Saying goodbye

This is a picture of me and the girls on the ferry from Martha's Vineyard, waving to my father who is somewhere out there on a dock, holding a red towel as a goodbye flag. I never could quite make out the small fleck of red that was his send-off, and I found myself wishing I could have been positive that I truly visually witnessed his goodbye. It reminded me of the well-known fact that we are all just specks, technically tiny and inconsequential, yet still so fundamentally important to one another. The people we love the most are the axes we rotate around, are so precious to us that squinting to make out a tiny flash of color can feel momentous.

I thought about this two days ago on 9/11, about how every person who suffered a loss was grieving over one tiny person out of billions, but that each of those people takes up the space of the universe. I read somewhere that the Talmud says "he who destroys one life, it is as if he had destroyed the entire world" which articulates what I'm not sure I'm able to express clearly here.

In physics there is a phenomenon known as Caesar's last breath which essentially states that we are all breathing molecules that were exhaled by Caesar, or any other number of ancient people. On September 11th, 2001, when smoke from the twin towers filtered over my Brooklyn apartment, a horrible kind of physics was changing the world irrevocably.

I suppose in some ways then we really are all connected in a base physical way. But I fight against the notion that we are all "one." Like most people these days I take yoga, and while it's good for my body, part of my mind still rebels against some of its tenets. I do believe in seeking acceptance, and will still work on meditating and reading self-help books and practicing presence. But I have to wonder if those who lost someone on 9/11, particularly a son or daughter, can truly accept. I don't know--I was lucky enough not to lose anyone that day, and I hope against hope that I will never have to know.


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