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Happy Birthday, Daddy. You Have A New Guest Arriving. And He's A Good One.

Happy 71st birthday, Daddy.

I cannot believe it has been nearly 7 years since Daddy passed at the age of 64. A common refrain I hear after people find out his age of passing is, "he died too young." I have even said the same thing. But honestly, what does that phrase even mean? Because no matter what age a loved one passes, they will never be old enough. It will never feel okay. It will always be devastating. And that loss will linger with us for the rest of our own time on this earth.

And I will always fucking miss Daddy.

But not all is lost with those losses, though it will inevitably feel that way, at least initially.

What I have learned is loss also comes with

renewed closeness and appreciation of other loved ones

tremendous opportunities for growth and self-reflection

and realizing the little things, truly, do not matter. at all.

A silver lining.

This reflection and others come on the heels of losing my Raj Mama at the "never old enough" age of 81. And what makes this situation exceedingly frustrating is the entirety of the family did not get to gather together, hold and support one another, as my family did when Daddy passed. Because of COVID, a large swath of family could not be present during the funeral proceedings, so we shared the moment the best we could over a Zoom feed. It felt distant, but strangely not, and as a result, it was oddly comforting and weird at the same time.

The proceedings had a familiarity to me for obvious reasons, but during the proceedings

my focus was split.

Split in my heartache for my Usha Mamiji, sister Mona, my brothers' Ravi and Kavi, Mummy, Tony Mamaji and Rita Mamiji, my Guddi and Shashi Massis, my sissy, and my baby brothers' Anuj and Vikas, and many others who had the opportunity to know the love of Raj Mama and share in that loss.

And split because I also felt a sense of peace during the moment as well.

I remember after Daddy died, my initial feeling was not panic, but relief. Not sorrow, but contentedness. I did not want Daddy to struggle any longer - I wanted him to be at peace. And based on what Raj Mama shared with me when I saw him back in September, he also wanted peace for his mind, body, and soul as well.

I always felt Raj Mama calmed, even grounded Daddy whenever they spent time together. I felt Daddy really did look at him as an older brother. There was a mutual respect between the two, as they shared a similar journey by coming to the US to begin a life anew for themselves and their families. Daddy chose to begin this journey on his own. But Raj Mama brought Mummy and Tony Mamaji to this country with him.

Because of Raj Mama, Daddy met Mummy. I would literally not exist if it were not for him.

Thank you, Raj Mama.

I feel sadness, but also an extra degree of comfort knowing Daddy now has the additional company of Raj Mama in the afterlife. I know Daddy has had the company of his brothers, parents, and other family that has since passed these past 7 years. But I just never saw the connection he had with Raj Mama with any of them - and that gives me peace.

And so today, I am hoping Daddy is popping a bottle of champagne with his huge smile, while Raj Mama stands beside him with a slight smile, quietly smoking his pipe.

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