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  1. Carol
    June 3, 2013 @ 7:11 am

    I have been deeply touched by your post. Thank you Mani.


    • Legacy, Memory and Memoir
      June 3, 2013 @ 11:56 am

      Thank you. I know that so many people relate to this topic but don’t know if it’s ok to talk about death and loss openly, and all the mixed feelings that we have. I always feel a little cautious, and wait to see if I get a signal from another person to continue the conversation. I want to explore, perhaps in a future post, the confusion we feel if we have had a great loss and don’t know if being happy ever again and moving on would be a disservice to that person or others who are suffering. For the son we loved, I know his greatest wish was for us to be well, for his wife to remarry, and for the people he loved to live wonderful lives in his honor.


  2. Legacy, Memory and Memoir
    May 29, 2013 @ 11:26 am

    Thank you so much to Nikki and Judy for writing in and sharing thoughts so close to your hearts. It is too hard for me to make sense of what should or shouldn’t be. I would just be tormenting myself with questions I can’t answer. But I do find that I behave better and am able to offer more to others when I choose to hold the belief that life is trustworthy, though I don’t understand why some suffer and have harder challenges. If I gave up on that attitude, every day would be a fight against life and I would not be a warmer or kinder person because of it. We are a brave species, knowing so much yet so little. Much love to both of you and for sharing your stories.


  3. judy vasos
    May 29, 2013 @ 11:10 am

    Dear Mani – I was struck by your writing about ALL the living and dead who
    deserve to be honored on Memorial Day and the wonderful quote from the
    Dali Lama.

    There are many I think of on Memorial Day but most especially David Francis,
    my older brother who died of pneumonia when he was 6 months old. I never
    met him but according to relatives he was a healthy, chubby, happy baby with deep brown
    eyes, dark black hair and olive skin. He was the second son born to my parents who at the
    at the time lived with my Greek grandfather who adored David and his “Greek looks.”
    Grandpa couldn’t get enough of holding and carrying his beloved grandson.

    One day David was healthy and the next, very very ill with pneumonia. My parents
    took him to the hospital but there was no treatment available. Penicillin had been
    developed and could easily have cured him in March, 1942 when he was so desperately
    ill but penicillin was only available then to soldiers fighting in the war.

    He died early in the morning a few days after he’d been admitted to the hospital.
    My parents had been keeping vigil during those days and had just returned home
    for some much needed rest when the call came from Mom’s sister that David had died.

    They were devastated. They never told us about David or showed us photos of him.
    But one day when I was seven, looking for adventure by rummaging around in the top
    drawer of my parent’s bureau, I discovered a photo of a baby in a coffin with a tiny
    blue rosary strung through his fingers. I thought it was an angel.

    My Dad caught me looking at it, sat me down on the bed next to the bureau and gently told
    told me the baby in the coffin was my older brother.

    I listened to my Dad’s story and with shock and disbelief connected the David he was
    talking about with the small gravestone in the baby section of the cemetery, a gravestone
    with an image of an angel holding his hands in prayer etched in the stone, a grave we
    brought flowers to every Memorial Day. I thought we were honoring an anonymous angel
    but those bright red and soft pink peonies were for my brother! My brother – a deeply loved child
    who had died so young, so suddenly.

    I’m now 70 and the legacy of his death still hovers over me and my five siblings. We never understood
    how a baby who was our brother could die and why it was a secret for so long. I go to David’s grave now with toys
    and games he could never enjoy in his short life. I make sure he knows I’m his sister, born nine months
    after he died. I imagine he’s happy for the visit and to know I joined the family so soon after they lost him.

    I tell him I love him and ask to be released from the burden of his death so close to my birth. I can quote the
    Dali Lama after reading your Memorial Day Reflections and tell him that perhaps in his short life he was “a master in disguise, teaching
    us about impermanence.” This makes both of us happy.

    Thanks so much, Mani. Judy


  4. Nikki Gustafson
    May 29, 2013 @ 8:05 am

    Beautifully stated Mani. I can’t imagine going through what you & Michael went through losing his only son. My heart goes out to you & your family for having to endure such a tragic loss. Although it was my mother (and not my child), as you well know, she was taken way too soon, by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. She was healthy and loved by everyone, and didn’t deserve to die at that time.

    I also understand and totally agree with you regarding Memorial Day and remembering those who lost their lives so in vain. The horrific events of 9/11, the Boston Marathon, the Newtown Ct school massacre, the movie theater shooting in Colorado, the explosions in the Texas fertilizer plant, the tornadoes in Oklahoma, and the list goes on….innocent people loosing their lives by no choice or fault of their own. How heartbreaking it is, words can’t describe. That is why I always question the beliefs of something “loving and powerful” watching over us and taking care of us. Sadly, it doesn’t add up…..We should remember and honor the victims of these horrific events, and band together as “brothers and sisters”, whether it be the loss due to wars, due to natural “acts of god”, due to crime, or just due to tragic circumstances of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I hope the peace and philosophy of the Dalai Lama has brought you some comfort over the years.


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