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  • Within the first few days of the trip, I received an email from my mother asking for a Skype call the following evening. Her message was that my grandfather had passed away the previous day and funeral arrangements were being made. The day after we talked, touring the city included several monasteries and temples, most of which had a side chamber with walls seemingly constructed from these small ceremonial drawers containing the ashes of the deceased. Some of the chambers had benches before the walls, often covered in flowers and small offerings.
    That day was difficult. I knew that my dad's family were travelling back to Ohio to construct a similar remembrance.
    The comfort of these warmly lit rooms filled with memories of loved ones was more than appreciated, a reminder that everyone faces the loss of someone important to them, and that the easiest way to be at peace is through memory. Mine is filled with early moments at the playground, paddle boating on the lake, and later conversations about what the future might be.

    We have to mourn loss, but reflection on the loving, more pleasant memories, whether displayed in floral arrangement or photos or remnants of favorite meals, eases the pain.
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