Coping with grief

Yesterday, an unknown, aged housewife in one of the many buildings in Mumbai died. Virtually unknown to many, and the love of a devastated few, this was the typical loving grandmother and charming Indian housewife – the stuff indian dreams are made of. She left behind an aged husband, a son and daughter (both married) and three grand daughters from them in terms of immediate family, and countless more who had been enriched by her cheerful and affectionate presence in their lives. She was my grandmother.

I dedicate this portrait to the countless of beloved grandparents everywhere, and hope that their loved ones manage to tell them how precious they are, before it is too late.

She had led a difficult life. Leading the perpetually nomadic life of an armyman’s wife, and striving to care for her children, she would have settled afte her husband retired, only to be faced with a new adventure in life – her first granddaughter – me. With both parents working shifts, I grew up with my grandmother and was soon joined by my uncle’s daughters and the three of us grew in a world that childhood memories are made of, when its a riot of three kids, being looked after by doting grandparents.

Memories flood our minds as we struggle to comprehend this loss. Her unending enthusiasm for cricket, delight over new clothes and matching accessories she painstakingly managed, “celebrations” in the local restaurant, where all she would eat was the ordinary idlis, an aunt orphaned at an early age she also played mother too, her group of friends in the building she stayed in (ranging from 10 to 70 years of age), evenings spent in the society park, bullying three nauthgy girls to study, ……

My granfather seems lost. His constant companion of over 60 years, mother of his children, grandchildren, devoted wife, and old-age companion is gone. He still hadn’t understood it completely. He is silent most of the time, and when he speaks, he laughs and jokes like nothing has happened.

Yesterday, she was frail and still. Gone. our only satisfaction was that she had met all of her countless loved ones within her last month of life and was very happy.

I miss her, and wish that she had lived more, but that is my selfishness. I would never want her to leave me no matter how long she lived. It was time for her to go, and for us to face the terrible emptiness in the home with that one departure. I hope that the ones left behind find the strength to move on. I hope my grandfather survives this tremendous shock.

Mrs. Nalini Godbole, my beloved grandmother is no more, like the many other grandmothers who are missed desperately. I only hope that the grandmothers still with us know of our love for them and die as fulfilled as she was able to.

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