Summary of “There’s No Way To Prepare For Grief”

Time is of the essence, he said in September of 2004 as he sat with his siblings in my aunt’s condo in Connecticut, trying to understand why my mother’s body had been giving way.
Time is of the essence, my uncle told me, when just a week and half later, my mother unexpectedly fell into cardiac and respiratory arrest, and was intubated and put on a ventilator in the ICU. I wasn’t sure what my uncle meant then – was he still hopeful? But I understood that this was his way of preparing for his sister’s inevitable death.
My extended family could not speak to one another in our grief.
Without my mother, we fell into our own pockets of Connecticut, where there were no neighbors who looked like us; no restaurants in which we could convene that served the Cantonese food my parents grew up eating in Hong Kong and Guangzhou; no places where we could dependably hear Chinese dialects.
How could we attempt to steel ourselves for all the ways these American systems have failed us – were never meant for some of us – and have left our loved ones and the most vulnerable to die? It’s the time it takes to learn the answers to questions like this that feel so excruciating; it’s seeing tragedies unfold in slow motion; it’s the plodding approach of an inevitable grief.
Despite his timing, my uncle’s mantra was ultimately one of hope, which is a useful emotion to channel in times of uncertainty.
You can’t prepare for everything; you can’t ready yourself for the way loss shocks and stuns and debilitates.
Look after all of us, okay? I hoped that now, in death, wherever he was, that he no longer felt so pressed for time.

The orginal article.