Like all relationships, families are temporary arrangements, where people come together to co-inhabit with and support each other. The unrealistic dream which makes it work is the hope that all of the members will be together in the future even when separated by work, marriages or individual pursuits. Like most human endeavors, death is not thought much about – until it happens. Regardless, anyone who survives gets to walk away with memories, but walk away they must. The family model, though more isolated and quicker in its cycles in the modern times, is no better or worse than its pre-industrial equivalents.
Every family has its tragedies, which either become the lessons or conflicts of the present day. And, every family is a tragedy waiting to happen. I see it as an inseparable part of the human experience – it is tragic for the ones who get to have it, and also for the ones who don’t. Like all essentials, it is taken for granted, dismissed and sometimes intentionally discarded. Even the ones who do their best to preserve it eventually get crushed to see it disperse despite their most sincere efforts. In all of our battles and methods to running a family, we do not pause to consider its impermanence in moments of joy, nor do we appreciate its integrity in times of difficulty, even as something so timelessly fragile.
There are two ways in which people react to this universal tragedy – one is of denial, holding it as pain or anger, and traps like ‘why me?’, which ultimately harms them endlessly; the other is of a bittersweet thankfulness, that in between the chaos and the infinite layers of time in this universe, you got to laugh and cry with those people you could call your own, and they made you who you are. The home might now be empty, but in your memories it only echoes loudly with their laughter and presence. Who can take this away from you? How you react to this universal tragedy decides your outlook towards your existing relationships, the family you might have, the life that you are living and most importantly – your own end.