My apologies for the long delay in writing. My mother passed away unexpectedly a little over one month ago. It has been a trying and sometimes gruelling period, with days of deep sadness and inexplicable pain (sometimes manifesting in very physical form) and hours of honing the limits of loss. It is a shock. Like one’s own death, losing a parent feels both inevitable and impossible. It does not add up. My mom was healthy, more or less, and I’m still in this unbelievable place of disbelief.
And yet any solace I have found is from so much outreach, the outpouring of love from people close, and mostly, the heightened recognition of just how important my mom was in the lives of so many.
I talked with mom via Zoom less than 24 hours before she passed. She was vital and well. We talked about my visit last November. And the fact that I was getting a colonoscopy — something she bugged me about for years. She was looking forward to seeing my daughter, who would be visiting in a few weeks.
I’ll never forget the last, frozen moment of her on that Zoom call. There was something striking about it. Her face had a half smile — somehow both mischievous and proud — and it’s how I will remember her forever. Here is one of the last photos I have of her, taken with my dad at a Chinese restaurant in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Her final smile to me kind of looked like this.
I really miss her. Mom was a gem of a human being. And while I didn’t talk with her more than once or twice a week, I can still hear her, every so often, mostly at night, sometimes. It’s not that she is speaking with me. I don’t believe (most of the time) that ghosts or spirits actively inhabit what is our liminal domain. But it is her memory that moves me — and keeps me moving.
In addition to all of the support from friends and family, I can say that my meditation work has been a small source of strength. I am still sitting every day — the same frequency, but with longer durations. Most days, I’m wiped out by 5:30 or 6:00 pm.
I'm going to leave it there. This missive has been in draft mode for a few weeks, waiting for me to find more to say.
I’m going to say that less is more.
And that I will also be back with more regular writing about design, culture and consciousness (and other deviations) in due time.
Wishing you and your family well.