May 15. Shanghai.
This morning I came up hard against all of the questions regarding death and permanence that follow us through the course of our lives.
I got to breakfast and was greeted by one of my personal friends on the hotel staff, a lovely young woman named Seni who is, to a fault, gracious, in the sense that she is filled with an inner Grace she carries effortlessly—and which, at her age, she probably doesn't know she has. There is a purity in Grace of this kind that comes from the best of all that we are; and some chosen few are appointed to embody it for the rest of us, as reminding factors.
Seni was close friends with another lovely young woman on the hotel staff, Kate, who had a lively, outgoing attitude and was filled with enthusiasm for living and all the good things in it. I say, was, because this morning Seni told me that last night Kate fell from a window and was discovered dead on the street below.
There is a suspicion it may not have been accidental.
We take life and its little problems for granted; after the death of my sister, I have reminded those around me ad nauseum about the fact that we all assume we will be here tomorrow- a profoundly mistaken assumption, yet everyone prefers to believe it no matter how hard the evidence to the contrary.
It's events like this that snap the picture back into the sharpest kind of focus.
I didn't know Kate well; I had only met her several times. This has happened to me once before, where I met a charming young woman only to discover she'd been killed only a few days later. Yet when one has only one or two impressions of an individual, one hasn't had a chance to muddle them with extra detail or consign them to my routine inner ignorance towards that which is too familiar and I think I already know; consequently, individuals of this kind make a much more lasting (and in the end much more terrifying) impression.
Life, as is said, is for the living; but what does that deceptive platitude mean?
For me, this: we ought to live in honor of all those who have gone before us, and we ought to live in service of all those who come after.
Occupying middle earth, in this eternal pause between the two, we suffer.