In assembly, my mind wanders—as it often. Assembly is often the same thing. Exams are coming. You should study. There are no immediate consequences for not studying. We can’t and won’t enforce the studying we think you ought to be doing. We are just going to keep nagging you about it, even though this will have no effect on anyone except to waste everyone’s time. Also, someone’s not doing their social work properly—it’s usually the toilet cleaners, but today it was the class that cleans the drains by the kitchen, and yesterday the gardens needed weeding—and so the campus is dirty and untidy.

And I was thinking that no one can replace Nata. I mean, I can’t look at the world and say it’s okay she’s dead, because I can still be loved equally well. Life is still just as good as might have been for me. This isn’t true just because we are all unique and special and each of us is irreplaceable, although that’s true too. It’s true because her capacity for love, her courage, and her integrity are rare. You just don’t meet someone like that very often.

I had a student who is extremely gifted I think four years ago now. I’ve had a decent number of gifted students. I’m not totally unfamiliar with what they are like, but he was really special. I’ll probably never have another student like that again in the course of my career. Nata is like that. I’ll never meet anyone like her again.

She’s irreplaceable.

At the same time, I was thinking that I have the memory of her. Wherever people really go after they die, she would still want those memories of our time together to be something that can help me now. She wouldn’t want me to forget how much I mattered to her. If remembering her nurture and care helps me now, she would want me to do that. She would want me to keep helping me through the memories of how she helped me when she was alive.