Friday, March 25, 2016

Physics revisited

What follows is a post I published just over two years ago, when Kevin was very sick but we hadn't yet received word that we were at the end.

I've been struggling with what to say as I approach the second anniversary of his death at the same time that my father is dying, and I keep coming back to this post.

It's no less true now than it was then. Thinking of the physics of energy and matter helps sometimes.

It's no less false now than it was then. The grief and loss are deeper than any comfort can touch sometimes.

I've written before about how I feel as though I'm living in a parallel universe, that something shifted while I wasn't looking, and I ended up here. I am a living scifi story. Maybe another time I'll explore the physics of multiple universes, but I think that offers less comfort. If I can't undo the past then comfort is what I need, even when I don't know how to express what I want, even when I find my current time and place beyond easy understanding.

Here, two years to the day when he was alive but dying.
Here, two years to the day when he was drifting between this world and whatever lies beyond.
Here, two years to the day when my life is again rich but different, sometimes sepia toned.

I remind myself that with every breath I inhale particles he exhaled.
I remind myself that our DNA is intertwined.
I remind myself that energy can be neither created nor destroyed.

I remind myself that love is greater than death.

*     *     *

This post was originally published on March 10, 2014, 18 days before Kevin Michael Brooks left this earth.

The cancer journey is a hard one. (Yes, it's a platitude, but it's no less true.) It strips away everything it can take.

It strips away the future.
It strips away strength.
It strips away faith.

I have been struggling to retain faith in something, hope in something, as Kevin walks this hard path. I keep coming back to physics.

When I was younger I loved reading popular science books, and especially books about physics. I retained some of it and find that now it gives me hope. If my interpretations are wrong please keep it to yourself, let me find comfort where I may.
  • The butterfly effect. Tiny actions may have incalculable results. Leading to -
  • The observer effect. We change things by observing them. We may even change things by thinking about them. The mere fact that hundreds if not thousands of people are thinking about and praying for Kevin may still have an unexpected, amazing effect. Even if it doesn't, all of that good energy will change those who are holding him in their hearts and ensure that he is always here in some fashion or another. Which brings me to another other law of physics I love.
  • Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, it can only be converted into another form. All of the energy that went into making the stars, the earth, each and every one of us, is still present. The energy that existed in the forms of those long dead is still here. Every bit. So when we lose someone their energy still exists, just in a different form. Maybe they are now part of an ocean wave or a bit of light headed off to explore new worlds. But their basic components, at the most basic level, still exist.
More than these, I remember the law of physics I learned when I was a young teen, from those masters Lennon and McCartney. This one gives me the most hope of all.
  • And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.  Which means, no matter what, Kevin is here now in a far greater form than his body and will always be here. You will remain, too. And me. The love is not lost or destroyed, it can only grow. The more we love, the more we are.
And that's really all I need to remember, to help me retain the future, strength and faith.

(c)2014 Laura S. Packer

p.s. Yes, I have read the wonderful NPR column by Aaron Freeman. I found it after I started pondering physics. If you haven't read it, you should.

(c)2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

No comments:

Post a Comment

True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Related Posts with Thumbnails