In a new world of firsts, you handled today with strength, grace and fleeting moments of vulnerability…and we love you.Anaiya as always, said it best.
While I spend thousands of characters trying to get it right, followed by edits, deletes, pauses and revisits. She just loves you and says. It’s why she’s magic. In a sentence and a wish she wraps you in love.
“I wish that my Dadi could never cry.”
I assure you, Mumma, all of us will keep wrapping you in love. Like you’ve done for us for lifetimes.
I also can’t wait for Anaiya to do all the talking for me soon (we’re close.)HBD Mumma.
Finally…it’s amazing what happens to a song like “You’ll never find…” when you’re where we are. It goes from intoxicating to haunting. It’s still wonderful Mr Rawls. But it hurts at levels it used to just hum at.
Today was beautiful. Pure love across generations, with Anaiya and Jaan very squarely in the middle. From the moms who raised me even though I wasn’t blood (too many to list), To all my friends who are moms (forthcoming, first time, or on infinite repeat).
To Masi and Masis, Mamis, Fai, Bhuas, Kaki, Chachis, Nani, and Nani, who were here but weren’t “here”.
To Ba, who first taught me how unqualified love should be.
To my Sis, Anu Kiran, who’s a mom in sister’s clothing.
To my Mom, Satinder Chadha, who’s taken me in as a son from day one.
To my Mumma, Renu Bhatt, who’s at the center of all I am.
To my wife, Priya KC Bhatt, who’s at the center of all I want to be.
There’s nothing more profound than these moments. Today was beautiful.
Today was also profoundly different. 2018 and the first part of 2019 will have many of those, profound yet profoundly different moments. It’s nice to have love all around you as the universe insists on moving forward.
For all the rains, there are no dark clouds hanging over us. Just stars, moons, and a profoundly different POV on everything we have going on down here.
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. 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.
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).
That’s the 12.T
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 days.40 years.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.Hey, best thing. Happy Birthday. You make all life and love possible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I haven’t spent much time thinking about Barbie, though I am sure a time is coming. Yesterday I heard about this specifically on NPR while also hearing Ibtihaj’s interview. Worth the listen.
The fact that she’s a Duke grad is so many cherries on top. But honestly, a wonderful woman to be featured as a hero because of all she embodies and represents. #iamgrateful and #iamthankful to Mari Kuraishi for sharing this story in her feed as a reminder to me to pass it forward.