Wow – it has been almost a month since I last posted. My grandmother passed away this past Saturday as a result of a heart attack. We were all able to attend the prayers conducted in her honor via a virtual livestream. However, before we even sat down to be a part of the prayers, we had to gather ourselves – emotionally. Her passing came as a shock, as she had just returned from the hospital and was able to engage in all physical activities independently. Upon, returning from the hospital my dadiji and I FacedTimed, although she barely spoke, she looked absolutely fine. She kept staring at the camera, but didn’t say anything. In a way, I felt like she was staring directly at me – to let me know that she is fine. At that point, I hung up the phone. This was early in the morning on Saturday.
Fast Forward, to the evening time on Saturday. That is when we received the call. You know, – the call that we all usually dread. My aunt told us, that my grandmother had passed away. In all honesty, my first reaction consisted of me crying. I cried a little bit, got myself together and kept on a strong face for my parents. Shortly thereafter, as we continued to discuss how shocked we were by this news, I could not longer hold in the tears. I burst out crying in front of my parents – and I could feel that they were in pain too.
That night, was a difficult one. As soon I learned about the passing of my grandmother, I started finding pictures of my grandmother and I on my laptop. The photos took me down memory lane, and back to the times we had spent together. I stared at these photos in disbelief, because I think the most difficult part in all this is trying to really come to terms with the fact …. that the person who you were always used to seeing during your visits to India- will no longer be there.
I had difficulty sleeping that night, and the next day my aunt and uncle were planning to come visit us. I was happy about learning about their intention to visit, however, I knew that this would be an emotional time for all of us. The happiness stemmed from being able to get some sort of closure regarding my grandmothers passing.
The next day had arrived, and I remember waking up with this weird energy. You know, the depleted kind of energy. When someone close to you passes away, you literally feel it on so many levels. My aunt and uncle had arrived, and together, we were reminiscing on all of my grandmothers’ beautiful memories. She lived such an amazing life – she traveled all around the world, and was never dependent on any one. If she was present, everyone was bound to have fun. Although, old by age, she was the youngest person I knew by spirit. Everyone around her always had a good time, because of the person she was. She was also one of the most caring people I have ever come across. She would be present at every event, and showed everyone the same amount of love that she would show to her own children.
When I was younger, my grandmother had visited us, and at that time all of my cousins were also here. These times were so precious. The phrase “Are You the Boss?” was so popular in our household (when said in Hindi, this phrase makes sense). So, one day she asked me to do something – and I asked her this question. There was a long pause, and then everyone started laughing. From that point forward, everyone started saying the same phrase. It was almost like the key phrase in our family. You see, her light hearted spirit would shine in so many ways – and that is why would laugh along with us.
There are so many points I can highlight that truly represent the amazing moments my grandma and I shared together. However, I want to tell you about her top two qualities that made her who she was, and ultimately someone that people admired.
Firstly, she was always present. When she was in the room and/or at gatherings – her presence was felt. She got along with everyone, and not the “Hello, how are you?” kind of superficial getting along, the “What’s really been going on with you?” kind of getting along. All to say, that she made you feel like the important person you are. Unique in her approach, and caring in her ways – she really listened, not to just listen – rather, she listened, to understand.
She was a bold woman. Her boldness shined through everything she did – she spoke her mind, even when she knew people did not want to hear what she had to say. She always stood up for what was right. She was very straightforward with her words and intentions, because she didn’t engage in gossiping. Either she would say it to your face, or she would not say it at all. Most times, she said it to your face. Her boldness also sparkled through the courageous decisions she took. For example, on her older days she decided to travel to different cities within India… that too, on her own. One time, my aunt had advised her to not travel at her age…. guess what she did? She travelled. She didn’t listen to people- and did what her heart desired. Now, that’s what I call courageous.
I remember the time I had gone to India in 2007- she had made it clear that she would take me around India, and look after me. Indeed, she did. She travelled with me throughout India, and not for one minute did she complain. Most of my time there we were traveling, but she was happy to support me. Courageous, bold, caring…that’s dadiji. Thank you, for that dadiji- you’re a rockstar.
You know the older people get, the more wisdom they have to share with you. Dadiji was the eldest in the family, and the most humble human being ever. Our family, is happy to know that she lived a very adventurous life. I can never put into words, the kind of optimism she has brought into my life. However, I can say that I have learned so much from her. I miss her every day- and will think of her daily. I love you dadiji, keep being the awesome person you are.