August 1 will mark eight years to the day my father passed away. I still remember all those years when he had begun to get frail, how I used to imagine and fear the day I would have to accept and come to terms with his passing. And of course, as everyone you know says, nothing you imagine really prepares you for the actual event. Or its ever after consequence. That this person who has been around you for nearly as long as you remember yourself is suddenly silent, unmoving, gone.
But I also surprised myself by feeling at times, on the day, and a few days after, a complete lack of self-pity or sentiment. I found myself thinking and sort of knowing that he was elsewhere and fine. And that he or something or someone was letting me and my mother know that it was alright.
That feeling hasn’t stayed over the years, nor has the lack of self-pity. But at the time, it was startling in its force and clarity.
I was asked by the priest who was conducting the final rites to chant the Gayatri mantra while I circumbulated my father’s body laid to rest underneath the canopy of an old tree in the crematorium grounds.
And as I did, I remember it began to drizzle and the sky turned a beautiful hue and a small gentle breeze picked up, rustling the leaves underfoot. I dont know how I managed it but I do remember looking up either while or at the end of the circumbulations with a grateful smile on my face. Something somewhere was letting me know that my dearest dad was out of here — was fine — and was somehow letting me know so.