It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’ve shut down a little since Papa Ji passed. I haven’t felt like talking. I’ve just wanted to be by my Biji, mum and Masis side so that’s what I’ve done. I ended up taking a little break from most things as I haven’t really had much to say as I can’t find the words to express my feelings and to be honest even writing the below post has been really difficult – I’m really struggling to find the words to articulate how I feel. Hopefully it makes sense x
It was really tough saying goodbye to our Papa Ji on Thursday. Watching my mum and her siblings lose a parent and watching my Biji lose her life partner was heartbreaking. There are no words to describe how much we will miss our loving grandfather. He’ll be remembered for how loving he was and for his signature laugh.
My most prominent memory of Papa Ji is him dropping and picking my cousins and I from school everyday all the way till we were done at secondary school. He’d come donning a leather jacket, jet black beard and a mobile phone blaring Sunrise Radio – everyone thought he was my dad as he always looked so young.
He was such a handsome and smart man and we were all so proud to have him as our granddad.
I’m eternally grateful to God for allowing Papa Ji to meet his great grandson and vice versa. Arjun is so blessed. Papa Ji was ecstatic when Arjun was born and we have some super cute memories of them both. He was always so overjoyed to see Arjun and became a big kid himself when they were together. He always said Arjun would be a strong boy and showered him with countless blessings.
I realised quite a lot over the last week since Papa Ji’s passing. Lessons and realisations which I hope will impact my daily life.
1) Our parents and grandparents are unfortunately not invincible. I always knew that this day would come but never really accepted it. I struggle to cope with the thought that one day I may be without my parents – to me they’ll be here forever. Losing Papa Ji has made that more of a reality. He is the first grandparent on my side that we’ve lost while my sisters and I have been old enough to understand what’s going on. Cherish every single moment you can with your loved ones. Especially parents. My mum and her siblings long to feel their father’s arms around them again.
2) Don’t wait until tomorrow … You may have seen that I’ve taken up an old hobby of sewing and have recently purchased a sewing machine. For Christmas I had planned to make Papa Ji pyjamas on my machine. I was super excited to make something so personal and with love as opposed to an off the shelf gift. I’m a complete novice but I knew he’d appreciate the sentiment and I thought I had time to practice.
Never had I imagined that the first and last thing I’d be making him was his cover to keep him warm as we put him to sleep forever.
3) Life’s simple pleasures … My Papa Ji and Biji have 6 children all of whom are married, 15 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren – what an amazing legacy he’s left behind.
Losing Papa Ji has resulted in his children reminiscing about their childhood and sharing their stories. It’s fascinating to hear about how they lived, where they’ve come from (Kenya to India and then England), and the many characters they’ve encountered on their way.
Hearing about their simple pleasures like drinking water from the wells in Kenya and eating fresh fruits off the trees in India and giggling to sleep as the five sisters shared a bedroom when they moved to England made me realise how I often forget to enjoy the simplest thing. In comparison my life feels over complicated – I want to enjoy life’s simple pleasures so much more just like our parents and grandparents did before life became so complicated. Whether it be picking daisies in the garden with Arjun or building a forte out of chairs and blankets. I want him to also appreciate life’s simple pleasures.
4) Five minutes to you could mean the world to someone else … I’d often drive past my grandparents house and think “let me pop in for five minutes” when I was rushing to some place or another. And then I’d think “actually no let me plan to come properly”. I figured spending quality time beat a quick five minute pop in. In hindsight I wish I’d done both. Five minutes of our time means the world to them. Biji and Papa Ji live alone and we often forget through the hustle and bustle of our own lives that actually theirs are quite quiet in comparison. Make time – even if it’s five minutes.
5) Kirtan, Paat and Simran are all food for my soul … I didn’t need Papa Ji to leave us to realise that. It’s only reinforced it. Without religion I don’t know how I’d cope in such situations. Nor do I know how my mum and her siblings would. I take some sort of comfort from what Gurbani (Sikh holy scripture) teaches us. Papa Ji brought his children up in such a beautiful way and in a way where they are all have a level of spiritual maturity which helped them to understand and accept the situation and also help us. Papa Ji would be so proud of how they’ve dealt with his loss – the way he would have taught them through Gurbani.
6) Arjun’s daddy … No words to describe how supportive Preetam has been and how blessed we are to have him as Arjun’s daddy. I stayed at my mums to be close to her and my Biji while Preetam kept Arjun over night and would bring him over during the day. His support and understanding made it so much easier to deal with the grief and to be there for my mum and Biji. I’m lucky to have a husband that dotes on his son so much. Arjun and Preetam’s bond is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen – they’re so lucky to have each other.
7) Let by gones be by gones … Life’s too short.
8) Quality not quantity … The words “I’m there for you if you need anything” are used so often but there’s very few people that are able to honour it – cherish those that do.
9) Family first … I’m blessed to have such a huge family. We may have our ups and downs, highs and lows but we’re solid when it matters most. My Masis and Mami Ji are an inspiration to the twins and I where it comes to pulling together. All six of them have such different personalities, but together it works – they draw off each other’s strength. Every one of them is hilarious in their own way too – definitely a trait they inherited from their father!
10) Grateful for technology as it means we can hear my Papa Ji’s voice over and over on the video recordings we have of him.