me insight on the flexibility it lends its practicioners (“Okay … now bring your other leg behind your head …”).  The overall experience — held in a room kept at near-sauna conditions, to better replicate the conditions of India — left me drained and sopping wet, but as my brother explained, it’s more about the meditative experience you gain as you progress through the poses, rather than a competition to find the next human Gumby.

I’m not sure for sure that it lent me some perspective on the following internment ceremony later, but I certainly saw things in a different light than I did yesterday, flying in to San Jose.  I got to learn more about my aunt’s life; I got to see how she touched my family in numerous ways.  Best yet, I’m now most familiar with the portrait of her as a warm, vibrant woman, not as the past few years had left her.

We all came together with few exceptions, with few gaps, this mob of a family and all its cousins.  We may fumble over the right words and produce something nonsensical, but that we’re all willing to pause our lives and gather, that speaks volumes to how strongly the feelings pull us together.  Once again, humbled, amazed, in awe of the things that keep us family.  And a long Friday closes with nothing but surprises.



Who Are You?

23 October 2008

Dear J-

It feels like I’m always running away from something lately — after a long day at work, I’ve managed to get another day off to head up north, Bay Area for a funeral tomorrow.  It’s a cliché to say that we all get together only for funerals and weddings, but amongst us cousins, we’re starting to run low on the latter, even if this is the first of the former.  What can I expect from it?

It won’t be the same rowdy scene I’ve come to associate with throwing all of us together into the same room.  Something else, perhaps; to be honest I myself wasn’t particularly close to my aunt; I go because of my mother and the sister she’s lost.  We did have high hopes to spend a week together, roughly half a year ago; all that came to naught at the last minute, as other family events and health issues derailed that promise.  So.  Here we gather from as far away as New York, each with their own lives put on hold for the nonce.

At work we have stand-downs when something significant happens — whether good or bad, we take half an hour to discuss the reasons and causes and take those lessons to heart.  Now we have the opportunity to examine the trajectory our lives have taken — not so much to benchmark where we are compared to the rest of our generation; I’ll leave that for the grown-ups in the crowd — but to change where we see our path takes us.  And though it’s ridiculous to suggest I can read the future any more than I have x-ray eyes, when else would I get a chance to reflect on it?

Better yet, ponder this:  is this what you wanted five years ago, five years from then?  What secrets did you dream of, what secrets have you kept, what tears have you hid, and which tears have you wept?  Where is home?  Who are you?  Who will you be?