Memories and the Life's Parabola
Death teaches us that a loss of a dear person is longing for the past happiness we embedded in our memories, like carvings left on the stone wall of our existence; Each carving, a timeline indicator, marking a notch on the graph showing our longevity. Most life graphs are reverse parabolas, at one point we reach a peak and the recent memories are recorded on the downward slope; Each memory-stamp a point, connecting with the y-axis representing a person we associate the memory with. I’ve accepted that our parabolic life-line eventually turns inside itself and connects with the time, the x-axis, ending our story. Some parabolas are wide, with low peaks, denoting long and steady lives; our memories connected with a short line of people surrounding us. Other parabolas are narrow, with tall peaks, witnesses of short lives that touched many people, spreading the happiness.
One might ask where in my mathematical theory of life are unhappy memories, I think they are there, marked on another graph, intersecting the parabola, but these moments are unsteady, and they do not affect our trajectory, our purpose.
The death of my uncle made me think of the life he led, of his parabola. It was tall and narrow. He connected with many people, he had time for everyone, and he was willing to help everyone. He loved us kids, and he worked hard. He had some hardships, but he always had a kind word for everyone, he always told me that he loved me and he always waited for my family at the airport when we’d arrive in Bosnia for a family visit. He was always there. This year he did not wait. His daughter came and my aunt. I knew they were trying to bring his spirit with them, so that I may feel his presence. Even though this year’s visit to Bosnia will be marked forever by this incredible loss, I am glad that I was there, marking the last moment of his parabola, now connected with time, time which never stands still. I am here to say goodbye, which on many occasions I was not able to do with other people in my life, my grandmother for example who died two months ago.
Time is a mysterious constant. Mathematically it is the fourth dimension, but in death, it is only a part of the two-dimensional blank page, where our memories live. This is what’s important to us. Our memories are traveling inside of us, and each point on the parabolic curve is a present moment, which we must cherish and etch, to preserve the continuum.
I think of young lives whose parabolas met the time line forcefully, dropping off sharply into the abyss. I think of those who did not live to see their children grow up. I often reflect on how close I was to death multiple times, yet I am still here. I carry memories with me collected along the line of my graph. I carry memories of my uncle and my grandmother and my aunt and all those who are no longer with us, and I cherish memories with the ones I still have, and I want to make more of them.
Death is a cruel and harsh teacher. We ignore it most of the time because of fear, but it returns forcefully, mercilessly to remind us never to stop making memories.