Tag Archives: death

DADDY | “WAIT, WHAT?” or HOW I GRIEVE

“Do not hang up the phone. You need to tell me what happened.” I told her. Calmly but directly.

“Your father. He’s no longer with us.” My cousin told me. She wanted me to call my mom and hear it from her, but when you get a phone call like that at 10:30pm, you know you need the information right away.

That’s how I learned my father had died. From a phone call late on a Saturday evening. He and my Mumma were at their home in India, on their annual visit. They were there, and then, in a flash, only she was there. That’s how real life gets. Quickly.

What followed was a whirlwind. Getting my sister. Looking for tickets to India. Coordinating a fly through Dubai where I could get my VISA so I could enter the country. Saying goodbye to my family here — and oh wow, talking to Anaiya about her Dadaji turning into a star. Arriving and seeing my Mumma. Then seeing my Daddy’s body in a clear, refrigerated coffin in the bedroom. And then everything that followed.

I had time. At the airport. On flights. But I had no space. I had zero space. I was instantly immersed in the entire world and sometimes all I wanted to do was cry. (Note: The two best places to cry in an airport are the bathroom, and, a gate that’s just been vacated. Push your face up against the window looking out and let it fly. If necessary, to distract even more, hold your phone up to your ear. It’s amazing the cues you can give to people that help you create space.)

The one place I found space was on Facebook. Facebook got me through. Because I could ignore everything and just write.

A funny thing happened. I found my voice. I found my POV about all of this.

A funnier thing happened. I realized quickly I was writing for all the people who loved my Daddy but couldn’t be there (we were in India, some were in other parts of India, others were in the US — few of the hundreds to thousands who would have wanted to be there were able to be.) My writing turned into a way to help people grieve and connect. I was humbled.

And then, an even funnier thing happened. People who had lost someone reached out and told me that what I was writing was helping them. Grieve now. Grieve for someone they had lost recently or even, years and years ago.

People reached out and told me to package this in some way. Package this writing because it could be helpful to others who go through this. Not just the words, but the approach of just laying bare all the truth.

Everyone grieves and heals differently. The only thing I can say with confidence is that this helped me. Which is why I’m sharing as I was asked to.

I moved everything from Facebook to my blog, and have for the first time, in years made this blog public. And I’ve organized it and summarized it below for anyone who needs it or wants it. I’m skeptical it will be shared, but if it is even once, then it was all worth it.

  1. February 4th: A Star – The announcement.
  2. February 7th: Ami Chhatna or Auspicious Rain – Observations around the cremation.
  3. February 8th: On Grieving or A Single Blade – Advice and context for people trying to console those grieving.
  4. February 9th: My Sis or Creating Space – My love for my sister and helping others understand her unique grief.
  5. February 14th: Love or The Insanely Finite – A short post for Valentine’s Day.
  6. February 15th: 12/40 or Happy Birthday, Priya – My wife’s 40th birthday.  She’s amazing.
  7. February 21st: Embrace It or On Your Shoulders – Acknowledging all the support and strength we were given, one Mama in particular.
  8. February 23rd: Memorial Service or Kishore Kumar Said it Best – Setting the tone for a memorial service that would honor Daddy and also, one he would have enjoyed. 🙂
  9. March 3rd – Forever Man or Forever, Man – One month after; I wrote a poem that I still read all the time.
  10. March 6th – “Thank you. For everything.” or Thank you for everything – For my Mumma. My first post after the memorial service and I always knew the first page would be turned here; and I had been writing this post in my mind for a full month.
  11. March 12th – Sir, I Gave you my Word or What Gives you Faith in Humanity – One of my favorite stories about my Daddy. We made this the program at the service; a takeaway, something to remember him and his values by.
  12. April 5th – Tending vs Trending to Entropy or High Hopes – A family wedding, two months after Daddy died. My thoughts on it, and a conversation with him to help me get through it.
  13. April 24th – Go Birds or Humbled by Thoughtful – One of the most incredible gifts I’ve ever received; Daddy was a huge Eagles fan and this gift in his honor … I have no words.
  14. April 26th – 4 Years Ago or A Lifetime Ago – Amazing what a simple photo can trigger. Let it trigger.
  15. May 21st – Just Monday or Unvarnished Truth – It’s not easy. I missed Daddy a lot this day and I allowed myself to be truthful about it; but forward looking about it.
  16. June 17th – Dali’s Persistence or Happy Father’s Day – 4.5 months later on my first Father’s Day without you; I’ve found real peace in how I plan to move forward.

If you’re reading these, I hope you find them helpful. If you think someone else would find this helpful, share away.

Death sucks. Until it doesn’t. Until we make it not.

Also, it helps that I’ve taken a bunch of his clothes and wear him with me as much as I can. 🙂

Advertisements

17 Comments

Filed under daddy

DADDY | JUST MONDAY or UNVARNISHED TRUTH

I’m good. I’m truly honestly and undeniably good. But, I wanted to share this because I think it’s the kind of thing that…more folks just need to know, or read, or share. Just because…good doesn’t mean purely good, there’s always an underlying truth. 🙂

Four times. Today. On four distinct, unique, unrelated moments, I’ve had tears stream down my face. Not a tear. Not a couple of tears. Not the kind of tears that are wiped away with the back of one hand swiftly, or hell, even slowly.

DAD | 5-21

Nope. Streams. The kind that form patterns on your face. Where one tear blazes a trail for others to then follow. Drops turn into flow, and it’s the kind of flow so smooth and so steady that even the greatest Nuyoricans would step back and hand you the mic.

That’s my face. But my face and my tearducts are a mere preview, a trailer. of the thoughts and memories. I’m rocking your polo right now. I got angry when something wasn’t in its right place earlier today. I got angry because it wasn’t. I then got mad at myself for being you. I then got sad because there was no (practical or physical) you. I ate eggplant and mushrooms almost as a rejection of your palate.

I struggled at work, really hard today, because I felt like there were objective truths that weren’t being acknowledged. And I found myself having a handful of very productive, unvarnished and fully honest conversations with people that were representative of your spirit (it’s not about me, it’s not about the idea, it’s about your contribution to the bigger, collective idea, that’s what will make the world move forward.)

And then…mom…your wife. 45 minutes between wrapping up dinner with Anu Kiran and Drinda Kay and closing her iPad and heading up to bed with your granddaughter (who still misses you so publicly and so potently), posted this pic.

And it’s just Monday.

And this photo, just says it all.

And you know, it all just sucks.

But we’ll also, just keep moving forward.

That’s, just life.

And I’m good. Just, good. I’m good.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for this polo. I’m going to sleep in it tonight.

Just…because.

I miss you and I love you, and … we’ll keep just doing our best to honor you.

PS – Make that five times. Once while writing this.

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.

1 Comment

Filed under daddy

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.

 

1 Comment

Filed under daddy

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.

1 Comment

Filed under daddy