Saturday, May 01, 2010

One Year

That's Vicky's status message today.

This time last year we were waking up late, still a bit groggy from the week's runaround. I was making plans for a Niyogy family wedding due in five days, I remember, while I tried to deal with all the other worries we had then. We made a special effort, Vicky and I, to slow down and not pile the stress on an already worried little boy. Because I wasn't up to cooking, we went for lunch to Smart Kolkata. We had just ordered when his mother called with news of his father's collapse. Vicky was there in minutes and in those few minutes before I could get there, it was all over.

I never thought I'd miss my father-in-law as much as I have. That when I wake up early in the mornings and potter around the house, I remember quietly shared cups of tea, the wordless communication and a gradually built ease around each other in those semi-dark mornings. That I still hang on to his few words of praise because nobody else thought to even notice what he found praiseworthy. That it breaks my heart to watch his adored grandson slowly forget him and that indescribable bond they had. I still have the occasional empty moment when I see something and think, "I must tell Baba this" only to remember I can't.

If there is one thing that losing his father has done to Vicky, it's made him a better father in turn. He is far more gentle and patient with his own son than before, and I can see the effort he makes, trying to emulate the patience and kindness his own father gave him. Both the brothers suddenly grew up this year, in intangible ways. My mother-in-law discovered hidden strengths she never knew she had. She's had to cope with so much that she never had to consider before and she's managed.

I know Rahul's forgetting is only natural but I wish he remembered more. How he used to confidently saunter into the house, pushing his grandmother aside (who needs women) and go hunting for his 'Thakur'. How he would demand his car and keyboard and tools and know that his grandfather would ensure he got them all, despite my protests that he was too young. How he, a two and a half year old little boy, grew quieter and quieter around his grandfather when he worked out for himself that his Thakur was too ill to play with him. How he told me to take his grandfather to the bedroom and make him lie down because he wasn't well. I wish he remembered the delight and supreme confidence he felt in his grandfather's arms, knowing himself to be impregnable and adored. I wish he remembered the eagerness with which this grandfather of his used to look forward to the visits, to his growing up. Unlike the grandmothers, Baba wanted him to grow up so he could chat with him, take him around, play with him. So that he could reach the stage he is at now.

There isn't anything to say, really. Just that we all miss him.

27 comments:

Mystic Margarita said...

Hugs, Sue.

Rohini said...

Hugs to you, Vicky and Bhablet

starry eyed said...

Hugs. Beautiful heart=wrenching post.

B o o said...

Hugs, Sue. The last para moved me to tears. :(

The Orange Cat said...

I was two years older than Rahul when my grandfather died. I don't remember much, except that he loved me a lot.
Burn bright, Sunayanadi.

Sue said...

Mystic, Ro, Starry, Boo -- Thanks, you guys. It wasn't an easy day but it was easier than I'd expected.

Orange Cat -- I'm glad you remember that much, at least. Makes a difference to your worldview at some level, doesn't it? I find it does, for me.

dipali said...

I still remember your call. Such a sad time it was and has been for all of you, learning to live without him.

Shobana said...

I know I haven't been here in ages, but I am glad I did today. Hugs to you and your family. May you all remember him for his love.

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

:-(

Hugs...

Suki said...

Hugs to you all. I've been remembering my own, dearly beloved Dadu a lot too today... it hurts.

Gayatri said...

- Hugs

Beq said...

Amen

R said...

Just to give you a hug...and to tell you I know what ur going through...hugs to Vicky too

Just Like That said...

had goose bumps.... Hugs!

It really doesn't seem like a year, I still remember that post you did on the rituals... :-( That had brought out the bumps too

Mama - Mia said...

hugs Sue. this was a beautiful post.

GettingThereNow said...

Hugs to you, Vicky and Bhablet, Sue.

Anonymous said...

Hugs Sue. The last para is esp beautifully worded.

-Nitya

Rhea said...

:-(

debo said...

very nice post, and true.

SBora said...

touching post...may his memory becomes stronger with time.

Sue said...

Dipali, M4, Suki -- *hugs, all of you*

Shobana, Gayatri, R, Abha, Nitya -- Thanks.

JLT -- Yeah, I went back and read it again myself. I even remembered somethings I forgot to mention then.

SBora -- Amen.

Debo, Beq -- Thanks, you guys. You don't know how much I relied on you all that day last year.

brundha said...

Hugs to you all. This post reminds me of all the consequences that followed a phone call that we received on 15th september 09 from India with a message that my maternal grandfather passed away in sleep. How broken my mother was to know that she is now fatherless and going back only to see his body for one last time. The 24 hour flight from Chicago to Hyderabad and and the 7 hour drive from the airport to our village was nothing but hell.

Munchkin said...

dont know what to say...wishing you all peace in your hearts..

Sue said...

Himabindu -- I didn't know you lost your grandfather last year. I'm so sorry. That was a tragic journey to have to make.

Avanti -- Thanks, hon.

Ninia said...

Hi, I just read your post, and I loved it because it perfectly captured my emotions at the death of my Father-in-Law who passed away a couple of weeks back. It was a great shock for all of us, but I really admire and respect the way his 3 kids handled the grief. My FIL was someone who always knew how to rise above his own illness and did not let a debilitating disease erode his positive attitude. I wish I had known him when he was better.
Thank you once more for such a touching post.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

Heart - wrenching post !!
I think its awesome you had really nice relation with your FIL ... your son atleast got to enjoy his grandpa's company for few years ...

Sue said...

Ninia -- I'm so sorry for your loss.

CA -- Hey, this has got to be the first time you've commented here. Welcome. I'm only sorry Rahul doesn't remember the love he got.