S A R I S H A K U R U P
I am 3,255 miles away from home and it is September 3rd of 2017. Today it rained for the first time since I was here, and I was caught in it, hair dripping by the time I stumbled back into my dorm, fingers white and cheeks pink. It was that perfect kind of weather, the slow grayness of the world that cradles and soothes you, and for the first time it felt like Autumn. My roommate and I took turns standing in our floor-to-ceiling window, watching the water settle onto the empty quad.
September 3rd of 2016 was the day that my father died. He was 8,897 miles from home. I found out when it was almost 3 A.M., and afterwards I watched a bad movie about some kids in love because I could not sleep. The next day when my mother and brother flew to India I burrowed myself in the back of his closet and closed my eyes, the smell of his shirts and jeans and belts and ties all-consuming.
It feels like it was just yesterday, but it has been an entire year.
I often wonder if my life will always exist in this before-and-after. Before he died, after he died. The year since his death has been colored by a profound sadness, and yet what is often hardest to reconcile is that it was also one of the best years of my life. It was the year I got into college, the year I backpacked in Europe, the year I went to my senior prom, the year I graduated, and the year that I moved into my dorm room.
I miss him at the oddest of times. I thought of him at graduation, and when I moved to college, but the moments I miss him most are less obvious--before I fall asleep at night, summer mid-afternoons when I was making lunch, half-way through my reading for my Postwar Europe class. It hits you suddenly, the realization that you have lost something so enormous.
I feel like I should have something more profound to say. It's been an entire year. One year without one of the most important people in my life, and yet I find myself only able to conclude that it gets easier. Perhaps that is the most important lesson of all. That you can continue on with your life without forgetting. Everything I do, every class I take, every moral decision I make, is somehow informed by my father. Every day I wake up 3,255 miles away from my home, where his ashes are spread at the foot of the orange tree that blossoms with new fruit each spring.
But every day I still remember.