Who Are You and Why Are You Here?

It is almost April 15th. And while many people are gleefully pondering tax day extension to the 18th, I am thinking of something else. Another anniversary has passed. April 12th. It was the almost-40th anniversary of the death of a young friend murdered during a tragic family altercation. Yet this year is something of a watershed for me because it is the first year I no longer feel and agonize over survivor’s guilt and am thankful someone, a guardian angel, maybe my mother, was watching over me. I was supposed to be sleeping over at M.’s house on the night of the murders-suicide, but her mom cancelled the play date. Oddly enough, the nightmares I have had for almost the past 40 years have gone too. Curiously, I do not know why.

Perhaps it has to do with having a better sense of who I am and why I’m still here. We so often answer those questions by referring to our careers. “I am a…”, “I am here to…” But we are so much more than our careers, our career title. M. never grew up to have a career of her own, but believe me, that child could have been whatever she wanted. And at 9, I think she already knew why she was here. Every parent thinks that their child is special, but there are some that just sparkle. They shine so brilliantly, that sometimes people stop to just take notice. M. sparkled. She really did. I think that she brought so much joy to her family and those around her, her smile, her funny ways, constantly laughing.

So much so, that almost 40 years on, I have learned that you can mourn for a lifetime, and yet understand that the hurt diminishes, and your path goes on, even when others have reached the end of their own. That empty house that long gave me nightmares has been filled up by other people and other people’s children. And that is good; that is the way it should be. Life with no haunting, no bad memories. Whatever the reason I am still here, I know that I am lucky, somehow blessed. I think that after M. died, somehow our friends, we thought that we needed to fill the gap left behind. But even at that age, I knew I couldn’t do it. My cousin fondly recalled me as “a grumpy lil’ thing,” and she was right. Beyond “who are you?” and “why are you here,” at least for me, the meaning is clear. I will live my own life, be who I am supposed to be career and otherwise, but keep the memory of M. alive. And I won’t forget…

2 Responses

  1. I am glad that the anniversary has passed and still you are nightmare-free.

    And I am grateful that you are here…being who you are.

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