When my niece was born, it gave my family a reason to get together and celebrate a new member joining our family. My parents had become Nana and Nani, my younger brother had become a Mama, and I had become a Massi for the first time.

My mother had once said, “when a new life comes into this world and when a loved one departs from this world, it is the only time a family truly gets together - to celebrate or mourn.”

A week later, my mother received a call from her older brother in India - one of her eldest brothers had passed away. My mother has lost so many members of her family; death does not frighten her anymore. She has become stronger after losing siblings and nephews to unfortunate circumstances, and now, she has lost another brother. My Mama Ji (Uncle) was the jolliest of her siblings. He had lost his wife at a very young age, later losing both his two sons through tragedy; he persevered by accepting their loss and keeping a smile on his face. All of a sudden, he too was gone and now my mother was left with two brothers and two sisters, originally a family of six brothers and three sisters.

A few years back, I had attended my friend’s funeral. The Priest had said, when a young soul leaves this world, think of it as he/she was needed somewhere more important. Maybe he was saying this statement to help the family during their time of loss? He also stated, maybe her life journey was not meant to be long and she had accomplished her purpose in this life. Everyone is born with a purpose and when you have completed your purpose, you are taken to where you are meant to be.

In my previous blog, I spoke about self-esteem and self-confidence, relating these concepts to how busy our lives can be - the neglect of our happiness. Along with our happiness, we forget to count our blessings. I am not going to preach that we should pray, but what I am going to say is … we should at least be thankful for our loved ones.

Every day [through the news], we are informed of a missing child, gun violence, a car accident, and/or terrorism. We live in a country where our rights and freedoms are protected; we do not face the same problems, which exist in third world countries, yet we remain unhappy. We have created problems for ourselves and later blame our faith or God. If we compare our lives to those living in countries facing a civil war, oppression, and injustice, our problems are minuscule in comparison. We must to be civilized and stop the violence.

It is easier said, than done.

Recently [through the news], we have watched young adults brutalized or killed within the community. Who is to blame? Do we blame the generation or could it be their upbringing? It is a sensitive topic because we are pointing fingers at the very parents who have lost a loved one as well as parents who are dealing with the other side of the law. But whom can we blame? We cannot blame anyone for an individual’ actions but the individual in question. We submit to a competitive mentality - We attempt to prove ourselves, with an aim to impress those around us. In this attempt, we have forgotten the concept of empathy and sensibility in relation to others. We have to show the world that we have a tough exterior, however, in doing so, we affect not only ourselves but also our loved ones. Every parent tries their best to teach their children humanity and not hatred, yet we are still hurting one another.

Parents sacrifice their own happiness and comfort to provide the best for their children. They will often go above and beyond to provide (not everyone will agree with this notion). They are in the most pain when something bad happens to their child. We will not understand the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves.

Today I look at my older sister, who has transitioned from being a daughter to a mother. Her priorities have shifted; she has matured into the individual she is today. She has become responsible for another life. She will do her best to provide anything and everything for her daughter. But it will be up to her daughter to make the right choices in life. This begs the question … what are right choices?

From her perspective, the right choice can differ significantly, in comparison to our choices or that of an older generation. By the time she reaches womanhood, her choices will be different. Her life path will be different from her mother. Her decisions will be different - which may not necessarily be understood by her grandparents due to the generation gap.

When our grandparents were growing up, their lifestyle and upbringing were much different than their grandparents. This pattern will continue from generation to generation. The most we can do is guide the next generation and correct their actions when they are wrong.

Life and death are apart of us. We are born into this world with empty hands and leave with empty hands, yet we worry about what we do not have.

We must learn from our surroundings and become a better person from who we were the day before. Life is short. Count your blessings and be thankful for what you have because what you have today may not be there tomorrow.