“Most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.”
― Benjamin Franklin

 “My mother has left her body,” yes, this was how Manjeet, my friend, conveyed the ‘sad news’ to me, yesterday, “The departure was peaceful.”

Manjeet’s mother lived with his family. She was very close to Manjeet and loved his wife and children immensely. Manjeet, his wife and children took good care of her. Except for stiffness of joints and a poor appetite, Manjeet’s mother had no other health problems. She was alert, mobile and affectionate. Often, I would see her sitting with Manjeet engaged in gentle discussions. She did not take any medicines… spent most of her time in silent prayers.

“She held my hand and left,” Manjeet narrated, “I could see her going.”

What kind of death you and I will have… well, we can never predict it. Like all, I, too, pray to God that the death of my dear and near ones, and my own, be ‘peaceful’. And, I leave it at that.
“You have been a kind soul… You have taken good care of her… She has been a kind soul and she has taken good care of you all… So, these good deeds are responsible for her peaceful departure,” I said to Manjeet in my condolence, “Not many get to go like that.”

All that we can - and we must - do is when we are alive… Love and care when alive… be kind and tender when alive… be forgiving and large-hearted when alive… be generous, be gentle, be supportive, be less critical, be light-hearted and spirited when we are alive… work hard and long and yet learn to let go all when alive… attend birthdays and death-days, weddings and funerals, anniversaries and thanks-giving’s… yes, all when we are alive… eat, play and pray together when alive… wear the best clothes, eat the best meals and observe the most sincere fasts all when we are alive… Saying ‘I am sorry’… ‘It’s alright’… ‘I love you’… yes, these have no meaning unless we say them when we are alive… Love has to be here and now… Peace, too. While alive!

The death of my friend Manjeet’s mother, was extremely peaceful. The soul, as Manjeet rightly said, has left the body… May her soul rest in peace… Like all, I too have said.

But, deep down I know this: ‘living in peace’ while we are alive is more important than ‘resting in peace’ after we die. Incidentally, last morning, Vishwanath, my another friend, had shared that hard-hitting placard:
“Why do we always rest in peace…
Why don’t we live in peace?”

Pic.: Azriel D'Souza


Manjeet Singh said…
Gerry Sir, your today’s blog is a heartfelt tribute to my mother. Thank You. Your words are precious gift for our family.
I would like to reveal more about my mother. She practiced “SERVICE” in her lifetime. I found this value imbibed in her. I am indebted for the same. She gave every opportunity to the family members - to be relieved from household work.
She was content and peaceful even in her last days. She never cribbed or complained for anything and was happy that my family was taking her care.
The miraculous happening was that every member of my family and elder brother’s family was present in the last moments of her life.
I was the only one to witness the last minutes. I even didn’t want to call others as I may myself miss the “life’s sunset” in calling others. I knew how the moments are fleeting and sun vanishes suddenly while watching sunset.
I find dignity in my mother’s death as she died at the age of 85 as a ripe fruit falls from the tree on its own. She was not on any medication - no pain killers and not even ordinary “crocin” or “paracetamol” and no hospitals.
I want to acknowledge that my mother’s last journey was fruitful because of family support. My wife played crucial role in handling her weak body and my kids took her care with reverence.
I am honoured that - you as a friend were sensitive and observant to our relation and have even written about it in your earlier blogs. Maybe you got connected with your mother as the existence is inter-connected with a mystical invisible thread of motherly love.
Gerald D'Cunha said…
So profound ur words Manjeet sir. Thanx

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