I can’t believe the day has come – the reality that everyone knew was dawning upon us, but the one that no one really thought would happen … you’ve left us Thai Ji.
We filled the precious minutes and hours we shared speaking about mostly happy memories – you laughing from the pit of your stomach as you watched Arjun and his little antics, how you reminisced about me as a little girl, your grandkids and their hilarious ways. We didn’t always talk about happy times though, we also shared sadder times. We were always there for each other, like friends. You’d never guess there was almost a 50 year age gap!
I never spoke about your health unless you bought it up, our time wasn’t for that. Maybe I could never face the harsh reality, maybe I chose not to speak about it too much as I didn’t want to have those memories, I wanted to take you away from your stresses and worries. I wanted to laugh with you. I’ve never known someone that’s had so much shit thrown their way through life but braved it and fought it with so much strength. Someone that lived life like there was no tomorrow but dreamt like you had forever.
You always were a second mother to me. Someone I could turn to about everything and anything without the fear of being judged. Someone I could laugh with, someone I could cry with, someone I took comfort in, someone that gave me so much strength. I’m pretty sure my “no shit” attitude comes from you lol.
You shared my childhood memories more than anyone – you laughed just as hard everytime you told stories. The one about me shouting “Donald’s” everytime we drove past McDonald’s, how I would give all the shorter chips to you guys but keep the longer ones for myself (some things never change!); how I wanted a sausage at the chippy and how you had to explain to me that they’re meat; how I called oranges “hondages”. You were the one that put me in to my 7pm bedtime routine when I was little – one that’s stuck! Haha! Heera always complains about me going up to bed by 9 lol.
You knew me as well as my own mum – both times I’ve been pregnant, you knew as soon as you saw me and I was only a few weeks. I could never lie to you. I trusted you with my life.
I loved receiving your text messages – I always knew they’d be filled with something exciting when I saw your name flash up. The most recent was your excitement at buying your new car – an old school Rolls Royce. That’s the one thing I loved so much about you Thai Ji – your ability to enjoy every single moment of life, no matter how unwell you were, whatever life threw at you, you lived it like you had forever. And we all believed that – we really believed you’d be here forever. That you were invincible – you are the strongest woman I know. But I guess you were done fighting.
78, 78 whole years, to me you were my age! Always had your hair done, your nails done, donning some form of leopard print garms, your gold earrings on, one of your 500 pairs of shoes on! You always dressed well and embraced the Indian culture too, “I’m not gori, I’m Indian” you’d say.
Everyone adored you, everyone knew you. You were always life and soul of the party – such a character. Your departure has affected even people that only ever had a brief encounter with you – you had such a presence. Such a radiant soul and one so full of love. You genuinely cared about everyone. You always asked about my Biji, my cousins, my in laws. You always took the time out to ask about each and every person.
You chose and named Chico, Bruno was yours. Your love for dogs is something everyone will remember. I’m grateful to have a small piece of something you loved so dearly – I promise to be more involved in taking care of Bruno! If I fail, you know Preetam won’t let you down. I had told you that Friday that since I’ve been pregnant, dogs irritate me. “Oh sharrrap” was your response lol.
I don’t know what we’ll do when it comes to the dogs – you were always our first port of call when we ever had any dog related issues. It was because of you Chico’s life was saved when he was poorly as a pup. How will I bring another baby in to this world without your guidance on dogs and babies again? I’ve forgotten everything Thai Ji.
Everyone keeps telling me I should feel grateful and happy that you spent a part of your last full day in this world with me – you chose to come and see Arj and I at my mums. You surprised us. Except I didn’t know it would be the last time I’d see you. So instead of giving you my whole hearted attention, I spent those three hours on the laptop searching for dining tables while we chatted. You were so excited watching Reg and Arj play – the first time you saw them together and sadly your last. You showed us your car and we laughed hard at your enthusiasm for life and your “and what” attitude – so endearing. So inspirational. You had lunch with us – pindia and toast. Had I known it was our last, I would’ve made cholleh bhattureh – your favourite. You looked well Thai Ji, you looked really well. I never would’ve thought that was the last time we’d meet.
Thai Ji, anytime we ever parted, we always hugged and kissed each other. Why was Friday different? It was the first time you didn’t say goodbye – it was the first time you told me you wanted to sneak out as you didn’t want Arj to cry. You didn’t even say “goodbye darling” like you usually would. Why didn’t you hug me one last time? Is it because you knew it’d be the last? Every time I think of you leaving, I cry. I can’t bare the thought that I will never see you again.
I don’t know how I will ever move on from this. I don’t know what I will tell Arjun – he always asks for “Suzi”. He loved feeding Bella with you, running around like a lunatic at your house, admiring the fish with you. He had the same love for you as I did.
My heart feels broken, it feels like such a horrible nightmare. You told me to go out with Heera the following day and to enjoy ourselves, we did Thai Ji. We went out for dinner and to the cinema – something we’ve only done once since having Arjun. It was perfect. We did what you told us to – enjoy ourselves. We spoke about you so much, what we didn’t realise was that at that same moment you were slipping away and leaving us.
That night we got home and were laughing and joking with the twins and mum and dad came down at 11pm. They’d usually be fast asleep. I didn’t think anything of it … it all happened so fast, “we have something to tell you they said”, “what?” We said. “Suzi’s gone” they said.
I can’t get those words out of my head and I can’t get that feeling any further away. My heart sinks every time I think of that night. The night is a blur but what I felt is so vivid. Every time I think of Arjun’s reaction to my reaction to the saddest news. I couldn’t even take any comfort in my son.
I am forever grateful to your daughter and grandchildren – to call me and check that I’m ok the night they lost their mum/nan, I’ll never forget. During their own grief of losing the closest person to them, they thought of me. They understood our bond, how close we were. Somehow I’ve been able to draw some strength from them by crying together and laughing together. Maybe because in that moment, you’re still here with us.
Two weeks on and it’s time for you to be put to rest. Except I’m not allowed to be there … because I’m pregnant. I guess these traditions exist for a reason. I know you wouldn’t want me there as you know I won’t be able to handle it. I’m a mess Thai Ji. How can I ever say goodbye? I want to remember your radiant face and bouncy personality. I can’t handle seeing your lifeless soul. Equally, I can’t handle being away from everyone, and not being a part of your final journey. It will never feel real to me. I can’t even get out of bed. I don’t want to face the day. I feel like I can’t breath.
I took you for granted – I always assumed you’d be here Thai Ji. I love you so much, my heart is hurting. I’m struggling to take comfort in anything other than knowing you weren’t in pain during your final few moments.
I’ll miss your love for life Thai Ji
I’ll miss my annual birthday cards always addressed “to my daughter”
I’ll miss my confidant
I’ll miss someone sharing my childhood memories with me
I’ll miss your potty mouth
I’ll miss your cheekiness
I’ll miss you
Thank you for visiting me in my dream and letting me know you’re ok. Please come again soon Thai Ji … I’ll be waiting for you.
Rest in eternal peace … until we meet again my precious angel 💔 I love you x