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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 | “THANK YOU. FOR EVERYTHING.” or THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING

“Thank you. For everything.”

48 years. Culminating in four words. Whispered into one ear. Punctuated by a warm kiss. On the still frozen but rapidly thawing cheek. Of the eternal, undeniable love of her life. Before the doors to that ambulance closed. And their physical bodies said goodbye. Forever.

You want to talk about grace? You want to talk about dignity? You want to talk about honoring a legacy? You want to talk about strength?

Mom. Is incredible.

When I was conceived, my mother gave me strength by her own nourishment. When I was born, my mother gave me strength from her milk. When I was a fat kid with a short temper and a penchant for being ridiculed, she gave me strength through her love. When I was a barely competent high schooller, she gave me strength with her faith. When I was struggling at work, she gave me strength through her reinforcement. When I was struggling to find love, she gave me strength by her understanding. When I was struggling with peace and patience as a parent, she gave me strength with her time.

When I lost my Daddy, she gave me strength with her words and her example. Her final words to him as we pulled away in the ambulance toward the crematorium.

No “why did you leave us.” She thought it. She thinks it. I am sure.

No “what will we do.” She thought it. She thinks it. I am sure.

No “How will I go on.” She thought it. She thinks it. I am sure.

Just.

Thank you.

For everything.

“@#%&?! How is she doing this?”

Our truest self come out at our most vulnerable of moments.

Being grateful. Being thankful. That’s my mom’s truest self.

Thank you, Mom, for giving Anu KiranPriya KC Bhatt and I strength.

Yesterday we held a Celebration of Life ceremony for Daddy. Mom’s example. Her strength allowed us to make the ceremony about saying thank you to Daddy, for the people he influenced. But also, hopefully, everyone who was there, walked out feeling equally celebrated and thanked. They deserve it.

For 48 years, Family and friends showered our parents and our family with love and support. Bringing a lifetime of smiles to our faces. Helping Daddy leave this world at the height of happiness.

To all of you, there in spirit or in person, thank you for everything.

Life is only going to get more real. It’s not going to stop. It’s not going to get worse. It’s just going to get more real. More finite. Everything that happens now for me comes fully contextualized. As someone who enjoys storytelling, I say that before 2/4, life felt like it only had a beginning and a middle—I now know there’s an end. Not academically. Not an end I can’t empathize with because I’m in my early 20’s. An end that’s all too real because I’m in my 40’s and I’m a dad.

If I have any advice to give, it’s to work deliberately and urgently. Make use of photo albums. Not as a way to remember faces that are gone, but to add vivid back story to people who are here. Hug. Love. Celebrate. Talk to and about the people you love like you would if you knew you’d lost them, and then been granted that one last chance. Silly sh*t. Who cares. Do it.

Yesterday I asked honestly, what I’ve been asking for the past month: is it truly better to have loved and lost. I’ve been struggling with that. This pain is so exceptional, it doesn’t feel like it. It’s compounded by the simple fact of how much my parents loved each other. I sometimes wish now that they were less in love.

But that’s silly. It’s ignoring 48 years of life for what remains.

It is better to have loved and lost. Especially if you find someone who looks at you the way Daddy always looked at Mom.

DADDY | 3-6

Thank you, Mom. For your example and your strength.

Thank you, Family and friends, for your love and support.

And thank you Daddy…

…for always looking at Mommy this way.

We’ll be fine. I know we will. Because Mom said so.

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 | EMBRACE IT or ON YOUR SHOULDERS

This morning, a few moments ago, when I stepped out onto my parents front porch, I saw one of our (many) amazing neighbors closing his garage door. He saw me. (He saw me last night actually, and when he saw activity in our house he called some friends to make sure all was well.) John’s a great man. He is a great friend and neighbor to us here in NJ. He was deeply beloved by Daddy.

And when he saw me, standing on his driveway, on his way to work, he stopped everything and put his hand up as I did mine. We just stood. Arms raised. Looking at each other for a few seconds. Then we slowly, dropped those hands, and started to walk toward one another. John walked across our cul de sac slowly, with each step, spreading his arms wider than the sky behind him, taking 100 steps toward me with those arms never failing him and never falling down. We met and he pulled me into an embrace with nothing said other than “I’m sorry about your Dad.” It was perfect. And I’ve seen that work over and over again. The best interactions we’ve had start with the simplest of things: a hug, a short word of acknowledgement, and then silence that allows a more natural conversation to flow based on our mood. It’s amazing. Embraces are amazing.

Embrace it. There’s nothing more powerful than an embrace. In a world where people are being crammed into tighter spaces while our minds are being pulled farther and farther apart — I agree with Vinny Chase and crew, there’s nothing like hugging it out.

This picture. This embrace. Is special.

Of all the embraces we’ve received — so many. Family who came from far and wide to be with us. Friends who never stopped stopping by. Neighbors who made us their family. Servants and house workers crying tears of loss for Daddy that showed us their truest emotions and allowed us to comfort them for all the comforting they’ve done for us.

Of all the embraces, the one pictured here, is one I have to highlight. Look at it. It’s strong. It’s firm. It’s supportive. It’s affectionate and strength granting. It’s the Mehta family, folks.

DADDY | 2-21 1

What can we say about Pradeep Mehta and Malika Aunty? All of the joy my parents have experienced in India the past 10 years is directly attributable to their tireless efforts to make Ahmedabad home for our family. I simply cannot do it justice. Let me tell you. I cannot do it justice. Finding the home. Buying the home. Setting up before our arrival, closing down when we’re gone. Finding us help. Taking care of every detail.

And when Daddy passed away, to watch Pradeep Uncle join my Jivan Mama (Neelu Bhatt) and take off of work for two weeks and attend to every detail of our estate in India, and alleviate any and every burden from our family — folks, I’m telling you, I have no words and I can do them no justice. You expect this of family (thank you all.) But we’ve come to expect this of Pradeep Uncle and Malika Aunty.

Yes. So of all the embraces I’ve witnessed the past two weeks, this one is extra special. Because it is a short capture of a nonstop, 10-year hug we’ve received from the Mehta family. In person, over email, via phone, and always always in their thoughts. They’ve been hugging us and giving us their shoulders to cry on and stand on for 10 years and counting.

Pradeep Mama, you are no Uncle to us, you are no friend to Mom, you are a brother to her and a Mama to us. We love you. Thank you. For absolutely everything. Of all people, you made Daddy’s dream place come true. You’re integral to his departing narrative — for without you, Daddy would not have found his happiest of places, to complete what was an otherwise perfectly fulfilled life. Thank you for putting that last smile on his face.

May we have the strength to pay all you’ve done for us forward. May we have the strength, the discipline, the commitment, the integrity…the humanity. All, mind you, traits and characteristics Daddy embodied for a lifetime. That poetry is not lost on us.

Love you, Mama and Mami.

Love you.

(PS – Thanks for taking us to that vintage car museum. I so hoped for a Stingray for Daddy. But the 106 other beauties were worth it on their own!)

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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DADDY| ON GRIEVING or A SINGLE BLADE

@$&?!

I forgot to pack my razor.

I’m showering at 1 am. In 7.5 hours we will start preparing the body of the man who made and molded me for his union with his Maker. And I haven’t shaven in days. And the blades I thought I packed at 330am before heading out on a 24+ hour trip to the saddest destination I will ever visit, are most certainly sitting atop the chair on which I packed.

I’m a fast packer. Not a good one.

(Opens Daddy’s medicine cabinet door in his bathroom in India. Sees one perfectly placed razor with one, single, remaining blade.)

“He did it again. He planned perfectly.”

DADDY | 2-8

My Daddy had left a single razor blade just for me. With his silly Sensor Excel razor. Blades that are so hard to find I would buy them in bulk for him (100 blades last time) out of fear of them going extinct, and him choosing never to shave again.

Now? I won’t be able to look at a razor again, for a long long time, without tearing up or downright bawling.

—————————

So.

How does a person who is affected so wildly by a single razor blade answer a question like “How are you doing?”

Visiting someone who is grieving is hard. What do you say? How do you take their pain away? Can you even? The circumstances are compounded by emotion as well as a lack of familiarity with this situation (who wants to get comfortable with death?)

Here are some things that have crossed my mind as I reflect back on past experiences, and dig in on an acute and intimate understanding of what we are going through now.

Specifically, what people who are visiting my mom can keep in mind when trying to comfort. I wish I had thought of some of these before having to live them, as I am sure I’ve fallen victim to these in the past.

Here goes…

1) Every question asked is a burden on the grieving to respond and answer. Think about it. Every time you ask me how I am doing, I have to relive how terribly I am doing. I have to tell my story over and over again. Not in a way that helps me heal, but stops me from it. Because to answer that question for you, I can’t start with where I am, I have to start with where you are. I have to give you all the context or nothing of value. And after being exhausted I will default to the latter. Instead of dealing with my current emotion. Instead of that, if compelled to ask me a question, eliminate the weightiness of it. “How are you feeling right this moment?” But I actually suggest just telling me you love me, telling me you are there for me, and being close enough to me that I feel your support not just hear it (hand on an arm, shoulder, a hug, whatever, steady check INS.)

2) Focus on doing over asking. Don’t ask me if I need Water. Just bring me a glass. Don’t ask me if I want food, leave food out for me to graze. Don’t ask me if there’s anything you can do, ask me if you can specifically do something. Better still, out of the goodness of your heart, do what inspires you. Keep my cognitive overload low. Reduce the number of smaller transactional decisions I make in a day so I can focus on the bigger things.

3) Its not about being strong, it’s about being healthy. Try to avoid telling me to be strong. When you do, you’re adding another weight around my shoulders. Am I being judged? Is there a way to grieve? Crying doesn’t make me weak. It makes me honest and proves I am dealing and engaging. Instead, alk to me about being healthy and finding my way. Doing what works for me. And let me know it’s ok to cry. To laugh. To sleep. To do whatever I want to do to find peace first and progress next. As long as I am finding my way to healthy. Advice is always welcome. As suggestions, preferably not as mandates.

4) Find and manage my momentum. People are compelled to say something which is what gets us into trouble. My advice is to wait for me to lead. If I am quiet I want to be quiet. Sit with me in my quiet comfortably and I will never feel more at ease. If I am sad or spiraling downward, field me graciously and redirect me back. Or be a life preserver with your arms around me, literal or figurative, so I don’t drown. And if you feel me telling a story, advance it and propel it forward. Get out your surfboard and ride my best waves, and tame my worst. But avoid cutting them off. You won’t effectively stop my feelings at the source but you can help ensure positive momentum.

5) I know I had a good life and was lucky to have him. But this still hurts like 1000 simultaneous punches accompanied by the strongest hands strangling my triple-chinned neck. Allow and encourage me to find balance. Accept my tentposts. My endpoints. My Absolute North and my True South. He lived an amazing life and we are proud to have been a part of it and blessed by him. And at precisely the same time, this is brutal and devastating. Our lives exist between those two endpoints for the foreseeable future. The space between them will compress. Our requirement to feel both simultaneously stretched across the widest expanse will change, and we will swing between one and the other less violently over time. Acknowledge both.

6) Bring energy. At the end of the day, the mood in the room of those people grieving is dictated by the people who grieve. But it’s impossible not to be affected by sincere, authentic love and positivity. Bring it. Don’t be afraid to smile. Lift me up and you create positive momentum in the room.

I love your support. Know that. Every bit of love, support, condolence. Every hug. Every pat on the back. Every text. Every email. Everything I love. The experiences that are most helpful though, and I believe this is fairly universal, are the ones that embrace some of the above. Just my $.02.

As I watch people interact with my mom, I wish I could share all of this with them. #iamgrateful and #iamthankful for FB because I don’t have to think about sharing it. I can actually just share it.

——————-

A single blade. Who knew a single blade in my Dad’s medicine cabinet would encapsulate our entire relationship.

Love you, Daddy. Also, the Sensor Excel sucks. The blade is so small it took me 13 hours to shave my face. No wonder you got up so early for work. You lived to 77 but 10 of those years were spent shaving.

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 | AMI CHHATNA or AUSPICIOUS RAIN

My arms are sore. We lifted my Daddy up 10 times yesterday. Some were small transfers. Some were lengthier. Including down seven flights of stairs. As we carried Daddy out the front door of his dream house in Ahmedabad, I heard a rustling. Breeze? Leaves?

A light rain. A light sprinkle. Extremely odd. Because it never rains in Southern California, or in Ahmedabad in February.

As we descended the stairs the sprinkles, the “chhatna” as we call it, stayed light and steady. At each flight’s midpoint, the stairs turn at a landing, with a waist high level wall and an open window to the courtyard. At each turn you’d be able to peek out the open window and see the pavement and roadway slowly getting clean. Raindrop pointillism. Like how light rain freshens up the driest concrete, the dustiest sidewalks, and makes all grass look fresh and new. No puddles. No accumulation. Just a light sprinkle to freshen up the ground.

Then we got downstairs.

We had to carry Daddy outside briefly to get him into the garage where the ceremony would begin. During that quick turn the rain…stopped. Not a drop of exaggeration.

It sprinkled just enough to freshen up the ground and clean up the world for my Daddy. Who did that for everything he owned and interacted with. Clean. Precise. Fresh. Presentable. Mother Nature did that for him when he couldn’t do it for himself.

I found the timing beautiful. I’m not religious and barely spiritual, though there’s something hopeful about believing in the magical as possible, just not relying on it.

But as I spoke to my Daddy’s eldest cousin, who I sat with for 90 minutes to hear stories going back to toddlerhood, he mentioned this idea of the “Ami chhatna”. An auspicious sprinkle, that happens just as did for my Daddy, for the loftiest of souls. As his rises to universality (and to become a star) it has been beautiful to watch the outpouring of support for our family and in memory of how he loved and in recognition of how he will continue to influence them in the future.

But I know my Daddy. And I know how loved he is. So I expected all of that outpouring.

I was humbled though when the skies, literally opened up, with their own outpouring. Perfectly delivered. Freshening his path to the crematorium. And clearing his path to whatever is next for him.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for the support and symbolism. He never let anyone make a big deal about him while he was here. Happy he gave the human, material and spiritual world a reprieve as he leaves us. Love you, Daddy. You’ve earned all of this and More.

Also, does this dude look 77? The pic was taken just a few months ago just after that birthday.

DADDY | 2-14 1

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 | A STAR

Yesterday, our Dad became a star. There’s still a lifetime of things to say, but here is step 1…

Today I fly to India to join the strongest person I know, my mom, and a community of friends and family, to help the world say goodbye to his body. His light. His love. His spirit. His crappy jokes. His absolute moral perfection and purity. Those will live on forever. Envelop us from moment-to-moment. Protect us. Remind us. Break us but only momentarily. Because his strength and resilience are also with us forever.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful to have called you Daddy for 42 years, and now, to close my eyes, or to look at the sky, or to look at your grandkids, and be reminded and fully inspired to do the same. Forever. I will see your body soon. I will do my best to live in a way that makes you proud and is worthy of your legacy. See you soon, Daddy. You’d be proud and brought to tears if you heard Anaiya explain her love for you, and, how she knows you’ll always be with us. I’ll whisper it in your ear when I see you. 

Also, go Eagles. You earned this Super Bowl run with a near lifetime of dedicated fandom. 🙂

Thank you all for your love and support. It’s a testament to the person he will always be and the person my mom is. Send love. Send strength. Shed no tears. Channel that emotion deeply and powerfully toward the people you love.

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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TYMMPB… | Embracing Kipling

BLOG--Jaan ChillingMy son. It’s amazing to say that. The my part is incomparable. The son part was one half of a win:win.

And winning is all it has felt like. One month ago today, and precisely one month ago from the moment I started writing this post (10:49), you were born to us. And you went straight to your mother’s chest where you spent quite a bit of time — and have spent quite a bit of time since. There’s no denying that you will be a momma’s boy. And as a momma’s boy myself, I can tell you, there’s no love like the love you’ll get from your mother.

When you’re old enough to read this, who knows when I’ll share it with you. You may feel slighted. For the first year of your older sister’s life, I wrote frequently. Because the time to do so existed. Such is not the case for you. With you. So instead I’ve decided to write you 12 letters, each on the monthly anniversary of your birth and into your first birthday.

Today, I start by telling you how proud you’ve made me already.

People define masculinity and manhood in very different ways. My definition as always run closest to how Rudyard Kipling encapsulated it in his poem, “If…” Especially the lines I’ve bolded below.

You have managed to make it through the month without being the least bit of hassle or burden. You sleep in the family room. That’s where you make your home. Sister running around the house. Visitors in and out the door. Sunlight through the windows. Pans clanging in the kitchen. TV sometimes on sometimes not. And yet, you go about your day unfazed and unbothered. Attributes that will serve you well.

You have managed to make us feel like great parents even with all the scrambling and distractions around us. You take solace in our arms and by our voices. You make your  mother’s arms your home. You make your sister’s voice your lullaby. You make your nani, dadi, and foi feel like they are absolute experts when it comes to baby whispering.

Don’t believe me? Check out how much your sister adores serenading you. 🙂

At one month, you’ve managed to do what no one month old can ever be expected to do: you’ve managed to enter the world with such fine humility, that even your birth is somehow about everyone else feeling good, valued, helpful, loved.

Today You Made Me Proud By … embracing the spirit of Kipling’s If. I promise to make you proud by learning from your humble lead.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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