A close family friend passed away, leaving behind three daughters in their early/mid-twenties and a wife whom he adored, and who adored him. He was their world.
Finding out about his passing was shocking.
But my shock and sadness cannot compare to that of his wife and children. Seeing them, all in white (Hindus wear white when in mourning), sobbing and trying to find strength in each other is heart-wrenching.
They will wear white while in mourning (for twelve days). Maybe his wife will always wear white now. I don’t know. I don’t think she knows yet. Or has even had the time to think about it.
In our culture and community, it is the father’s duty to look after and guide his daughters, even if they have careers or do not live together, until they are married. None of his daughters are married. They live on two different continents. Will they go back to their jobs? Will my aunt live alone? Will she move away? I don’t know. I don’t think they know yet.
Now that the cremation is over and the Puja (prayer ceremony) is over, I keep asking myself, ‘What will they do now?’ and ‘Who will look after them?’
It is an awful and frightening situation for them to be in. But I’m so glad that they are together, have each other and will make decisions together.
Each time I’ve come home from seeing my aunt and the girls, I’ve hugged my son a little harder. Kissed him a little more. And I am that much more reluctant to leave him – even for an hour.
I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t matter how old you are, how healthy you might be, how ‘good’ you feel. When it’s your time, it’s your time.