The Loss of a Generation

Monday, November 24, 2008
My grandfather passed away about ten days ago. He was 93, and as Desis say, he lived a "full life." I spent last week on vacation with my family, and we all had the opportunity to mourn and remember him together.

Dadaji, as we all call him, moved from India to Kenya in his teens, taken along by an uncle who thought he could establish a good life and have more opportunities there. He was a businessman for most of his life. In his twenties, he went to India and brought back a wife, and together they raised five children, one of whom is my mother. His wife died before I was born, and eventually, he moved to London to live with his son.

My grandfather would come over to the U.S. for a few months every year and stay with each of his daughters and their families. In those brief months, we learned the meaning of the word "discipline." He was a deeply spiritual man. I remember him meditating for hours on end in my room. He would always be reading Krishnamurti, Rajneesh, Sai Baba. He had a lot of words of wisdom for all of us. He always emphasized how important it was to be content without always wanting more. He would meditate for hours each day, sitting in the lotus position in my room, not flinching as I top-toed in and out. He took long walks, ate healthy food (although he did love sweets and fried foods), and loved to laugh. He had the best sense of humor. I remember him laughing for hours one day at the "weird" English words Americans used: elevator instead of lift, bathroom instead of water closet.

I don’t have any larger theme or tie-in for this post. I just want to take a moment to remember him, and to mourn the loss of that generation in my life – he was my only remaining grandparent. My daughter never met him, and I will always be sorry about that. I am going to try to make a scrapbook of photos and memories of his life, contributed to by his family members. That way, maybe she’ll know just a bit of her great-grandfather. It won't be enough, but it will do.
Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about this. It's always hard to lose someone you love. I'm glad your grandfather had a full life.

Anonymous said...

the stories of the dewsi diazpora spanning africa, europe and NA continue to amaze me

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this. Children put a whole new level of sadness on the passing of family members. I am sure your daughter will appreciate the memories and stories that you have of your grandfather.

Soniya said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My Grandmother recently passed away. I understand exactly what you mean about the passing of an entire generation in your life. It is difficult, but your Grandfather will live on in your memories and stories and your daughter will have that important connection.

monica said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments and emails. It actually really helps when people reach out!

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