Today is my grandfather’s death anniversary. It has been 16 years since he passed away. And I’m just now starting to understand why today is a monumental day for me. I was 18 years old at the time, and well able to process the idea of death. However, we were stuck in Dubai, and my grandfather was in Mumbai. So we didn’t actually see him at the end.
My grandfather first fell seriously ill in 1995, when I was 11 years old. So I didn’t get much of an opportunity to really get to know him. All I knew of him was that he was a kind man, gentle and mild, accompanied by stories from my mum about his heydays as a corporate head honcho.
We couldn’t attend his funeral, because we were, as I said before, stuck in Dubai. It was devastating for my mother, as she adored her father, and was very close to him. At the time, I didn’t realise understand the loss that she was facing. Her grief was absolute. It poured out of her in inconsolable waves, and my father and I became hapless and mute spectators, attempting to keep the family together as far as possible.
It was my first experience with losing a close loved one. The only major death before my grandfather’s was my dog’s [an Alsatian we had in Dubai], and she sickened and passed away in front of my eyes. I was somewhat prepared, even though grief-stricken.
14 years later, I lost my own father. There are few parallels with my grandfather’s passing, but it still served to put my mother’s loss into perspective. I finally really understood the grief she experienced, even though my grief is lodged somewhere in my system still; I haven’t been able to really let it air.
One day I will write my grandfather’s stories here too, because he was a truly remarkable soul. Till then, I will think of him with fondness because there is so much of him in my little mother, and she is a pretty kickass specimen overall.