It was an year ago…
The words ring in my ears. It was my father in law’s one year death anniversary a couple of days ago. Jan (my sister in law and bestie) calls me after her temple visit for her father. Fighting her emotions she utters the words “It was just an year ago that we went on that trip and then all hell broke lose”
It was just an year ago, that Jan and I decided to celebrate the fact that we have made it to Fifty. Life served each of us a fair proportion of trials and tribulations. But thankful we are still here and still in tact.
Jan living in Canada and me in Australia, our friendship is held together tightly with ‘skype’ and “whatsapp’. We decided we needed a good R&R and decided a holiday together somewhere.
So it was an year ago that she and I frolicked the streets of Goa. We would yap till the early hours of the morning. Partly because each of us was fighting jet lag from different time zones. So when I was sleepy Jan wouldn’t let me sleep and vise versa. We giggled, we laughed and we even cried.
I remember a similar scenario when we were nineteen. We hadn’t gone on any holiday, I had just moved to Colombo with my mum for studies and Jan was about to migrate to Canada, my dad had fallen ill and was hospitalised. Jan stayed the nights with me for support. Jan and I shared a room. This was about the same time I was falling for her brother as well. Well, let me rephrase that, he was falling for me. She was going out with my cousin too. So we had many things to giggle and laugh about. Then came my fathers demise. And now we had things to cry about.
Each year we accumulate memories of all kinds. Some happy, some not so. But they are memories nonetheless.
I like to think that an year ago was all about 50th birthday parties and reunions. But unfortunately, last year did come crashing down at the end. Jan lost her dad (my father in law) just after our Goan trip. He was a larger than life character and his death came unexpectedly. Yes, we can console ourselves to say he did not suffer and he went peacefully. However, I always wonder if I had done everything I can to let him know that we loved him very much – in spite of all the arguments and disagreements, to let him know that I admired him more than he will ever know.
I am grateful for the memories he gave us/me. Some funny, some sad and some utterly mad. It was a great theatre. He was truly an amazing man. His achievements surpasses the stains of his childhood. But he is not one to bury his past to parade his success. He lived a humble and frugal life. Sometimes too humble and too frugal. But anything more made him unhappy and we had to let him live his life the way he wanted. Rest in Peace mama, you have earned it.
I lost two of my favourite aunties. I call them aunties but neither of them related to me by blood. I loved them dearly and each one had an irreplaceable impact on my life. Again the two deaths came from no where. It was as if God had a quota to get through before Christmas. Bang, Bang, Bang three in a row within a week.
I recall Aunty Ponmani. I can’t help but break out a smile and a chuckle. She was a mischievous, cheeky old woman. I hear the word ‘Faminist’ thrown around loosely these days. This woman was a pioneer. She didn’t waste time putting a label to her actions. She just went ahead and did them. She was a tough women who took no prisoners. But for all that tough exterior she was rather mushy on the inside. I loved her cuddles, I miss her cuddles. Truly grateful to the man up there for letting me cross paths with this amazing lady. Rest in Peace Aunty Ponmani Ps. Can you please allow others over there to rest in peace as well Aunty? I can picture her smiling at me and saying “why should I’ with a twinkle in her eye.
Then came Aunty Mahasen. I have no idea why she loved me so much, but she did. She was a triple threat. Grace, elegance and class all donned into one. Again a mere chance that made us cross paths, but a path, with rainbows and butterflies. And many pot plants. Missing your gorgeous smile aunty, rest in peace.
It didn’t stop there. Arj my youngest learnt a hard lesson in life. A cruel lesson. Life is short, especially for his nineteen year old mate Jack. Arj reluctantly bid good bye to his mate Jack just before Xmas as well. He was found dead in the shower. No, not drugs. Not sure what, coroners baffled too. It was only an year before that they bid good bye at school and Jack moved to Melbourne and Arj left for Japan. They kept in touch on facebook and promised to catch up that December. Time and tide waits for none and in this case not even for a nineteen year old with so much promise. Memories – I am sure Arj would have many, although I wonder if the last one has sealed off the older ones. Easy for me to preach – to say “don’t linger on the sadness, don’t let his passing dictate your memory of your friendship”. Memories are too raw, too soon I guess. I don’t know Jack’s mum. All I know is, she is weeping now.
Without memories, without musings we are mere robots. Each year just like dust we gather more memories. Some of them turn out to be Gold dust. We hope all of them to be gold dust, but unfortunately sometimes its just black soot. We don’t dictate what is dealt next. But we can at least influence it. That’s what I think anyway.