MEMORIES: A Father’s exit

Losing a parent is never an easy scenario. The very parent whom one takes for granted at most times leaves behind a gaping vacuum in one’s heart . Acceptance! yes of course! one does accept the death of a parent and moves on in life having no other option. Grief! yes that too. Grief plays up a big role in slowing down one’s progress in the material world but in a hidden manner it enhances one’s progress of the spiritualist manner.

Having lost my father in 1995 I have well lived a life till now. The initial sentiment of shock is still fresh in my mind to this date. Daddy was a very prominent person in my life. I couldn’t imagine a life without his physical presence. Not only was I under shock, saddened and worried about my elder brother and mother who lived with him I found myself staring into a stark reality.

Upon receiving the news of his death I first felt cheated. Cheated! yes I did feel so. I felt cheated by mummy, my brother and my uncle who had been assuring me of his recovery . They meant well of course as they did not want me to travel to see daddy in the hospital during my pregnancy. I felt cheated by the Mother Goddess whom I had worshipped ardently. Couldn’t she save him for me? I sat afront her idol to question and found an answer almost immediately. Before I could even cry in sorrow I heard an inner voice telling me, ” did you not learn that all earthly relations are temporary. The only permanent relationship you have is with God”.

This hit me hard. Yes, my grandmother (whom I called Amma) had emphasized on this statement in the hymn she often sang aloud ,” matlab ji  atheyi dosti, matlab jo parivar. matlab ja sab maaet, matlab jo sansaar…..”. It meant that all relationships, friendships and society is there for a purpose only. Did that mean daddy was my father for a purpose? I wondered as I looked up at the idol of the goddess expecting some comfort from my newly discovered true relationship.

Grief was beginning to set up space in my heart when my son came up to me. In his little effort to divert my attention from the sad occurrence he pointed out towards the glowing moon in the sky which in his words was, ” a very big golden moon”. It was indeed Sharad Purnima the next day and since our childhood (my two brothers and I) mummy had laid utmost importance to the full moon of Sharad Purnima.

Along with the grief came in flashback of beautiful memories of the whole family on the terrace of our house in New Delhi. Mummy would make us all thread a needle in pure moonlight as she believed in it to enhance our eyesight. Why, I had even forgotten all about it till my attention was drawn towards the moon that night. This was an evening of revelations and realizations. I was now fatherless yet I found I had a greater Father who would never abandon me. I looked up towards the sky expecting some sort of a signal from daddy.  Perhaps he could say a final bye, pass on a final kiss. All i saw was a plain moonlit sky. In my grief I don’t remember if I saw any stars.

We prepared for our travel to Dubai from Nairobi – Myself accompanied by my husband and our daughter and son. How I regretted not having travelled a few days earlier. It would have been better to go and meet him in person rather than meeting his lifeless body that ironically lay there at mercy of others for its disposal. In his life he was a moral and financial support for many that we knew and many that we never knew. Death can be such a robber, stealing away all of one’s attributes and possessions.

I looked in my elder brother’s face. He seemed to have matured within a couple of days. There were those visible stress lines emerged on his forehead from somewhere. I looked up at my mother. Though broken down by emotions she was the strongest person around. She kept guiding us all. When daddy’s body was being prepared for his last journey out of the house she dared the crowd that had gathered, went to give her last respects and love to daddy. Someone from among the gathered relatives tried to stop me from going near daddy in my pregnant state. It was a silly belief that a pregnant woman may not go near a dead person. I protested and mummy supported me at that time. She had dared the people once again and allowed me to touch my father one last time.

A chest full of questions were emerging in my mind. How will mummy live without daddy?How will my brothers manage such a big business spread in various countries? Who will look after them all? How will the properties be managed without him being around? Yet, in his death, he left behind his strength as a legacy. Within days the emotionally drained form of the entire family turned stronger as each one of us picked up our threads and took upon new responsibilities.

It was a silent power that had gradually lifted its head in each one. My uncle who until daddy’s death hadn’t taken any major decisions became the head of the family. He suddenly seemed to have gathered a new wisdom that helped him manage the business and family affairs with enhanced maturity. No longer was he concerned only about his wife and children. He took charge of his brother’s family too.

Mummy found it harsh living without her partener but in a couple of years she accepted her widowed status with utmost grace and smartness.  Being prudent about her financial status and dominance in family matters she carved a significant place for herself as the maternal head of the entire extended family. She found solace in her spiritual findings without letting it overpower her lifestyle. Although she couldn’t be labelled a fashionista, she draped herself stylishly and poised in elegant grooming skills.

We siblings gradually found our own strengths taking birth out of our grief. Our spiritual connection gained intelligence sense and we all began mastering our skills in various fields. My brothers never mentioned about visits by daddy in spirit form but I was constantly guided by him. To me it seemed he became closer to me in death than in life.  Death had cleared away the physical distances of the living world. He teased me frequently, played the naughty angel tricks, warned me of forthcoming happenings.

I felt privileged and very special by his visits of which some were not at all visual. At times he came as a voice in my head (not in my ears), at times he came as a thought and sometimes he came as a smell. I often felt him by his perfume that he used while alive, and that usually happened while I was praying. Then one fine day I decided I must not be selfish and revel in this pleasure. I told daddy in my mind that he was free to move on and I would be fine without him. Yes, I am fine indeed but I miss him dearly even after twenty two years.

My passion for writing took birth after daddy’s death as I wrote his eulogies and poured out my grief as poetry. I never knew I had the talent. Gradually I started getting my write -ups published. My entry into the world of journalism had begun thanks to the inspiration that came as grief. Daddy made an exit but stays on with me through my thoughts, deeds and words.

 

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