Impermanence is something in life that I seem to forget exists - or maybe I try and ignore.
Yesterday, during the Daimonji festival in Kyoto, I was reminded not once, but twice of its existence.
The first was on the train ride down to Kyoto from Tokyo. I found out about the sudden passing of a friend due to hemorrhaging in the brain - high blood pressure related. He was so young and left behind the most beautiful partner.
I don’t know what she will take comfort in - we’ve all reached out with our support, but I know that can only go so far. For me, I took comfort in the idea that while the pillars burned on the mountainside in Kyoto that I in some small way was participating in leading Carmen’s soul to the afterlife. And that next year, I would welcome him and all the loved ones that have passed - like Grandad Har - back for one very special week. It’s still sad, but that helped.
The second was as I stood in the rain, watching the shapes burn on the mountainside. My friend, who is struggling with cancer, turned to me with a fresh glass of water and said if we drink during Daimonji that we won’t get sick “病気にならない”. I sipped and shared. “病気にならない,” I repeated.
Noriko is here and healthy and represents all that is good in this world. It’s hard for me to accept that someday/any day, she may not be.
I want to make bargains…..Please impermanence, please don’t take my friend. Please let her live out the rest of her days, however she pleases, and let her pass when she is ready.
But I don’t know what I have to offer impermanence in return, so instead I resort to my other strategy, which is telling the people I love that I love them as often as possible.
In loving memory of CF.