The observable examined

Lechi would have turned 40 today

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Most people would have marked their entry into a new phase of life (I hesitate to call it middle age as I think the bar has shifted to the right for the population) by celebrating the big four oh birthday. Alas, for dearest Lechi, this life marker proved elusive.

Two years ago, this day, I bought Lechi a pendant with her birthstone (some were of the opinion that I had paid too much for it). I had had the sinking feeling that dear Lechini was not going to be around for long (given how her treatment was progressing and the generally available prognosis). I am so glad I bought it for her because it proved to be the last opportunity I would ever have to show her, materially, my love and affection for her. Last year, on Lechi’s birthday,  Mahati gave her a card saying she was the greatest mom (which I have preserved) and a copy of the Bhagavad Gita!! (this on her own accord).

I wonder if Lechi took this as a sign and decided to give up the fight (she lasted one more day past her birthday).

Many times, this past year, I have been in denial about Lechi’s illness. I have had to make a mental effort to recall the pain and suffering she endured, visualize the specifics to convince myself of the reality that Lechi is indeed in a better place.

However, I have missed her a lot and still do, consciously and unconsciously. Most recently, on my current India trip. Consciously: during our (Mahati and me) visits with friends and family. We were invited to a birthday party and there were games that involved the parents. Most kids had their moms (the default parent chosen by the game show host). Mahati was dragging me there.  Unconscioulsy: Mahati, her grandpa, and I saw the last installment of the Harry Potter movie. There was a lot of fun and excitement at the theater as the kids at the movies were shouting and screaming. I was choking and tearing up inexplicably (I have wondered if this stems from a sense of guilt).  Thankfully, Mahati enjoyed the experience. This was also true when I was performing the first anniversary rituals.

When birthdays are celebrated, most people (including myself) today treat it very superficially. What Lechi’s life has taught me is to understand and appreciate the deeper significance of marking these personal milestones. (It is probably, also, the origin of the celebrations in the first place).  In the same vein, I have also learned to appreciate the value of the rituals associated with remembering loved ones long gone. Not so much for the mechanics (even here I think there are interesting aspects that can help with psychological closure), but for the opportunity to set aside some time to focus on them. [I have to mention here that the Hindu rituals allow for three generations in the heavenly abode, we will cover this in a later blog].

Science tells us, except humans, most animals live in the here and now (which many a philosophy book urges us is the best form of living to aspire for). We have the unique machinery to dwell on the past, present, and future. One of advantages of this- we can continue to remember our loved ones, in spite of their physical absence. I know she will always inhabit our ( Mahati and mine) mental world. Happy Birthday Lechi!  We miss you, we love you!


Written by asterix98

August 1, 2011 at 3:16 am

One Response

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  1. my dearest suresh,
    Lakshmi has been in my thoughts for the last two days and still is. i am not able to explain why. i just read your blog and it just choked me. i cannot imagine the grief both you and her mother would be going through. To date it is still hard for me to understand why my mother left me and i have not even seen her. My heart goes out to Mahati and as days go she will question why she was singled out to be left without a mom. You are a fantatstic dad and she lucky in that along with the fact that she has lot of support from both sides of the family but nothing can replace a mom. Please hang in there – you are very brave. with lots of love to both of you – chithi.

    usha vaideeswaran

    August 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm

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