Category Archives: On Death & Dying

Dealing with Death, Feelings Associated with Death

Why is MERS-CoV Still, Here???

Here’s, that N-E-W-S-F-L-A-S-H!!!

Reason W-H-Y, MERS-CoV is still, on this, earth is because, we can’t coexist with it, because we all feared death too much, we keep on, trying, to ERADICATE this, virus, instead of, learning, to CO-exist in PEACE (but how, with the contraction rate getting higher, the death rate from MERS-CoV higher by the second here!!!) with it.

Think about it, like how influenza worked, from when it first came on (to the world), the humans DIED, after catching it, so they (humans from way back when!) started developing all those, flu shots, to inoculate themselves, to defend themselves against it, which in turn, caused, the FLU to HIT harder, harder, harder, AND harder each, and every year, and that, is how the MERS-CoV virus is, developing too, because it’s, a HELL of a lot, more intelligent than we humans, and it is, driven by, SURVIVAL!  (unlike how we are driven, by the FEARS of, the inevitable, DEATH!).

So had we, STUPID humans (yeah, that’s what we all, ARE!!!), allow this new “breed” of virus, to TAKE enough lives away (I know, I sound cruel, don’t I???  But HECK, that, is how the truth is!!!), then, it would’ve, dissipated on its own, instead of, snowballing, growing, mutating, too quickly, compared to how those, effective vaccines are, coming out right now.

When are we (as a species!) going to learn, that we CAN’T defeat, DEATH, that if you’re meant to die, you will D-I-E, there’s NO chance in HELL (been there already, by the way!) you will, EVER, dodge, that Horseman of the Apocalypse!

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Filed under Lessons, Life, Observations, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Wake Up Calls

On Your, Deathbed…

On your, deathbed…

Oh, you want to, share my bed, death???  Sure, but, just, don’t hog all the covers, take away, all the heat!

On your, deathbed, there’s, nothing, but the final breaths in your bodies, you tried, to cling so hard onto, not wanting, to let go, ‘cuz as you do……BEEP!!!  STAT!  charge!  STAT!

On your, deathbed, why are people so afraid of that dude, in that, black cloak, with that scythe in hand anyways???  On your, deathbed, there’s nothing, but who you used to be, no traces of anything you physical that’s, been, left behind, for you’re, already, hauled away, and, that fire’s coming, to turn you, into, a skewer kebab!

like this…illustration found online, without turning into a zombie, of course!

On your, deathbed, you got nothing, it’s too late to ask for forgiveness, you’re not gonna get it anyways, as for all those done-me-wrongs, done-you-wrongs, yeah, none of that’s gonna get, reclaimed, reowned, by you again that’s for sure.

On your, deathbed, there’s, nothing to see, just these, dead skin, covering up the rotting away flesh, and that skeletal frame from within, all of that, nothing, more.

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Filed under Life, On Death & Dying, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

One-Way Airfare

The twists and turns of, fate, how this woman made the plans, but, fate stepped in, translated…

In a white lacy dress, with her hair straight, to shoulder-length, as she’d entered from the door, she’d sat down in front of me, stated, “Ms. I need a one-way airfare to London.”

In that era, when the e-ticket hadn’t been invented yet, the counter clerks of the travel agencies served the functions of the homepage of the travel agency websites, needed to have an assortment of skills, to understand all the knowledge there is, available to know, so we can, tailor to the needs of our, customers.  And so, as she sat herself down, I was on the phone, with my fingers, tapping away on the keyboard, asked her to wait.

To keep my customers’ waiting not too bored, I’d, kept a cactus, which allowed my customers to look, to touch.  She’d, looked upon the potted cactus with enthusiasm for a bit, started playing with that hanging décor on her Chanel bag.

Because the one-way airfares are more expensive, without the discounts, after I hung up the phones, I’d asked her why she’d only wanted a one-way airfare.  She’d told me, “I’m marrying my fiancée in England, and won’t be returning back here anytime soon.”  I’d flipped open her passport to book the flight for her, and glanced over at her date of birth, only twenty.  I’d offered my blessings, “Congratulations!”, and this seemed to have gotten her enthusiastic in telling me her story.

Growing up in Hualien, she has indigenous ancestry, at the celebration of the tribe two years ago, she’d met her husband from England.  He owns a textile mill, came to Taiwan, to understand the weaving methods, the artistic of the natives, and so, the elders of her tribe set up the visit, she, being the only one with a college education, tagged along as a translator.  As her husband returned home, the two wrote to one another in letters, and fell madly in love.  Two days ago, they were engaged, and readied themselves, for the return back to England.

“I liked calling him ‘daddy’, because he is older than my father.”, she’d smiled, and told me, “I didn’t care how others see him as!  I love him, simply because he’d liked my identity, and loved my culture, and encouraged me to get into my favorite subject, history after we married, he’d made me feel free, to be, me!”

That feeling of being moved, and blessing filled up my heart then.  I’d stopped what I was doing, and focused on listening to her, sharing her joys.  Before she’d paid the fees, she’d left the visa, her passport, and her plane ticket, said in a musical tone, “let me know when the visa’s ready!”

Four days later, the visa was approved, but I’d, tried calling her the whole day, nobody answered.  Seeing how the departure date was in three days, I’d waited on, anxiously.  Two days passed, a man called me back, stated in his Chinese that wasn’t, fluent enough, “Vivian’s dead”.  It was like thunder and lightning striking at the same time, hard for me to believe.  The man continued, “after she’d left the travel agency, she’d gone on a cab, the driver ran a red light, and she’d, died on impact, they couldn’t, save her.”, then, the gentle sobbing came into my ears, my eyes turned red, and tears started coming, my hands, trembled, couldn’t make a word out.  Don’t know how much longer it was, the man came back on, stated, “after the forty-nine days worth of offerings, I’ll come to get the visa.”

It was the year I was twenty-four, the very first time, I’d felt, how unpredictable, how short life can become, and I couldn’t, stop myself from crying.

A week later, the man showed up, looking really weakened.  The travel agency decided to give a refund back.  The man said thank you, asked me, “are you the last person she saw that day?  How did she appear on that day?  Happy?”

Returned back to how she’d looked that day, I’d told the man from my memories, that innocence of a young child, playing with the decoration, how focused she was, in observing the cactus I have on my desk, how her eyes filled with, joys, and hope, and also, expectations too………………

And so, this, is how unpredictable life can be, this woman made the plans for her life, and yet, fate stepped in, and took her life, and, there’s no right or wrong, it just, is, and, yet, the travel agency worker was able to, see her joys, and shared the woman’s moment of expectation, of dreams of her life in the future with her husband from England, and now, it all, ended, way, too soon…

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Filed under Awareness, Broken Promises, Life, On Death & Dying, Properties of Life, Reality Clashes with Dreams, the Finality of Life

Fare Thee Well

Lessons that life, and death, have to, offer, to us all, translated…

After My Father Passed On, in 2009, I’d Gone to Join in the Monk Group of Fagu Mountains, and, the Past of Taking Care of My Own Father in His Dementia, was that Gem that Remained in My Memories, But it’d Allowed My Self from the Separate Times to Start the Conversations of Life, and, Death…………

We Will Meet Up Again, Once More

My father was holding on to my hands when he died, that was, the temperature that he’d become, most, used, to.

He saw my smiling at him when he went, that was, the most soothing look to him.

My father also heard my voice, reciting the Buddhist verses, as we lifted his body to the funeral home, and, I sat beside him, on my own, and, recited the Buddhist verses to him for eight hours, and, as soon as the eight hours was up, I’d, kissed him lightly, on the cheeks—a ritual we have for one another when we see each other, and, this day was, no exception.

I’d, rarely, let someone outside of my family care for my own father, even as he was hospitalized, he had the care of the nurse’s aide, we were always, close by his side.  As the workers of the funeral home came, to give my father his final bath, I couldn’t go along with him, and so, I can, only, whisper in his ears, told him to not feel afraid, when they’d, bathed him, and I’d, pleaded with the two gentlemen, do tell my father what you’re about to do before you do it, because, after my father fell ill, he’d become, like a child, fearful of pain, and, dependent too…………” the two gentlemen were, stumped, then, told me in a serious means, that they will.

illustration from UDN.com

圖/江長芳

After my father was bathed, he was lain, inside that coffin, with an indigo blue robe, with a cap on his head, that was, what he’d wanted to be, buried in, his favorite way of dressing up in his childhood years back home.  And, he looked as cute as he’d been, when he was asleep from before, and we can’t help but exclaimed, “how cute!”, had it not been those who are around us, offering their, final respects, and the means of how we should behave ourselves accordingly to the funeral processions, I would’ve, given him, pecks on his cheeks again.  And, as those two gentlemen see me do so, they will surely, become, dumbfounded, again.

Afterwards, they’d come to speak to mom, said, that they’d worked in the funeral business for a long time, that even after my father died, we’d still, loved him, cherished him so, “normally, after we bathed the deceased, we’d, placed them into the coffin, ready to seal up the coffins, and that was, normally, the final time the families ever see the deceased, and most people would start crying like hell, only you and your families, rushing up to the coffin, to fight to tell the father how cute he’d, looked.”

Life is, unending, and we will meet up again, and, I hope that every time we meet up, it’s, with a better version of our selves than from before.  I do believe, that my father passed on, to his own, nirvana with a whole lot of love, and his, will and wishes too.  Some told dreamily, that me kissing him on the cheeks, it will allow him to carry the love of his daughter in this life, to the next, that the next lifetime, he will have a birthmark on his cheeks.  Although that was, only a dream, I’d still, paid special attention to children with a birthmark on their left cheeks, and, when I see her/him, I would, surely, hug that young child hard.

The Lessons for One Lifetime

After my father passed away, I’d become, a monk, and ever since, I’d, tried finding the wisdoms from within, and with the clues I found, I’d, find ways to understand the grand schemes of life, and, met up with, my, self.

Being my own master, it was my choosing, to become a monk, because, “life is not just, owned”, I’d, wanted to, head into the “lessons” of my own life, the author of “The Doctor’s Manual from -45-degrees Celsius”, Lien wrote: “the children who are blessed, should give more than normal people, that way, life would be more, meaningful”.  That line echoed in my mind, I had always been, a blessed child, and I certainly needed to, pass this, sense of blessings out to others.

And now, I’d lived as a monk for a whole decade, and it’d made me feel, that this process of becoming a monk was another sort of “owning”: after parting, we meet back, if we don’t, then, the parting would be, meaningless.  For the ten years, I’d, severed, continually meeting up to my past states of mind in the giving, and receiving from and to others around me.  And, at a certain space and time, there would be things that surfaced back up to mind which I’d already, forgotten, like they’d become, a part of, a parallel track of life I’m currently on now.

My father gave to me, a rich, fulfilling childhood, and gave me the lessons of my life too.  In my memories, he was, sturdy, and authoritative, with a whole lot of love for us.  On the days he came home, he would cook together with my mom, teach her to dance, and, shared with us his encounters from abroad.  Back then, I was filled with the fantasies, hoped that he could take me on the ship with him, and couldn’t understand why he couldn’t, take me along, and, on the day he alighted the ship again, I’d always, cried too hard, and needed the adults to, pull me back, for him, to get on the cabs successfully.  I’d wondered, what was going through my father’s mind, as he’d, left then?

I don’t have an answer for that now.  And yet, as I become older, in love, in interpersonal relations, I’d slowly understood, gained the experiences, that “parting” is, the lesson I’m still, learning, in this lifetime.

And so, this, is common to us all, parting, the lesson of it, and it’s not what’s gone, but what’s, left behind, like the values, the goodness, the acts of kindness, that a person leaves behind for the world, after s/he is gone, that’s, most, important.

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Filed under Lessons, On Death & Dying, Parent-Child Interactions, Parenting/Parenthood, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, the Finality of Life

To Solitude, a Poem

On the meanings of, death!  Translated…

You Said that I’d, Prayed for You

With My Palms Together Majestically Offering to Buddha

A Dragonfly’s Willing Legs

Visited Many Places that Were Beautiful

Now, with its Wings, Together Behind its, Back

I Know You are Afraid

So I Didn’t Speak

hands in, prayer…

查看來源圖片
photo from online

Just, Watched You, with My, Compound Eyes

The Flower from the Gingko Fell

With the Old Coins, Found its Way to the Donation Box

The Rivers, Mountains, Became the Amplifier to the Vast World

As I Stared, I’d, Let out that First Awe

The Rain Fell on the Flapping Wings

The Wind Started Dancing around that Sky that’s Become, too, Salted

By then You’d Already Gone, Away

Couldn’t Hear that Drum Sounding Off on the Top of the Mountain

And so, this is on, departing, on leaving everything in the world behind, and, you still can’t take it (whatever it may be!) when you go, you leave, everything behind, except maybe, your own, dead bodies, yeah, that’s the only thing you’re, gonna take with you when you go!

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Filed under Life, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Poetry, Properties of Life, Values

The News of Your, Death…

You’d gone, and that, was that!  Nothing left to say, you’d, said it all, I suppose, or maybe, you’d not said it all, but, you’d, run out of time, and just, gotta go…

The news of your, death, it’d, not, surprised me one bit, because, EVERYBODY dies, that’s, the only thing that’s an absolutely of life, and, no body, escapes, that scythe, from the Ripper’s hand.

The news of your, death, it got me thinking, about my own legacy, what I’d, left, or is, leaving behind, and, I’m still, trying to, figure it out here.  The news of your, death, well, that was, all, he’d, written, and he’d, signed off.

There was, nothing more, to say, not for any of us, who are, left behind, because, before he “went”, he’d, said it all for us all……………

The news of your, death, well, it’s, old now, and, growing, wrinkly, by the passing of, every single, second, and soon, you will be, nothing more, than, that distant memory from the past, to every one of us you’d, left, behind.

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Filed under Life, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

The Lotus at Home, a Poem

On that final rite of, passage in our, lives, translated…

From the Ancient Riverside

Entered into a Tomb

Blooming by the Rock Cliffs

Toward the Seat of Buddha

Your Stuffed Up Luggage Contained All the Trials of a Lifetime

Like the Ancient Passages for Trade

With the Salt of the Years Seeping Out

The Sands, the Wind Had Already

Melted into the Books

like the goddess of mercy who sits, like this…

查看來源圖片
photo from online

An Imaginary Pond

The Frogs Called the Fireflies Twinkling On & Off

As the Horses Hissed by Your Ears, Swiftly Passing You by

The Swaying Skirt

Pushing on the Summertime Moonlight

The Lotus Back then

Hardened Like the Hearts

Sat, in the Midst, of, a Bundle of, Mercy

And so, this, is how we search for that mercy for us in death, how we hoped that we don’t, go to hell after we die.

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Filed under On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Poetry, Values

Nothing Left, to Go, Back, to

Her childhood home is, no longer, in, existence, physically, but she’d, still, longed, to visit, the location, and, knowing that she will get disappointed, by the expectations she’d held, of the place in those memories of hers, we’d, delayed, taking her back…

Nothing left, to, go, to back, to, don’t you know that?  Your childhood home does NOT exist in present day, I’d gone back a short while ago (why didn’t you take me with???), and, it wasn’t, as you’d, described it to me!

查看來源圖片
so close, yet too, far, away, isn’t it??? Photo from online

Nothing left, to, go, back to, that place in your memories, it no longer, existed, the government urbanized those, old, flat houses, and, turned the area into, a more, modern place now, and that patch of green you’d, run wild and free on in your, childhood, no more too.  Nothing left, to, go, back to, but you’d, still, longed, to go, “home”, but, this is, your home, you’d, lived here, since you came from your, original, hometown…

Nothing left, to, go, back to, that place is, no more, everything, is not the same as you’d, remembered it as!  Nothing left, to, go, back to, that place only existed now, and forever, in your, memories, and your memories, are, fading away, by the day too.

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Filed under Life, On Death & Dying, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

Unwilling

On death and dying, based off of the Buddhist belief systems, translated…

After the Passing of My Father, in 2009, I’d, Become a Monk with the Fagu Mountain Foundations, Taking Care of My Father in His Aging, Demented Years, was that Gem that Remained in My Memories, But, it’d Made the Me Ten Years Later, Start This, Conversations that’s, Transcendental of, Time…………………

The Travel Bag I’d Packed for Dad

Tired from reading my books, so I’d, shifted my gaze to the photo of my father in that Christmas hat, his round face had a feeding tube into his nose, and that look of a child made my heart ached, smiled at me lightly, and I’d, replied back to him with a similar smile.

Before dad I always acted crazy, wanted him to laugh with me, to play, to finish EVERY single item to care for him.  I have NO clue how he would interpret his crazy daughter, but as I see my cherished old baby, I can’t help, but smile on, wanted to hug him, to kiss him every single day.  Looking at his face, asleep soundly like an infant, I can’t bear to leave his side, worried that if he didn’t see me when he woke, he’ll, cry again.  And, even though it was hard for me to let go, I must, if that day will come, I can only hope, that my depending-on-me-too-much dear old pops can, follow the steps of Buddha closely, to not get lost.  I kept on worrying, just continued, worrying…………………

illustration from UDN.com

圖/紅林

In a corner of my home, there was a small travel pack, that was prepared by me for my dad, the whole family knows it too.  There’s the quilt we will pull over his body, the Buddhist verses chanting machines, the phone number of the funeral home, a pair of his dress shoes that he’d worn regularly, for the sake of when that day comes, he can, leave it all behind, with nothing, holding him back.  Every time we were told he needed to get placed in the I.C.U., I’d always, take this small pack with me, or, as the phone rang during the middle of the nights, my eyes would, automatically, shift to where the travel pack was.

I was born too late, knew things a bit too late, and, all I could do for my father, is just, this.

I’d often thought, that if that day comes, for my father’s sake, I can’t cry, I can’t, have him leave this world with his worries of me, and he couldn’t hear that music that’s, guiding him toward nirvana, that I needed to, see him off, in smiles.  I have to, make myself stronger, learn to, hold back my own, tears—and yet, as I’d thought of all of this, tears, they came, out.

Where Can I Go, to Find Him

I wasn’t willing, if one day, I’m, never to see my father again, what shall I do?  There’s no place, where, can I go, to find him?  I think, I shall, cry at the end, I’m, a crybaby, just like dear old dad.  Even though, everybody says that illness is trying, the end is the release from the bodily tortures, but, it’s also, the start of a, hard and trying time of missing the ones we lost too much.

Time came and went like the flash floods, we became, so tiny, like those, sediment.  Turning around, everything is, no longer, as it once, had been, how many lifetime’s worth of affinity must there be, for us, to meet up in this, current life?  If we want to meet up, then, we will keep on, walking on those, eggshells, without a second thought, along with the mercies of all the gods, then, we will be given the chance, to be together, in one, lifetime.

Life is a journey, we are on that same train together, some get on early, get off early, everybody has a different time; husband and wife, father and daughter, siblings, no matter how deeply we’re all connected, no matter how much we love one another, everything will be gone, like a flash of, lightning, but everything we’d gone through, will settle in, inside that field of our own cognition, like those, Buddhist beads.  We should, cherish what time we have on the ride, to use the time we’re given, to give to others, to cherish those around us, then, we wouldn’t, let what we’d been given, the kindness, the mercies that we received in life, waste, away.

Everlight Thinks

In the endless karmic cycles, how many times we parted already?  The Buddhist verses told us, that the tears we’d shed in the karmic cycle from hate, love, overflowed the four seas, the bones we’d accumulated, already, surpassed the tallest of peaks.  I will, use the body my parents had endowed me, to follow the Buddhist path, to give to the world in all my lifetimes, to give back to, all on earth.

Yeah, this, is this woman’s will, she’d, lost her father, and, it’d made her realized, that life is, filled with, the uncertainties, and that drove her to want to give back to the people in the world, not just those whom she cared for, she has a grander kind of love, which grew out of the love for her own, families.

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Filed under Family Matters, Life, Loss, Old Age, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

On that Dirt Bike, to Find Dad

The posttraumatic experience of weathering through the biggest earthquake in the history of Taiwan back on September 21, 1999, how the effects of the earthquake stayed in you, even to, this, very day…translated…

Upon reading the article “The Alarms Sounding Off in the Ruins” on September 21st by the writer, Yen, it got my imagination running wild.  That deep autumn night of twenty-two years ago, the moon was with her gentle glow, but, the people who’d become, separated by life and death became, like those wounded wolves, howling aloud in pain up at the moon, and that twisting and winding mountain and river, I simply, can’t put out of, my mind.

My pops at age seventy-five, longed to see the beautiful sceneries of Guguan, and since he was discharged from the services, he’d, returned back to his hometown, and returned back to life of that simple farmer, with the hoe, he’d gone to his field by the day, and he got a perfect view of the seven heroes of Guguan.  On the evening of September 21st, there was total power outage across the entire island, the communications got shut down too, I couldn’t get in touch with pops who lived in the mountains, worried for the entire night.  Early the following morn, my younger brother and I drove into the mountains to find him, as we drove from Fengyuan toward Dongshih, there was this huge breakage on the roads, the roads were elevated three stories high, broken.  There’s nothing for us to do but to turn back around, and instead, we took out our dirt bikes, headed up another alternative mountain pass, and, went toward Dongshih by way of Daohsingshe, back then, the Dongfeng Bridge was about to break off, but, our motorcycles ran across it, barely.

As soon as we entered into the local streets of Dongshih, I could still remember what it’d looked like right now: the houses fallen down, the tall buildings, broken in half, the dead bodies covered in white clothes, with the legs showing only, those who are waiting for rescue, with the wrapped bandages on their heads, the mothers with eyes so hollow, holding tight to their own young…………I couldn’t, take a second look, just, stepped on the gas, and, pass through fast as I could.

【看當年】九二一大地震 – YouTube

(and yes the link works!)

My brother and I dodged the fallen rocks along the ways, the fallen trees, by the time we got to the tunnel, the tunnel was already, collapsed, no more roads up ahead we can drive into.  wed parked the vehicle, and, the two of us, sister and brother, went down to the river valley, all the way upstream the Daja Creek, and, we’d, cut the passage open ourselves, and on the way, we’d bumped into the younger generations of the local natives who are headed down the mountains to get help, after we’d exchanged intel, we’d called out to them, “Luka” (meaning, keep moving forward, this was, the only Atayal word remained, inside my memories), and, wished one another, a safe passage, then, I’d, handed the keys to my vehicle to the man, hoping it’ll help him get down the mountains to get the help quickly enough, he’d asked me, how he shall, return the keys back to me, I’d told him that it wasn’t, necessary, that the dirt bikes are a necessity, for his life in these parts.

We’d walked for five whole hours, arrived at Guguan, just before sunset, our ancestral home was, half torn down, the sweet olive tree, the persimmon tree, rooted up completely, thankfully, all the elders, the children all found their way at the springs hotels, and the springs hotel served its function of a temporary shelter, with foods and water, and a place to stay.  Nobody was injured in the valleys, only two dead hens that got crushed, thanks to the blessings of, God.

Seeing how pops are without a scratch on him, after we’d had our instant noodle with an egg that was heated, then suddenly, I’d, let the worries, fall off, my shoulders then, I’d, broken down, started crying like hell, and I can, no longer, contain myself anymore, the townships of Dongshih was hell on earth!  And I’d, just, walked from the hell on earth, out!

For the many years following, I’d often waken up in my dreams, and scared to sweating like crazy, that long street, became the River Styx, and who’s, the ferryman there.

Awhile ago, at 6:41 in the evenings, I felt the land shaking underneath my feet, the cabinets started, clinking and clanking around, I flew into, a panic then.  Every year at Mid-Autumn Festivals, I’d always, felt tightened up, more so this year compared to the previous, and I’d worried about the crowds gathering up too.

And so, this earthquake that’s, occurred just a while ago, it’d, triggered the memories of your fears of the earthquake back in 1999, and that’s, expected, after all, the one that occurred back in 1999, was totally with, too many fatalities, especially when you’d seen death, all the way, to find your father, it left that, deep impression inside of you, and this recent one, it’d, triggered everything, brought everything you’d felt back in 1999 back again.

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Filed under Cost of Living, Life, On Death & Dying, Properties of Life, Re-Experiencing the Trauma, the Finality of Life