My friend lost his father and his in laws, three of them, in a space of a year. The elderly were bed ridden for four long years and were looked after by my friend, his wife and two daughters. Despite their official routine and daily chores, they tended to the elderly and were at their beck and call. The last of the elderly passed away last week.
I went to offer condolences and to appreciate them for their grit and ‘never say die’ spirit. During the conversations we had, what appealed to me was the part the elderly had played in the bonding of the family. The two daughters in particular were sharing the various lessons learnt from their grand parents, and felt those spaces would never ever be filled again. The anecdotes, folk tales, mythological stories and life experiences taught to them by their grandparents would always remain etched in the children’s mind. They conceded they had matured so much in the last three years and learnt their lessons on care, love, responsibility and accountability. Having been through thick and thin in looking after the bed ridden elderly , the entire family had in just a few years grown so much in love and affection for each other. They are today, as I look at them, a more complete family.
My friend, his wife and their two daughters were in close embrace when the preparations for the last rites were on. They hugged each other, sobbing that the last of their dear ones was gone. I saluted them for their endurance as the van carrying the body tugged along. May the spirit of the ‘Ramakrishnan family’ be always alive.