The Loss of a Dear Elder


I lost my father-in-law last week.

The pity was that I arrived 8 hours after his soul departed (at his hospital, wherein he had also served as a medical doctor before he finally retired). If only I could have come a few days earlier, there was a good chance he would have recognized my presence.

The good Samaritan has had a significant though passive influence on people around him. He was soft, gentle, polite, helpful, considerate, humble, loving and a devoted human being, the likes of which I rarely have had the opportunity of knowing. He was always most pleased whenever I made a visit to see him (once in 3 to 4 months), and had the inner beauty and calm to communicate his thoughts when he was unable to speak for a longer time. And, I was always at peace when I was in front of him, I do not know why. The experience always had a calming effect on me, brought me down to earth, made me listen intently, appreciate the difficulties of old age, and made me always wonder as to his consistent demeanour even when I knew he was having difficulties.

He was an amazing human being. At 87 years of age, he had seen all of life in a proper, decent and good way, and always tried to be helpful to people who have supported him. And, even to strangers ! Simply put, he was a good person who maintained his value systems, integrity and core principles to the very end of his life.

I have always told my wife that I was lucky that he trusted me with her. He saw something in me and I appreciated his openness. He always had that extra soft corner for me right though the 30 years I have known him. He was always concerned about my well being. But, I also saw him being equally concerned with people outside the immediate family circles, and that was touching to most folks.

I was unlucky not to have had the opportunity to have a word with him (or even see him alive) before he left this world. I paid close attention to what needs to be done in terms of processes and procedures afterwards, but felt better when I touched his feet before he was taken into the crematorium.

It is always a serious loss when one loses a close elderly relative, a father figure, an advisor and a thorough gentleman. In his case, I have lost a true advisor who always pointed out to me gently how to improve my own life. Many a time, he has given advice to me (and to my children), which was always well thought-out, considerate and helpful. All of his family members loved him, and felt the loss in a strong way as I witnessed over the past few days.

Life goes on, but his “soft” influence will always be felt……….his humanness, simplicity and kindness will not be forgotten for ever.

May his Soul rest in peace.

With Love and Affection

Vijay Srinivasan

01 Nov 2015

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3 comments

  1. Subramaniam Hariharan

    Dear Vijay,
    Your expression clearly delineates the deep void created by the departure of a gentle, kind soul. It evokes passionate memories for me as well and helps me understand the situation. I hope his love, passion and quiet support of you will help you get to better heights. Our prayers for you and Padma to be strong mentally and your father in law’s soul to rest in peace. Hari

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