It seems strange to simply pick up your life where you left off after such a traumatic experience of going home to attend your father's cremation.
When my brother died, I was really angry that the sun came up the next day. How did the world dare to just go on as if nothing had happened? I felt guilty when I laughed for the first time again. How could I possibly find something funny? Although I don't feel quite as strongly now, it still is strange to move through the day doing the same things I did 3 weeks ago. Get up in the morning, get kids fed and ready, drop them off at various destinations, go to the lab, do science, chat with colleagues, have coffee, chat with colleagues, talk to advisor, chat with colleagues, have lunch, chat with colleagues, do a little more science, chat with colleagues, you get the idea: go through the day as if nothing has changed.
The trip wasn't easy. It was hard to get there (I still had to get a passport and a visa for F1-3), and it wasn't exactly easy to get back. I had to change my return flight to a later date. The time in between was mixed. It was good to be among family. My family is very close, especially in times of hardship, and I felt instantly, and completely at home. But I missed my father terribly. I kept on expecting him to walk through the door, or turn on the music.
A couple of the events surrounding our farewell to my father made the front page back home, and no matter where I went, there were always people recognizing my face or my name. They mean well, of course, but I shook almost a 1000 hands the day of the cremation already. I did get tired of it eventually. And my family members who stayed behind, probably still face the same thing on a daily basis.
I must say however, it was awe-inspiring to see how many lives were touched by my father, and how much of an impact he has had on my home country's society, and how much respect he's gained over the years. Maybe there were a fair number of people who appreciated him after all, maybe it wasn't all in vain. He does live on. Not only in the minds and the hearts of those he left behind, but also in the many projects and activities he was involved in. He does indeed live on...