I had a few quiet moments to myself this evening. My mother had gone to attend an independence day program at the local temple - B had gone with Kutti boy to drop her off. Baby girl was napping in the cradle in front of me. It was a quiet moment. But not a peaceful one. Dusk, as it is brings a feeling of melancholy. I sat there thinking about my father. How he lay there cold and lifeless in the coffin. My father who could not stand feeling cold and would always dress in warm clothes even at home. Him, in an ice box. Frigid. I am unable to come to terms with it.
All the times I have spent with him now seemed like a dream. He lives in my memories, yes. But all the more that makes me long for his physical presence, his response to my thoughts and to my life now. My little girl is here and he has not seen her. Breaks my heart. He looked forward so much to spending time with my son whom he adored. How could he just leave without any goodbye. I cannot get over the fact that I had the chance to spend time with him in Dec'06 during X-mas break (he passed away mid Jan most unexpectedly) - I almost booked the ticket to go visit him at my brother's place but I did not because I had just made two trips to India back to back and I did not want to put my son through yet another change of place/schedule since he had lost a lot of weight from the long trips already. Plus I was pregnant and would have had to travel alone with kutti boy. My mother out of her concern for my son told me "We are any coming there in March (07) - don't come now". Little did I know that was my last chance to see my father. Who has done so much for me. I never got to tell him how much he meant to me. In fact I didn't realize it myself until after he died. I now fear death a lot. Not mine. But those around me. I feel like every normal day with no "incident" is good news. I feel grateful for every normal day. But I am stricken with anxiety every now and then that something may go wrong. Something might be taken away from me. Just like my dad was. Leaving my poor mother alone after so many years of marriage. Both my mother and I talk about him every single day. In some context or the other. When I put away the spoons and forks - how my dad would eat so neatly. How he had style. When my son insists on closing the doors and blinds once it is dark - just like my dad would go around checking on the doors before he went to bed. I think about the times when I was a child just a couple of years older than my son - my father would drop me at school. He would be running late because of some phone call just when we were about to leave. He would feel responsible and would request the old lady who stood guard at the school gates to let me in quickly so I could join in the morning prayer at school. And here I am now with a son at that age - all those years in between - I was his child, in his care. Even the last conversation I had with him on the phone (at the hospital) two days before he died, he asked me about my son and about my health (since I was pregnant). I am unable to come to terms with the finality of his death. If only I had gone to visit him during that X-mas break I may not have felt this terrible void - this desperate urge to see him alive and keep that fresh in my memory. At a theoretical level I am able to understand his death. Every one has to go at some point. They live in our memories. Natural cycle of life. Change is the only constant. Yes, yes. I tell myself all that. I suppose enough time has not passed for this feeling to become numb. It is better than the pain I felt seeing his body in that coffin. But not numb enough yet. I suppose in some strange way life prepared me for this just by the sheer timing of it - when I have two kids to take care of - where there are no excuses to take time off to ponder on this - their demands come first and come all the time. And in my son's musical, carefree laughter and daughter's serene face I do find happiness. And in what now seems like Maya - was my dad ever with me feeling - I want to believe that some how he is still with us and is able to see and enjoy my children like he would have immensely had he been with us now physically.