As the time came to leave her, I was filled with sadness. I would try to escape quickly and lightly, as if it was no big deal, just another goodbye. But I knew that grandmother would say the dreaded words, "We may never meet again."
These partings continued for many years as grandmother lived until 111. And as much I desired to avoid them, they brought on the awareness that this was Ichi-go, Ichi-e, a once-in-a-lifetime moment. We were mindful of the preciousness of being there together and made it meaningful. So when she died, there was a peaceful feeling that there was no more to be said, nothing to be done, we were still together.
And now, eight years later, as I remember her on the day she left this world, she is still with me in a strangely, comfortable way. When she was present here in this world in a human body, she comforted me in my fears of living and dying by assuring me that we would always be together. She believed that through our love she would live on in me. I didn't understand it at the time, but now I know it's true.
The poet Khalil Gibran wrote, “Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” I have found this to be profoundly true. But my grandmother's death taught me that the realization of the depth of love need not be filled with overwhelming sadness. There can be tears of joy, tears of gratitude. When unity is realized the feeling of separation is transformed into a deep sense of connection and oneness.