Enough, Ananda, do not sorrow, do not lament. Have I not explained that it is the nature of things that we must be divided, separated, and parted from all that is beloved and dear? How could it be, Ananda, that what has been born and come into being, that what has been compounded and subject to decay, should not decay? It is not possible. (DN ii 144)
This passage comes from the story of the death of Gautama Siddartha, the Buddha Sakyamuni. His disciple Ananda has started to cry and the Buddha gently tells Ananda that’s enough. Why are you crying that someone is dying? Didn’t you learn anything from me about impermanence? That everything changes and eventually falls apart?
I came across this passage during a particularly difficult period for Laura. We were waiting to find out if the first course of radiation had had any impact on the tumor. As Laura recovered more and more energy, she frantically worked to overcome her aphasia and became more and more upset that she couldn’t. Being supportive was taking its toll on me. For reasons I will try to explore elsewhere in this blog, I found inner strength in this passage. I found comfort in the original sense of the word, “with strength.”
Yesterday I learned that Laura’s close friend Amy Einsohn died last month. She had been too ill to fly from California to see Laura before Laura died, but she sent many messages by email and on the Caringbridge blog that comforted Laura. Anne Mei and I were able to visit Amy and her husband Chris in 2012. Amy wrote one of the standard texts on copy editing. She was my guru and bodhisattva when it came to writing. This post is dedicated to honoring Amy’s memory.