People always say that circumstances change people. They’re commonly referred to as “life-changing moments.” I’m not sure if I’d characterize my moment as necessarily “life-changing,” but it certainly has shifted my perception of the world around me ever so slightly. Maybe the change that is slowly happening inside me has always been there to begin with waiting for me give the green light. Or that explanation could also be something that I just came up with in an attempt to rationalize how I feel inside. Either way, my dad’s passing has definitely opened my eyes a little wider to things I’ve noticed before that are now more glaringly obvious. I’m not as concerned over quotidian things that seem to somehow set off some people so easily that I begin to wonder does anything really matters in the end. Maybe it’s the nihilistic side of me that’s doing the talking, but simply put, I’ve had enough of people who seem to take immense pleasure in taking down other people for no reason other than that they just seem to be programmed to do just that. Life is already too short for dealing with your own personal demons, let alone trying to combat — unsuccessfully at times — others from negatively influencing you. This may sound all New-Agey nonsense to some people, but the matter of the fact is, it’s true. That’s what I’m learning through this grieving process. My dad’s favorite saying is an old Korean proverb that basically translates to “Be strong inside but compassionate on the outside.” It’s definitely a tall order to undertake for anyone. If anything, I’d like to at least strive to be that very person. Compassion is something that can’t be taught, but I’m more than fully aware of the necessity of such quality in humanity as a whole, so I’m still going to try, try, and try my very best because I’m able to do so. Ruminating over life and death is not something that should be taken lightly, and, of course, until I face my own mortality, I will never truly understand the internal struggle that someone like my dad had to go through to accept one’s fate at the end of the tunnel. What I know is that he went peacefully with no regrets, and that gives me and the rest of us who still need to keep on living some sense of solace.