Sharing this post written by my younger sister Shraddha for Papa’s birthday ❤
Today is a special day. It’s my Papa’s birthday. To mark this occasion, I want to share with you one of my most precious and, sadly too, one of my last memories of him and his very special smile.
As I walked through the heavy doors, the clinical smell wafting up my nose, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I had landed in the country only 15 hours ago, but after a nights sleep I was itching to get to you.
The family had kept me up to date on your condition, and I knew you were in ICU, but still the anticipation was unbearable. So walking down that long corridor, my mind playing all kinds of games, I had to find the strength to face you no matter the state.
As I slid open the room door, I saw you lying there, eyes closed, tubes surrounding you, the machine making an unnerving yet regular beeping sound. Was this really you? My father? My Papa? Who always rescued us when we were feeling weak? Could this be you, so helpless, so out of control?
The sedative had ensured your body was fully relaxed and in a blissful state of calm. I walked up to the side of your bed and stared at you. I took you in, your eyes closed, your hands by your side, your chest rising and falling with every breath. I still couldn’t believe it was you and yet it looked more like you than ever.
Mummy was with me and she began talking to you. Even though you barely moved somehow I knew you heard her. And then came the moment. She announced to you that your “ladli”, or little daughter, from London was here.
As I bent down to speak a little closer to your ear and said hello to you your eyes flickered. I panicked. Was this ok?
Should you be waking up?
Will you feel any pain?
I carried on talking in as calm a voice as I could muster. Your eyes were flickering frantically now and seconds later they opened. Wide open. And they stayed open, as if afraid that if you were even to blink you’d not be able to open them again. Inside I was panicking, not sure if I’d done something wrong by waking you. But at the same time I knew this might be my only chance to see you awake.
I giggled like a 6 year old who had seen her Papa at the end of a long day at the school gates. You smiled.
I use that word because no word has yet been invented in the English language that described exactly what it was you did.
There was a smile on your face but it was so much more.
It was you fighting against the sedative you were under to look up at your youngest daughter who had traveled 5000 miles to be by your side and show her that you were ok.
It was your desire to always give others what they needed despite any pain it may cause you.
It was your pure love, a love I now realise I’ll never experience again, that shone through bright and clear that day.
I often think of this moment, of that very smile, and I pray I never forget how it felt to be so loved by you. Today I thank the universe for giving me a love so unconditional and pure, and so accepting of my talents and limitations, and so supremely divine that even meeting the creator of this universe would not compare to the moment that my Papa smiled at me from his hospital bed…..