Today marks Day 12. 12 days since my Daddy left the physical world. Hinduism is incredibly ritualistic. I’ll leave it at that. But in essence, our family is using the next few days as a way to help my father’s soul find peace as it rises to the universal soul, while also slowly bringing an end to the mourning period at which point the family is supposed to more formally transition back to normal life.
Yeah. Thanks for the roadmap, Hinduism.
What I do love about the way we celebrate someone’s death is one key point: danam, which literally translates to gift or offering, but in the context of mourning and death rituals, it more spiritually means charity. Our family will travel to a local school for children facing physical and mental difficulties, and bring them a fun, healthy and indulgent lunch. 200 kids. My father spent his life serving people (family, friends, the community at large). For all the pujas, prayers, moments of silence, and fantastically colorful and sense overwhelming procedures, this is the single greatest thing we are doing to honor Daddy’s legacy and soul. This is the single greatest thing we can do to help him achieve universality (though he’s done more, with plenty leftover, to cover his journey and credit a world with what he has left over).
12. That’s the 12.
The 40? That’s my wife. She turns 40 today. You’ve heard me write, over and over again, that Daddy said out loud and often, that Priya is the single greatest thing to happen to me and to our family.
He knew his sh*t.
Today’s her birthday. A big milestone birthday. On the day that the celebration of my Daddy’s life moves from the inauspicious (mourning) toward the more auspicious (celebratory), I don’t find it to be any coincidence that we’re sharing this day with Priya’s 40th.
She’s spent the past two weeks dealing with two kids, bouts of the flu, kids with nightmares, kids with 4am fevers, all while facing an incredibly demanding stretch at work, all while mourning and grieving for her Daddy too. And she’s done it with grace, dignity, huge smiles, and without missing a beat.
She spoke at an impromptu religious ceremony held by our community in South Jersey (what an amazing extended family, those friends we’ve known for 50 years in South Jersey) and carried the full thoughts and weight of our family on her shoulders, and delivered the kind of thank you that my Daddy would have raved about for years.
She made him proud. As she always did.
This is the woman whose vows to me during our legal ceremony 7+ years ago anchored in her promise that we will always be there for our family (collective). We didn’t know how soon or how often. But she’s never wavered.
The way she has handled the past 12 days is evidence and validation of Daddy’s earliest words to me about her: she’s the best thing.
12|40. Priya, you and Daddy are bonded together in eternity, in service and in the most celebratory and auspicious of ways. I smile wide today for that reason.
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.