Since I last blogged I've lost three more people (and I haven't even taken that much of a break from blogging).
My uncle Lee succumbed to his increasingly age-weakened body (a heart operation had left him too weak for more operations), and he fell sick again.
My next-door-neighbor Steve was felled by complications of lung cancer (and no he wasn't a smoker except for smoking salmon very expertly). Steve was my neighbor as long as I could remember. Growing up my first best friend was his daughter Gretchen (regrettably only around during summer vacation).
And I really valued both Lee and Steve, but I didn't cry. I teared up a little thinking of how my aunt and how Steve's wife and children were feeling, but I didn't cry.
Then Karjam's niece, Ahyangtso died. I wrote about her, here. Not that long ago, either. I loved her. She was the one who ate the food that I couldn't manage to refuse, but wasn't going to eat. She was the one who watched out for me and my needs even when Karjam was too distracted to notice. She was the one I was willing to have come and live with us. She was amazing.
She died in a freak accident, and hopefully it was almost instantaneous.
When I realized Karjam wasn't joking, that this had really happened to the girl he called his favorite niece, and to the girl who definitely was my favorite Tibetan niece (I like Drashijhet a lot, too, just for the record), I turned off the stove (I'd started cooking dinner), marched into my closet, closed the door and bawled until a little part of my brain started worrying about my throat and the fact that I had to teach eight hours the next day using that same throat.
Ahyangtso never got to do the things she wanted to do with her life. She was 19. So incredibly unfair.
A photo of Ahyangtso features on this blog entry that I wrote a few months ago.