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DADDY | 4 YEARS AGO or A LIFETIME AGO

4 YEARS AGO or A LIFETIME AGO: “When you live it’s how you are. When you’re gone it’s not how you lived, but how you’re remembered.”

I say, with deep and significant love.

DADDY | April

Note: I’ve collected all the posts and thoughts I’ve shared about my Daddy’s death in one place. Some people have found it helpful as they’ve navigated through their own experiences, or, as they’ve had to step in to support others. This is one in a series, and you can find the full list of posts here.

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DADDY | GO BIRDS or HUMBLED BY THOUGHTFUL

Dad was the biggest Eagles fan. When you think of the speed bumps his fandom took on the way to becoming what I consider to be their #1 fan, you’d agree. How far he traveled to get here. How many sports he immersed himself in to get here. How much time he gave up to give himself time to watch. A politician’s son from India, to a Sunday afternoon loyalist of all things Eagles.

But that wasn’t all. My Dad may have been the last known adopter of the DVR. Which means all games were scheduled for and around, and All were consumed (not watched, but voraciously consumer) … live.

He died effectively the day the Eagles won their first Super Bowl. It’s cruel. When you consider the evils inflicted upon him. The mythological travails of an Eagles fan for effectively their whole NFL existence. I mean, Richie Kotite alone. And on the doorstep of greatness he took his last breath.

While you live, it’s how you are. But when you’re gone, it’s not how you lived, it’s how you’re remembered.

Which is what makes this recent gift so incredible.

DAD | Eagles 1

I have no words for it. I bawl as I write this. Just as I did when I received. Just as my sis did when she saw it. Just as my mom did when we placed both in her lap.

“Thank you for being here with us in spirit to guide our Super Bowl victory. We’re grateful for his presence & the joy it brought your family to celebrate with us. He will be missed!!!”

It’s amazing and humbling how many people have kept him and us in their thoughts, prayers, hearts and minds these past few months.

I am humbled beyond belief. I feel like I should walk only with my hands clasped, head down, knees bent, and mouth open…

“Whispering on repeat, thank you thank you thank you.”

Because thank you. To the friend who did this. I won’t tag you here and now because “it’s not about you” (but it is). I won’t tag you here, now, but we are here for you now and forever.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for great friends. We all are.

Go birds. Forever. And thank you, @najee Goode and the Philadelphia Eagles
#GoBirds

and next?

#GoSixers

Note: I’ve collected all the posts and thoughts I’ve shared about my Daddy’s death in one place. Some people have found it helpful as they’ve navigated through their own experiences, or, as they’ve had to step in to support others. This is one in a series, and you can find the full list of posts here.

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DADDY | TENDING VS TRENDING TO ENTROPY or HIGH HOPES

Hi Daddy.

Two months. One day. If you forget timezones and just focus on days and dates. It’s been two months and one day since we lost you. Just typing that brings a coating of tears over my eyes and in a second, everything’s blurry — like I’m looking through our windshield while driving through the rinse cycle at a carwash.

You are, forever gone. We’ve covered this.

There is absolutely nothing I can do about any of the fights we had, the times we parted angry, the times I decided to do something else instead of spending time with you, the times I didn’t live up to your expectations and knew I wasn’t. These were just moments in the moment. They come at me quickly, sparked by the smallest thing (I wiped my hands with the wrong hand towel and <<THUD>> like a sledgehammer hitting some part of my body, instantly, my heart, my stomach, my knees, I remember one of those moments in a moment.)

It’s going to happen forever. We’ve covered this.

What is really helping is the chiropractic work you’re performing on my life on a daily basis. And that’s what I want you to know the most. Twice a day I stop, I pause, I breathe, I close my eyes, I think of your (always freshly shaven) face and I reset. You snap me back into place. In-between those moments, life happens. Entropy happens. But all of this has made me more deliberate and more active in not allowing my life to trend to disarray. I’m tending to things more actively and deliberately. I still do, say dumb things. But I’m more aware. It’s not half the battle (Duke, Gung-Ho, Scarlet, and Roadblock lied to us when we were growing up). But it’s a part of the battle.

Life can either trend or tend to entropy. Im tending to it and taking care. We’ve covered this.

Something that’s jumped out at me over the past 2 months and 1 day is that I’ve heard a lot of people say things about life; I’m getting lots of advice. And there’s a lot of it that settles in around statements like “have no expectations” or “expect nothing”.

And I tell you, Daddy. I struggle like hell with that. I don’t think it’s the right way to live. I’m feeling a little push to the opposite.

I’m raising my expectations of people. Of every moment in life. Because as we’ve talked about, people most often rise and fall to the expectations you set for them. When you walk through life expecting nothing of people you actually aren’t making the world a better place. You’re simply making it easier for you to accept whatever comes your way.

DADDY | 4-5

That’s not good enough. Not anymore. We’ve covered this.

I mean it especially of your grandkids. I’m going to keep expecting the most out of them.

The rub? I’m going to applaud their effort, and make sure none of my happiness is tied to the outcome. The result. Anaiya and I talked about it this morning, actually. And things became really clear.

DADDY | 4-5 2

The world will rise and fall to our expectations. You were right to expect more from me; from all of us; from the whole darned world. Your idealism on right and wrong. Your clarity on the fact that absolute right did exist and absolute wrong could and should be called out, is what we need more of.

I’m not stepping back and expecting less, or nothing, of life and the people who fill it. And I’m not going to expect anything but amazing from your grandkids. But I will promise you, hand to heart, head to food, head to toe … i’ll never be disappointed by outcomes again, only by controllable effort and inputs.

Expect the world of the world. Because … people rise and fall to the expectations you set for them.

Me? I’ve got hiiiiiiiiigh hopes. But we’ve covered this.

Love you, Daddy. Talk soon.

PS – Mom would have made you proud at the wedding. Eeshan Kaka andShannon Kaki too. It was beautiful. 🙂

DADDY | 4-5 3

Note: I’ve collected all the posts and thoughts I’ve shared about my Daddy’s death in one place. Some people have found it helpful as they’ve navigated through their own experiences, or, as they’ve had to step in to support others. This is one in a series, and you can find the full list of posts here.

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DADDY | SIR, I GAVE MY WORD or WHAT GIVES YOU FAITH IN HUMANITY

What moves you to tears? What reinforces your faith in humanity? What memories and experiences do you hang onto when you want to recount the great potential of people?

Daddy found greatness in the simplest of things. The food he ate. The jokes he told. The way he lived. He was grateful and thankful for every moment he lived. It’s not that the grandiose was lost on him.

DADDY | 3-12

It’s that the grandiose was very simply, not necessary. Daddy found himself moved to tears and inspired to faith by everyday people, enacting everyday gestures, that reflected character, integrity and the very best of what humanity had to offer.

One favorite example takes us back to 1989. Daddy hadn’t been back to visit India in nearly 20 years. Needless to say, he was due. Our parents were greeted by a friend at the airport. Unfortunately, their friend was ill-prepared to accommodate our parent’s travel habits. Think large Samsonite bags bursting at the seams with zippers and locks screaming for mercy.

After seeing the volume of luggage our parents had with them (consisting of whatever Mom had packed for herself and whatever she had packed for Daddy), their friend realized he wouldn’t be able to move our parents and their luggage without some help. He summoned a “Coolie”, or a porter, in Western terms.

When paying cash for any service in India, you find yourself at the mercy of the servicer. And so the haggling began. The Coolie wanted 10 rupees, their friend offered 5. The Coolie worked his way down from 10, to 9, to 8, to 7 rupees, with the longest debate happening at 6. At the bargain basement price of 6 rupees, the Coolie would have been able to afford breakfast, to fill himself with a cup of tea. Daddy’s friend wouldn’t have it. And soon, as market forces determined, a deal was reached: 5 rupees it would be. With the ‘deal signed’, Daddy’s friend went off to find his car into which the luggage would be loaded, but only after telling Daddy in no uncertain terms, not to offer the Coolie any additional money.

A deal is a deal.

As soon as his friend left, Daddy went directly up to this Coolie and offered him the balance of the 10 rupees. Daddy pulled out his best hustle. For 10 minutes he tried everything to give this man some more money. He told the Coolie that he was rich, that he had spare change he wanted to get rid of–he tried everything. But the Coolie would not take the money. When my father asked the Coolie why he refused to accept additional money, the Coolie responded humbly, simply, firmly:

“Sir, I have agreed to 5 rupees, and I have given my word.”

Daddy, was floored. Brought to tears. Even when Daddy made it clear that he would not mention a word of additional rupees paid to his friend, the Coolie wouldn’t accept the offer. Actually, he couldn’t. He had given his word.

You see, for Daddy, Maslow’s hierarchy is inverted. One’s own physiological needs come last; human decency, a rich and undeniable social contract — one’s principles and one’s word are the foundation upon which lives are built and happiness is achieved. In this Coolie and in this story, Daddy found all that was right in this world. No grand scriptures required. No religious experiences necessary. The simple decency of everyday people carried the greatest weight in Daddy’s eyes. Daddy proceeded to retell this story for decades. Decades.

On February 4, 2018, we lost Daddy, the world’s most honest and straightforward man. The kind of man moved to tears of unfathomable joy, pride, and happiness through a passing interaction, with an exceptional example of a human being.

This Coolie carried our parents luggage for a few moments, but he carried Daddy’s spirit and faith for 29 years more.

Thank you, sir.

——————————–

Last week at our memorial for Dad, we handed out copies of this illustration with the below story printed on its back, instead of a traditional printed program. If you’d like a copy of the printout, DM me and I’ll mail you one. Thank you Oliver Bruehl for the illustration conjured from magic, pure magic.

Note: I’ve collected all the posts and thoughts I’ve shared about my Daddy’s death in one place. Some people have found it helpful as they’ve navigated through their own experiences, or, as they’ve had to step in to support others. This is one in a series, and you can find the full list of posts here.

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DADDY | FOREVER MAN or FOREVER, MAN

With Mothers? It’s nature.
Plus.
Not vs. 
Nurture.
Love. Support. Nourishment.
Unconditional.
Regardless of our condition. (Y’all.)
With Mothers it’s Home.
Mother Earth. Mother India.
And Mother…
(ALL CAPS)
$&@!?er.
Fathers don’t get nature or nurture or home.
Or even great, timeless curse words.
Fathers are Figures.
Go figure.
Fathers. Get time.
Mother Nature. Father Time.
As in
It’s time we talked
It’s time for you to step up
It’s about time you realized
It’s now your time
As in
This time it’s different
This time infinite means finite.
This “time”
My forever man. My forever dad
Who’d be forever there
Forever putting his forever hand
Forever guiding my forever path
However rough and however gruff
Forever forward.
Is forever gone. Gone. Forever.
Father. Time.
Father it is Time.
To understand the difference.
Between time well spent.
And time.
Spent.
With Mothers it’s nature.
With Fathers it’s time.
Goodbye, This Time.
Forever, man.

Note: I’ve collected all the posts and thoughts I’ve shared about my Daddy’s death in one place. Some people have found it helpful as they’ve navigated through their own experiences, or, as they’ve had to step in to support others. This is one in a series, and you can find the full list of posts here.

 

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DADDY| MY SIS or CREATING SPACE

My sis is my guardian angel. She always did everything at home, for my family, for our parents, so I could run off and explore the world. For 17 years, splitting time with my mom, she was the primary daily caretaker of my bedridden ba (grandmother). While I was off being a kid and a teenager, my sis went from 11yo to grownup overnight. With a daily list of responsibilities that filled the day, and reset at midnight. It wasn’t until she was approaching 30, when my ba passed away, that she was able to focus on herself. But at that point, life was in full swing. Work. Expectations. Society. My sis never had a childhood and she never had the chance to truly focus on herself later in life.

That’s what my Daddy wanted for her more than anything. For her to take that step back, find out how amazing she is, achieve her fullest potential as one of the sincerest and purest and most loving people the world has ever known. They had that discussion in December before my parents left for India, and even in January he was telling her “2018 is your year.”

The power of love, with family and with friends, puts the world’s most powerful force (love) against the most delicate of subjects (human feelings). What my Daddy and my Mumma have always wanted for my sister is what they believe is best for her. It didn’t always work for both sides. For all the mutual want, she never had the space or the opportunity or the impetus to create that space for herself when the world wouldn’t give it to her.

DADDY | 2-9

As we search for our “why” around all of this mess, Anu Kiran, I have found one that gives me peace. Daddy wanted to give you space in a way nobody else in the world could. The single thing that will make him the happiest (not would, but will, as this is not a past tense appreciation) is reading your note below, and watching you move forward with that torch firmly in hand.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for the power and selflessness that the most powerful father/daughter bond I have known for my lifetime, has created. Godspeed, my angel. Godspeed.

Note: I’ve collected all the posts and thoughts I’ve shared about my Daddy’s death in one place. Some people have found it helpful as they’ve navigated through their own experiences, or, as they’ve had to step in to support others. This is one in a series, and you can find the full list of posts here.

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