And so we say goodbye.
I assume that many of you know already, but Arijit died at 10:30am on March 22. Below is the email I sent out to close friends and family.
It has been almost a week since then, and yet it feels like forever. I have a hard time keeping track of the days; the past two weeks all flow together into one continuous blur of sickness and improvement and deterioration and grief.
I plan on keeping this space open, at least for a time, as a place to work out the thoughts and feelings that race through my head and my heart. I don’t yet understand this thing called grief—I doubt I ever will—but as a snooty English major, I believe in the power of words to comfort. Perhaps once I put these things into words will they begin to make sense.
I know some of you have heard the news, but I wanted to tell you all (semi)personally: Arijit died this morning. He had been deteriorating in recent days, but he went quietly and gently, comfortable and free from pain. He was surrounded by love, with me by his side and Pancakes snuggled up with him in the bed. It was, in the words of his hospice nurse, the most peaceful passing she had ever seen.
It had been a rough week, as he had been exhausted and spent most of his days sleeping; when he woke, he was often very confused and disoriented, and his wakefulness was very brief. However, he did have some moments of clarity and awareness, and I will be forever grateful for those times when I got the real Arijit back. I got to hold him and hug him, and be held and hugged by him. I got to tell him how much he meant to me, even though I know he already knew. I got to talk to him and hear him laugh. The last lucid thing he said to me was, “I love you.”
There are not enough words to thank you all for the kindness, support, and love we both have received these past two years. Arijit was so incredibly fortunate to have such a vast and loyal network of friends, and he was so deeply appreciative of and grateful for each of you. He wanted you all to know how much he loved you and how much it meant to him to have such wonderful people in his life. I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for him, and I am so grateful that I married into such an amazing group of friends and family. I have never known anyone who could inspire others—including complete strangers—to strive to be better people the way Arijit could, and the fact that he saw his inspirational acts as simply the duties of a decent human being says more about the kind of person he was than my words ever could.
My heart is broken, but I am comforted by the fact that I was loved, and will always be loved, by one of the greatest men to have ever lived. As much as it hurts right now, I know that I got to spend seven fantastic years with my soulmate—that’s more love and joy than most people get in an entire lifetime. I will carry Arijit with me forever, and will do my best to be worthy of his love and leave my world a better place than I found it. Just like he did.
In one of our last conversations, I had told Arijit that the world would be a much darker place without him in it. He told me I was wrong, and that while things would be hard, the world was a beautiful place and would continue to be beautiful after he was gone. I have a hard time believing him, but I know he would not lie to me, so I am trying to keep this in mind as I figure out a way to get through life without him. His 32 years were far too few for this world, but I will spend the rest of my life doing what I can to spread love throughout the world and continue his legacy of compassion, optimism, and hope. I hope you all will, too.