I cannot claim to have seen either the best or the worst the world has to offer, but this year I have certainly seen my fair share of both. Watching the nightly news it seems as if our fragile world is falling apart around us politically, socially, economically, and even pysically. If I want to bring it a little closer to home all I have to do is look down the street and watch the continued student protests and the physically violent police retaliation which indescriminately knocks down children, the elderly, and pregnant women who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I can look on my street where just yesterday I saw three girls mugged in the exact same place my roommate and I stood helpless just eight days earlier. I can look further at the injustice of losing my mother so quickly and at such a young age. And now to all that I can add the loss of my grandmother, a woman of such wisdom and strength that her very presence seemed to defy death. I last saw her just before leaving for Spain. Disease had made her weak, sagging her skin and showing the strain that a lifetime of pain and joy weighs down on one´s shoulders.
If I had to suffer all this pain alone, I do not know that I could manage. But I am one of the lucky people, despite my seemingly endless stream of bad luck. I look around the cities I have called home and find myself both cursed and blessed. I feel that God has both overlooked me and enveloped me in a supportive embrace; taken away my foundation and provided a net. I have such a wonderful community full of so many people who at the mere sight of a forming tear rush over with kleenex, hugs, and chocolate. I am living in a beautiful city, I have plenty to eat (often far more than enough), I have friends and family and my own health.
That is not to say that I am not angry at the unfairness of my personal situation, the frustration of death too soon and pain too persistant. But I wonder how anyone goes on without the kind of community I have been blessed with. And I wonder how I can contribute something meaningful to the world in any comparable way to the contributions of my mother and grandmother. Two women with such strength, women who lived through so much change and gave so much of themselves to everyone they met. Women who loved and learned and gave more than they took. Women who leave behind them such legacies as I can only dream of one day following.
Looking around me I see that our world is not in good shape, our future is not as bright as it once was, and the roads are not paved in gold--sometimes they´re not paved at all. But we must continue, the instinct to survive will not allow us to stand still amid the falling ruins of our world.
I cannot fly home for my grandmother´s funeral this week, so instead I am asking anyone who reads this to do something kind for someone else this week in her memory. Give a homeless person a granola bar, call your grandmother to say hi, make a donation to your favorite charity. It is more than something kind in honor of her memory. It is something kind to rebuild the roads we are losing. It is a reason to continue and it is a way to help ourselves and those we love.
Death is not easy, but life doesn´t have to be so hard.
Besos y abrazos