My grandfather, my dad’s dad, was a strong, confident, self-made man. He lost his father when he was still in school; and lost everything else he had, the house, money etc., during the India-Pakistan partition in 1947. He was forced to move to India, empty-handed, only with the responsibility to take care of his sick mother. And when he passed away, he was a lawyer, had a full family, a house and a lot of fans; including me. He was my coffee buddy, a foodie and my friend.
Over the past few years, he had been fading. He was diagnosed with the Parkinson’s disease, which not only took over his brain, but his entire body. His organs started to shut down one by one and he had multiple tubes in his body to breathe, take in food and take the wastes out. Slowly he had lost the ability to do even his daily tasks and was completely bed-ridden. Among other things, he also lost his speech. We all could see that he was suffering and was in a lot of pain.
On Feb 20th this year, I met him after year and a half and I was in shock to see him like that. But I was overwhelmed that he still recognized me. He looked right in my eyes, held my hand, so tight, and we both teared-up. The night I was leaving, it happened again. Except this time when I looked into his eyes, I had a feeling that this might be the last time I was doing this. I had a feeling that we might never meet again, at least in this lifetime. I took his blessings and said the final goodbye.
I reached home safely, and the very next day I got a call from my mom telling me that my grandfather, my dada, passed away. In that moment, I felt a deep connection with him. I felt that maybe he was hanging in there, dealing with all the pain and suffering just to see me for one last time. I can’t be grateful enough to have a chance to spend the last three weeks of his life with him.
This phone call changed my life; it changed the person I was; and it changed the way I looked at life. My grandfather taught me many things when I was a child, but what he taught me when he died, I will never forget.
He taught me that taking care of your body is important. Because your body is the only thing that you really own. And it decides how happy (or sad) your life will be when you get old.
That living simply gives you more time to focus on things that really matter to you, like family, friends and yourself.
That every action you do or every word you say affects people around you. So why not live a loving life; people will remember you for who you were and how you made them feel.
That you should never give up.
That you should never take anything for granted. Enjoy and be mindful of every little action of yours, breathing, eating, sitting, talking, and be grateful for it, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring with it.
Don’t complain about the difficulties in life, they don’t really matter at all in the big picture.
That if you are alive, your purpose is not over yet.
That death is inevitable; appreciate the people who are here whilst they are here. Spend more time with them. Talk to them more often. Make good memories while you still can.
I miss my grandfather greatly. I remember him when I sip my first coffee every morning. I am very proud of him for his love, for being a great man and for fighting so bravely till his last breath. And for the same reasons, today I decide that I will not mourn his death; I will instead, celebrate his life!
RIP Grandfather. I love you, always.