Nathan Hwang

In Memoriam

Two weeks ago, a friend died, half a world away.

When I was young, death lurked over the horizon, the ramparts of an encroaching hurricane. It took distant and ancient relatives, strangers the news decided to take note of. It took the victims of shootings, and then when I knew better, the victims of car accidents. Then death was the footfall of distant artillery, walking ever closer. It took famous people I held in regard, a friend’s mother, a coworker I barely knew, a cousin I wasn’t close to. Now, the fetid scent of death lurks in the darkness, crawling closer, and it’s taken a friend I lived with, broke bread with, and had conversations with into the night.

Now I know a little better when the sun should have dimmed, know a little better the drive behind the Great Common Task. I have a feeling I’ll learn this more and more fully over the years, and that it will always be at increasingly high prices. Donating against the causes of death won’t measure up, but if we don’t exact a price on death in turn, then how will it learn to leave us be?

So goodbye, Adam, and thank you for everything. I only wish you could have seen this world we would have built…

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