So, it seems like I make it customary to write one of these every birthday. One could not be more eventful than last years, but I feel like this past year since my grandmother's return warrants new perspectives and insight covering my life.
2011 was about change. This past year was the first year since returning to Colorado that I felt that I began heading towards my mission in the History profession. But it was not the first year of challenging the inner faith I hold tightly clung to my breast.
The expression, "the only constant is change" by Heraclitus of Ephesus, only begins to explain this year. More interestingly, I learned in my Native American History course that many times, historians argue, people create change to remain constant. Arguably, FDR created New Deal fiscal policies in order to maintain capitalism. He did not necessarily believe ideologically in a mixed economy, or more extreme, a socialist economy. Rather, he made took those steps to maintain the strength of Capitalism. Certain Native American tribes were more receptive to American assimilationist policies, because their change brought security and preservation. In my personal life, I learned that at times, human revolution is about changing in order to survive. I don't believe that human revolution is solely adaptation, but at times in our lives when certain difficulties arise, adaptation is the greatest action we can take. From that, we must grow. The dark side of adaptation is complacency, so I must continue to grow.
When I started my graduate studies at UMass Boston, I felt resistance with the first steps, as I quickly had to address course materials at a level I did not have before at Soka. It took half of the semester to get my bearings in line, but once I was geared properly, I took off. At the end of the semester, I had a 3.85 gpa, with 2 A's and 2 A-'s. And now, I am better prepared for the battles ahead.
With the end of work, and the start of school, I still found many deep-seeded sources of negativity. One of the greatest, reoccurring sources of negativity was my grandmother's death. It was not the death itself that caused negativity, rather it was how I was ill-prepared for the karma that comes with being someone at their death. In my own negativity, remembering my grandmother felt burdensome. If someone asked me what my memories are of my grandmother, the most recent memory comes first. That memory is the final moments of her life. The chill in that January air, the morning set just before work, the sight of her passing--these are all etched well into my memory. And while this at times appeared as a burden, the first memory is definitely not the most important. I had a great three final years with my grandmother, memories of driving her around when she could no longer drive, of the time we spent chanting together when I was on the job hunt, of the moment when I felt the purest form of appreciation I've ever felt as she laid in the ICU bed just after her heart attack.
And so, my greatest realization in my 25th year is that, yes, a certain part of love is having the composure to support and comfort someone in their final moments. Equally important, the karma carried with witnessing a passing is a responsibility, a calling. Making the negative functions born from death into something positive is a life-long mission. This responsibility is another aspect of love. Remembering my grandmother's death was at times traumatic, but remembering my grandmother before her death bed invigorates me. Overcoming all traumas is nothing more than the love I hold for my grandmother, for my love of her is life-long. One year ago today was my grandmother's homecoming. This year, today is my own homecoming from Boston, but also, my own new-found sense of love and responsibility. It is with this that I begin thinking about the relationships I hold with friends and family now, and into the future. In my 26th year of life, I have many goals, but nothing could be more important than expanding my understanding of love.