Jul 7, 2005

Loss.

It has been a harrowing 2 weeks, first with my brother-in-law's very serious accident, and then the sudden and unexpected loss of my Masa. With other life events pushing their familiar heads up to remind me that time marches on, I feel like I haven't had the time to really process all that's happened.

Death is never an easy thing to process, and with my Masa being in India, it still feels very distant, very unreal. Unlike other relatives, I've been quite close to him over the course of my adolescence and adult life, and his example has helped to shape my aspirations of a life worth living. He went through tremendous hardship while growing up, made a life and a name for himself through his own business, raised 4 intelligent and loving children, and supported both the full extended family and the general community in Ahmedabad. He actually knew my father while they were in college, which connected him to my Mom beyond the fact that he was married to her sister for nearly 50 years. My father had respected him so much, and I will always remember the times that they were able to spend together, and the things that Masa told me about my Dad after he passed away years ago.

Masa was the kind of person who would ask you about your family if you were Gujarati, and almost always come up with someone who is either related to you, or would know your family well. He was even able to do that with non-Gujaratis. His grasp of current events, his ability to stay in touch with current developments in his neck of the woods and abroad, his incredible ability to stay in touch with everyone via phone, email or letter, even at 70, and his clear vision concerning Jainism and seva for community members who weren't as fortunate as he are all things that I will always remember.

Masa had a booming voice that filled a room almost as much as his laughter, which came from deep inside. He was the first person to explain the Namokar Mantra to me, going syllable by syllable to explain this central piece of Jainism to me. He was a gentle soul, one who would shed tears when he heard of others' pain, had a legendary temper before he conquered it, and organized a great deal of social good on a small scale in Ahmedabad.

I will miss him so much, from his periodic emails in large typeface, to his Yahoo! Messenger notes that just let folks know that he had logged on. I associate my trips to India with him. Sometimes it felt like he would be more concerned about my schedule and making sure that I was all set with my agenda than I was. He took such care of us, and welcomed us into his home and heart as if they were our own.

Previously, I've written about my family in a tone that isn't altogether positive, but it's at times like this when I realize how much I value having a network of relatives who care for one another the way that they do. Politics will always be a difficult area to traverse, and political consciousness has to grow gradually, but that bond that comes from blood is very hard to replicate with friends or other acquaintances.

Losing someone close to you is never easy. But when it's someone who has touched so many members of your family, and touched you in so many profound ways, it almost feels like you're in a collective mode of disbelief, waiting for the dawn of the next day to break, waiting for the sudden realization that you are a little more alone now. Waiting for the cold empty feeling that comes when you realize what you've left unsaid.

4 comments:

someone else said...

Just want to thank you for the encomium. Hope things are okay.

burnedouteyes said...

he sounds like a beautiful person...

peace to you & your loved ones as you remember him.

Rage said...

Thanks, as always, for reading, writing, and wishing us well. I guess situations don't change. We do to deal with them.

Ms. World said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss.