My Two Worlds

Saturday, August 18, 2018—4:50 pm—83˚F (23˚C)—Sunny

Thank you all for your appreciation of the photos I included with my post, My First Sumi. Some of the comments were, “Achingly beautiful,” “Absolutely amazing photography and photographs,” and “Some really amazing pictures.”

I shared them with a heavy heart. For a long time I couldn’t muster the courage to look at them. The slides were safely stored in the slide carousel and kept on a bookshelf. The last time I watched them was when friends visited from Philadelphia last year. They have known Sumi from day one, when Sumi first came to Philadelphia after our marriage. The slides had been very painful to watch with them.

The truth is, every time I have watched these slides, and more recently the digital images, I have cried in solitude. Living in two worlds of the same person—My First Sumi (Sumi 1.0) and My Second Sumi (Sumi 2.0)—is extremely painful. The reality is that both these worlds co-exist simultaneously, like two banks of the same river. I can’t lock up the former world, the world with My First Sumi, in the deep recesses of my mind and forget about it. At the same time, I can’t ignore the current and real world with My Second Sumi.

After a long struggle, I have figured out my well-being depends on alternating between these two worlds with a balanced mind and not getting overwhelmed by either of them. It is like crossing a rickety suspension bridge over a turbulent river when I’m not even sure I want to get to the other side to visit Sumi 1.0. But with a determined resolve, I do cross it and navigate between the two banks of the river all while maintaining my equanimity!

I cognitively practice living in the present. However, the past does bring grief and guilt. By turning these feelings into a positive mental force it motivates my care partnering. The common thread in my two worlds is Sumi’s smile. Every day I try hard not to let that go!