The week started off wonky enough as I had to informs a clients child of their demise, but at the time, I had no idea more changes were coming.
Yesterday my mamaji passed away at the age of 84. One of the toughest things in getting older is hearing news like this. Immediately, I got a flashes of memories of him. From the time he showed up at my boarding school in India with fried chicken to living with him for a few months in London, and thinking he was unwell because I never saw him out of the bed (he REALLY REALLY like to stay in bed) to listening to his dry humor. But where I got to know him best was through his son Bobby who not only is a mentor, brother, but someone who is missed at any family or friends gathering. He is his legacy along with his wonderful daughter, his wife and his many grandchildren. The man left us a treasure.
Both father son spoke little but listened deeply. How do I know that? Because even in their spare words, they conveyed so much. Their gift for making others laugh always surprising because of their quietness. Yet mamaji had a commanding presence, and I couldn’t imagine passing by and not greeting him. Sometimes, in large families, there are relatives that you know only by name and relationship, however my mother’s family made it so that we grew deep bonds not just with them but their children, who in turn, had children. And it only grew as we attended big birthdays, engagements and weddings. But its the funerals that hit home hard. They remind us that we are here only for a time to be determine by fate or God, that each day is a chance to live the life you want. I know mamaji certainly did. Even though the running joke about the bed sounded like we were teasing him, it contained tons of respect and love for him living his life his way.
I am blessed I recently got to see Gurcharan Mamaji, but it now hits me that my mother has lost yet another sibling. When I think of it that way, it hits hard somehow as I imagine how I would feel if it was one of my siblings. Funny how we put a distance on relationships simply because they are far in years and distance. Coming from a family of 9 (I think there were more but they passed as children), I have gotten to experience most of them. I took it for granted that no matter the bridge in time, nothing seemed to change in their love for each other and their big families. I go back to Bobby and his family, and his kids, and now we grieve but held by each other.
Each loss takes a hit but perhaps the only saving grace that we got to experience the ones gone at least. I do want my son to meet the others, to feel the love that we have, and to know that he will always be surrounded by love, near and afar, and even when time passes, the relationships don’t fade, but get stronger.
For now, that has to be enough even as the ache of losing yet another resounds in my heart.