I believe that we are all sent to this physical realm to learn a lesson. Each incarnation of our life offers us a new opportunity to learn something about our true nature – something that will bring us toward the light, reality, or nirvana – different words for the same theory. If we learn our lesson, we move forward towards an easier life that will offer us the opportunity to learn another great lesson. If we fail, we will have to take our issue with us into the next life, it will bear down on us, and cause us to live out that life karmically.

As I am confronted with this devastation, I wonder what my lesson in all of this? What is my lesson in this life? And what was yours? Did your death have to do with you learning a lesson, with mine, with someone else's lesson, or with them all? What can I do to prevent further suffering in the future? Was your death a matter of free will or destiny? Had you done everything you needed to do to learn? Were you leaving this incarnation so you could come back as my child, like you promised me you would, just days before your death? Will I ever know?

I have been meditating on the question, 'What is my lesson in this life?' I've run through a gamut of options: guilt, self-worth, desire, patience, and will continue to search and discover. My learning is no where near done in this life, as far as I know. My demons are present within me, just as your demons were there until your last breath (and who knows, maybe beyond).

We both wore our weaknesses on our sleeve. I think that's one reason why we fell in love with one another so deeply. Even though we were transparent with our emotions, we treated each other compassionately. We never used those weaknesses as weapons. We were gentle with one another's soft spots. But while we each had our struggles – we both shared deep empathy and compassion.

Thank god for empathy. Thank god for the compassion that you taught me and others, and that you're still teaching. Thank god for the support I've received over the past two months. Thank god for the love your family has gotten over the past two months. The empathetic source in humankind is beautiful. It's the tears that you get in your eyes when a kitten is saved from a tree by a fireman. It's the lift in your chest you feel when you see a man meet his wife at the airport with a bouquet of flowers. It's the increase in your heartbeat when you see a solider arriving home from war to his young daughter. It's the nostalgia that arises when you sing the national anthem. It's the excitement that breeds when you watch a video of an animal struggling and then another animal comes over to help. Scientifically, this act of empathy can be triggered by the mirror neuron, which allows the observer to feel as though they're in the role of the observed. Experientially, this is compassion – a beautiful side effect of being human.

While I wouldn't want anyone to feel the pain I have been dealing with over the past two months, at the same time I'm so thankful that others are witnessing the pain that's taken shape. Maybe it's self-preservation, I'm thankful other people are helping me make sure I'm safe. Maybe it's cooperation, being able to see the goodness in people, despite our world of competition and domination. Maybe it's truth, allowing myself and others to witness that the true joys in life are the simple ones, life and love.

Without love, we as humans, will be lonely. No matter how much 'stuff' we pad ourselves with to try to avoid feeling emptiness, it won't help. We will suffer. And when one person suffers, others will too because we are truly connected at the root of who we are. The pain of one person will ripple out onto a community or even global level. The offering, 'You are hurting. Let me love you,' is intrinsically good. Empathy is a true and divine power within humanity. It should not be only adapted for a grieving widow or family, but used for helping mankind at large. As Darwin said, 'Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature.'

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