Daily Archives: December 2, 2008

Death, Symbiosis and Pain

Charlie, my wife’s stepfather, passed away last Friday, US time, Saturday morning, Taiwan time. Unfortunately, it is hard to say much about him in this post. He was not interested in my world and I was not interested in his. I saw him only a few times and during those episodes our exchanges were polite but extremely brief and banal. Maybe we could call this a tragedy of polite estrangement.

What would have been a difficult time for my wife under any circumstance has been made even more difficult by the fact that I am away on the other side of the globe. Skype is a poor medium to bridge the distance in times when comfort is most needed. When a couple vows to spend their life together, their intent is a seed which grows into a symbiotic relationship. This symbiosis begins superficially but as the years pass, it reaches the most intimate corners of the heart. Together with depth comes strength. So a deep symbiosis can bear the strain of distance. Still, distance brings an unavoidable feeling of helplessness and pain.

However, there is nothing special about this pain. Nothing of it which in any ultimate sense is personal. The drama of death and separation plays out everywhere and at all times. Whose drama is it then?