Happiness is fleeting.
At 6 PM today my good news finally arrived in the mail. I have been antsy waiting for the mailman to come all day. I hate waiting. I was waiting for a green letter. When my parents rushed into the house – I should say flew, they literally flew – waiving my board letter in front of me, my heart stopped.
My heart stopped. It was like an omen of its own.
I swiftly tore that letter open. I could not see the green letter through the little window showing my address, and this made me even more anxious. I stared at the letter, unable to make sense of it in the first few seconds. My eyes quickly and confusedly glanced through it. The words “Congratulations, you’ve passed CPJE” did not register when I read it. I read it again. A smile formed on my face. My parents started to have a screaming fest. We exchanged hugs. More screams of happiness ensued.
I’ve finally received my long awaited green letter. I passed both my NAPLEX and CPJE. I was officially licensed to practice pharmacy in California. This was the biggest accomplishment my family and I had been working for since we stepped foot onto this foreign land March of 1995. Joy and relief could not even come close to describing how we felt. Emotions rushed through us. Emotions we could not explain. Emotions only we as a family could comprehend. We were happy.
However, happiness is fleeting.
At 9:12 PM the phone rang. My caller ID displayed an array of strange numbers. It kept ringing. Then all was silent. At 9:30 PM the phone rang again. It was loud. Annoying. Persistent. Again, it kept ringing, its urgency ignored, and then forgotten. That’s the thing about strangers. We ignore them and refuse to invite them to enter into our comfort zone. We are so stubborn we sometimes end up refusing to acknowledge the people we know.
At 11:00 PM the phone rang, again. In less than a minute everything was a blur. Despite the blasting music from our TV because all Asian parents are inherently deaf, everything was silent.
It was a silence that shattered the noise. Silence that penetrated into my green letter of emerging hope. Silence that replaced her existence.
I felt anger and sadness. I was angry because she deserved so much more. Kind, generous, and loving do not come close to describing the kind of person she was. But that is the problem with a heart attack. It does not care who you are, how young you are, or what kind of person you are. It comes into existence to rob the world of your existence.
She was my neighbor, my family. As my tears break the silence that was overwhelming my heart, I am more angered by the fact that I will not be there to see her begin her journey into eternal sleep. I cannot thank her enough for all that she has done for me my first 7 years of existence. I cannot thank her enough for making my poverty-filled childhood filled with joy and rich memories.
Happiness is fleeting. It comes in spurts. Thank you for giving me many spurts of happy memories.