Brownness

On Loss

Coming back from yet another funeral, it hits me over and over that our time here is limited, and if I don’t take life in urgency, I am merely taking up space. Looking at Facebook nowadays feels like reading the obituary as more and more people around me cease to be. As much as I have given up news, my consumption of social media has not spared me from the world, and I realize now that I get to limit myself.

It felt good to give up news in the traditional sense, yet reading about loss and other things happening the world along with the person’s political leaning gives it a sharper edge. I write all these words to avoid the feeling of loss pervading me and my friends. Dear friends lost a sibling, parents their child, and so many others a kind soul and amazing times. We walk around in a daze, but the ones who suffered the deeper loss, I cannot even pretend to imagine their pain.

Getting old sucks, but what’s worse is the realization that death will become a constant companion now. And there just is no way to pretend that loss does not hurt, does not hollow you, does not make you feel like a lesser version of you. The words don’t fit the hole created, feel lifeless against the pain of losing someone dear, creating space inside the heart that’s like an emptiness of ache. I don’t want to attend any more funerals, don’t want to grieve or see my loved ones faces etched with emotional pain, don’t want to know one more person gone from this world but alive in our hearts and minds.

Loss is never easy, but even more so when it’s sudden. When it feels random, senseless, and just not fair. And so I sit with it, hoping, praying for the pain to ease for the family and make sure to be there, to not make them feel any more alone than they already do. And to take it day by day.

Brownness

On Fathers Day

It used to mean a lot to have this day with Papa, but now a sort of dread comes up because the day is supposed to be a celebration, yet inside me, yearning for the past overwhelms, the regret of not spending more time with him chokes me up, and I am l left feeling lost. It is also a day to recognize so many of those around me who are great fathers, and I now make more of an effort to honor them because before it was a more personal day for me.

I also cannot help feeling for the people who no longer have children to wish them or vice versa don’t have their fathers any longer. Those scenarios have become far too real of late, and my heart clenches for the father who is going through their first fathers day without their son. Each time the image comes to me unbidden, it takes physical effort to keep the tears down. The unfairness of it, the randomness, the helplessness all coalesce to remind me that so much can change in a moment. Things we take for granted snatched away, leaving us to cope with a lifetime of not having that person around anymore.

As much as I want to celebrate the day, it comes at the expense of the losses in my life and others. It is hard not to feel the pain of others and of my own. There are moments of laughter, smiles, small remembrances of the times, but inside is a deep wound that just will not scab over, ready to be ripped open at a moments notice. This is the new reality, and I fervently wish for the past for once when it was carefree, and we had our loved ones around us, but I also this too is part of life. I just wish it didn’t hurt so damn much.

I wish my heart wasn’t so selfish, drowning out all the good when really it is a time to celebrate. But I also know that with time, the pain may dull, and that’s all I can hope for the father without a son. That in this time of trauma, he gets some, even a little bit, of peace. That’s the best one can hope for. Time,never ending, slow time will make new paths of healing.

Brownness

On Group Trips

My mantra this past weekend was acceptance. Going on a trip with 14 others can be a challenge if you allow it to be. Once I accepted for what it was, it became like any other trip, steeped in connection, laughter, time spent together, deepening relationships, and just having an all around blast. I see that when I prepare myself, and allow things to be the way they are rather than how they should be, I just have a much better time.

Yet I still struggle with this. This need for things they they are “supposed to be” rather than how they are. The only difference now is that I am able to see that, and take steps to let go and just have fun with it. Which is what happened this past weekend in Vegas. Instead of just being about gambling or drinking, it became about great conversations. eating amazing food, and spending time together.

More and more, I see my desire to control things show up, my ego wanting things to be the a certain way, and it does not have the pull on me like it did before. There are slip ups, but I see that when I let go who or what I am resisting, I breathe easier, I enjoy myself more and it becomes about the present rather than some hypothetical future. I do wish that this was the permanent lesson, however I also know that checking in with myself is a great way to know what I am feeling, and there are times it does serve me.

Getting along just for the sake of it can also feel a bit fake so finding the balance has become my journey. This past trip became a great one because I allowed myself to feel and then let go of whatever that was not serving me. In the end, I am glad for that, and now I have some more great memories!

Brownness

On Spending Time

This past week became busier than I anticipated. Well in a different way. I had a potential trial that would have taken away my week, yet instead I managed a long continuance which allowed us to host friends. I finally got some of my Crossfit friends over, and before then spent some quality time with a dear friend of mine and his wife, and then on Saturday we outdid that all but hosting over twenty people. I could focus on the work that it took to make it all happen, however it is so much easier to express the joy of spending time with loved ones.

Over and over, the lessons are the same from my Papa. Host people like family, create time that creates memories, and at the end, you end up with experiences you reminisce about with others. It completely helps that my wife has the same idea, and thus, in a week where we had nothing planned, we ended up spending time with unique groups, deepening the connections, and setting the stage for future events.

More and more, I take on my father’s habits, things I never thought I would do, but now fill me with pride. Each time, I imagine channeling my dad as I put out fruit, crack jokes. enjoy music, make others smile, ensure no one goes hungry, and that there is plenty to drink . And then I look forward to the next time, my wife and I in synch on wanting to spend time with the ones that matter to us. Sharing not just our house, but thoughts, dreams and future plans, giving birth to a future that ensures we will never be alone, not just physically but in times of need.

There are aspects of my father I wish I had. His gregariousness, his bluntness. I retain my mom’s quietness in certain situations which serves me well in crisis, but can sometimes make others feel disconnected. Too much of each quality can harm relationships, but being aware allows me to grow (that word again), and gives me goals to improve myself. It’s been a helluva ride so far, can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Happy Monday!

Brownness

On Not Doing Anything

This past weekend, I managed not to do anything, but got so much time. I got time alone with the wife and dog, shared some amazing news, learned some news, and then also got a chance to open a bottle of 50 year old whiskey, and my heart is full. There was some sad news, and they are on my mind, but even when not doing anything so much happened.

Initially, I regretted not making any plans for the memorial weekend, but truth be told, it came on me abruptly. Between working and the spending time with loved ones and just try doing the day to day, it hit me on friday that it was a three day weekend. Instantly, I felt a rush to do something, anything, that it felt weird to have so many days with nothing planned, and to be sure, there were some hiccups, but out of that came out clarity, time spent together, and new moments.

And then bang, the weekend is done, and even though I didn’t do anything, so much happened anyway. Not all time can be planned, and it shouldn’t be anyway. It’s a lesson I struggle with continually because I have this need to control and know anything. Giving into no structure is daunting. I couldn’t help thinking of all that I needed to get done in a shortened week until I realized I was putting that stress on myself.

Nothing broke,. Shit got done. Relationships deepened. Yes, we even got bored together, and that’s okay. Boredom is good sometimes as it allows for conversations that need to take place, or maybe just being alone is enough. And so a new month begins, halfway through 2022, with so much coming up ahead. Weddings, births, new lessons learned, expanding the firm, deepening the links with others. So much also of nothing to do, and let life happen to me.

I can’t wait to find out what’s in store. But then again, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Brownness

On Memory

I hate to admit this so publicly, but one of the side affects of my stroke has some gradual memory loss. The way I combat is of course to write about the past or keep learning something new on MasterClass (Current classes Paul Krugman and Sara Blakely) or on YouTube (how to fill out out an I-129 application and top ten features of your new Macbook Pro) or using time to learn mindfulness techniques. It’s a constant battle as workload increases for which I am eternally grateful, but also makes the day a strain as I struggle to ensure I don’t miss anything. And then at the end of the day, to remember to be present to my wife so we can share some intimate time.

And each day is a battle. People share stories about the past and some I don’t remember at all, or I have a vague idea, but the minutiae escapes me. Sometimes I cover by nodding or just agreeing with their interpretation and others time a huge blank is there and I wonder what else I am missing. There are memories from a time period that are etched into me, and there are others I wonder if i will ever remember again.

It’s a strange thing to think about when I gather more and more things in my life that are so memorable, but I want to hold on to some special moments like the day I told Papa I was going to practice law full time, or the day Preeti and I got married, and we managed a mini concert for our reception. I don’t just want to hold on to the joy, but the painful things like the us praying out loud as my aunt transitioned. I still remember that pain like a boulder on me.

Or recently the tears that flooded my eyes as I watched a young father guide his son walk straight. I watched them from the second floor of my place, and I watched as the son wobbled into varying directions and the father guided him straight, and in that moment, my throat tightened, and tears came as I thought about Papa and what my life would have been without him. And so I continue this struggle to hold on. I have great reasons to do so, and luckily I am surrounded by loved ones who are here to remind me, refresh me, and reconnect with me.

And as always I am grateful for that.