One of my dear friends in India Clarissa Fernandes passed away last night, robbed of more possibilities by the sudden outburst of cancer. Through the numbness in my heart I am suddenly overcome by a lack of knowledge–how do you mourn someone you haven’t seen in 10 years and who lived on the far side of the world? There is no immediate removal of her presence from your presence, no sense of physical loss, no funeral closure; the friendship maintained over the years by thoughts, feelings, and the occasional email seems to continue like a swan upon a river, outwardly serene yet furiously paddling beneath the surface, battling harsh undercurrents to stay upright.
You go to work when you should take the day off to mourn the silent passing of kindred spirits, and the crisp summer air outside belies the dark clouds within your soul. This is the worst part of being an immigrant for you leave bits of your heart trailing behind to guide you back, and on every journey back you leave some more of you –and then one day you have to say, “guide me back to whom?” And you know with a sense of foreboding that there are more to come, more locked doors behind you, more return journeys you will not travel, more lagging crumbs of your heart that fatal birds of prey will pluck away with their sharp beaks!
So for now you celebrate in silent sadness a life well spent and a relationship that enriched you beyond measure. Rest well, Clarie. I will miss your amused smile, the drinks and meals we shared, and how we revived each time the lost art of delightful conversation.
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