“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

An MRI sliced my life into two irreconcilable chapters.

I lost my father in my second year of business school to a dot on a scan. Like a period at the end of an incomplete sentence, it marked a cruel and perplexing finality.

My father was an inexhaustible source of knowledge. I’d ask him an obscure question – the GDP of Burkina Faso or the science behind cosmic inflation – and unequivocally, he’d know the answer. He did mental math faster than I could punch numbers into a calculator.

In my father’s final days, his brain could no longer outsmart his illness. But remarkably…it didn’t matter. His heart, so generous, so brave, took care of everything. Just as it had taken care of me for the past 27 years. Three months earlier, he had walked me down the aisle, holding my hand with a steadiness that dispelled my wedding-day nerves. Now again he placed his hand, bruised and tangled in IV cords, on my quivering one and squeezed a sense of calmness that did not stem from reason, but from love.

It’s easy to obsess and optimize, to over-analyze and agonize, to run the numbers and weigh the pros and cons, but I will think with my heart. I will draw on my heart for calmness in the midst of instability. For you, Abbu.

— Bismah Rahmat