An essential part of growing up is getting used to the loss of beloved ones – people who have been with you ever since you remember, who have been part of your growing up years and whom you think will be with or around you forever. Then one fine day you wake up to realise that they are not with you anymore. They cease to be and only the memories you have of them are the only proof that they existed once. All of a sudden you use the past tense while talking about them.
Over the last 3 years I have lost 3 such beloved persons in my life – My dad, my maternal grandmother and just 2 days back , my paternal grandmother. Each of the loss has affected me deeply but it was the worst when I lost my dad. My dad was more like a friend to me and I was his darling princess. Growing up, my brothers were never close to my dad as I was. And I used to gloat over that and used it to my advantage too. He was very good at pencil sketching and at singing. I was hoping that he will spend his retired life listening to my son’s baby language, watching him grow and teach him life’s valuable lessons and some singing and sketching on the side. Now, that is never to be.
My maternal grandmother was a treasure trove of mythological stories. She was a wonderful classical singer and had a very practical approach to life. She was not particularly happy with my laziness but that doesn’t make me love her less. I used to spend my summer vacations listening to her stories and eating the delicious food she made. I had always wanted to show off my newly acquired cooking skills to her but that will never happen anymore.
My paternal grandmother had a very tough life. Widowed at the age of 34, with 4 children and 3 stepchildren and no financial support, she did an amazing job of single-handedly raising them and settling them in good positions. She never told any bedtime stories but told her experiences which were valuable lessons in life. She was a very logical person and you can never win an argument with her. And yes, she had a proverb or saying for every situation. She has been with me in all important occasions in my life. In fact she was with me everyday till I left home for my post graduation. This vacation I wanted to spend a couple of days with her but I will have to be satisfied with living with her memories instead.
My dad’s phone book, his diary , my maternal grandmother’s veena and my paternal grandmother’s saris and her medicine box – its only through these that my dad and both my grandmothers will continue to live apart from the wonderful memories which will last forever. Though it was more than 2 years ago, I am yet to deal with the loss of my father but life goes on and it will. But the vacuum created by the loss of beloved ones will always be there.