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from Paul Graham

I recently discovered a letter that Lolly had written to me six years ago when my father died suddenly. I found it helped me now to read again how he looked at life, and love, and death, and thought it might help you.

Feb 1999

Dear Paul,

In times like this, so many things go through our heads. I have yet to lose a parent, and will never know just how hard it really is until I do. But I know what it’s like to hurt and suffer (although I’ve been spared a great deal of it so far), and I know that it does no good to ask why. Life is in motion, and with it comes joy and grief, contentment and suffering. Asking why is futile. There is no why, there just is.

Forgive me Paul if this sounds trite - it’s just me trying to support you. You’re a great friend who I care about immensely. I haven’t seen you and now I’m going away. I don’t know your headspace, and don’t want to burden you with trite thoughts. So please see them only as my gift to you. If they offer you no thoughts that you don’t already have, then I’m happy to encourage you. If they offer you nothing, but an attempt to bring you peace of mind, then know that it’s the thought that counts, and these are my thoughts and prayers which I hold for you as well as give to you. And if they do somehow give you something to help you, then I’m glad I can give you something.

In God’s eyes, we are like a little baby in a crib. She wakes up alone and afraid. She does not realize that she is not alone at all, but loved immensely. Her weakness, confusion and vulnerability only serves to heighten the parents’ love for her. We are weak and fragile in God’s sight, but know that we are loved all the more because of it.

We are not from here. We came here and we will undoubtedly leave here. Life is our journey home, and like all journeys, especially long ones, there will be trials and suffering, joy and adventure. We must accept them all.

If we came from anywhere we came from love. Love is stronger and more powerful than any tangible thing this world can offer. It is more powerful than any law (as Ghandi proved), and to those that truly embrace it, more powerful than even the threat of torture and death (the saints and the martyrs proved this). It invokes compassion instinctively, and without contrivance, it breeds humility, it lives in tears of grief and joy. It grows and is nurtured when it comes into contact with itself, it lives on even when the body’s journey is ended. It started the world, it sustains the world, and is now the home of your dad. Your love for him, and his love for you is the same, and it will travel with you and grow until you meet again.


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