Tag Archives: loss

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.

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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| 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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