My Eulogy to Grandma

I made an eulogy to my grandmother at her funeral yesterday (November 7, 2019), and someone asked me to copy/paste it to them. I thought it would be easier to just post it on my blog & link it rather than go searching in my google docs each time to copy/paste. There were also many who were not able to attend so here it is.

I should probably explain couple things if someone randomly finds this through Google search. First, ‘Ba’ is what some Indian cultures call grandmother. Second confusing portion is the “masi”, “foi”, “kaki” part – they are just different relationships terms in Indian cultures like ‘aunt’. Everything else is straight forward. I focused on the three qualities that I will always remember about Ba & what I learned from her. Some eulogies talk about religious perspective of life & death, but I’m not very religious myself so I briefly talk about my own belief outside of religion. I kept it short and simple.

Photo by wiki / cc
Photo by cc

We are here for ba today.

I always believed life should be a celebration and death should be a celebration of one’s life. Today is the day we celebrate the life of our ba, our mother, our masi, our foi, our kaki, our auntie, our friend. 

We humans lead an interesting life. We are born one day as a clean slate at the start line, we learn of the world on the go and we hit the finish line before we get a chance to stop and process everything. We never get to pause our lives to have a good long look at our full life snapshot. It is something only others can do on our behalf, usually our family after us. So I will do the best I can while keeping it to short 5 minutes about our ba.

Ba lived a long and happy life that is worthy of celebration. We are here to celebrate her life and all that she was. It is not easy to talk about someone we just met days ago in past tense so I would like to say that ba is not gone anywhere. She is right here in our hearts and minds as we gather here today.

Ba has touched many lives in one way or another in her 93 years, certainly more than most of us will. I want to talk about ba from my memories of her over the past 22 years I have known her. There are 3 things I will always remember about ba.

First, everyone here knows ba has worked hard her entire life. She was one of those people who always kept herself occupied in her work. I had her schedule figured out over the years – wake up at 7am, take a bath before everyone, and be in the kitchen at 9am until noon. That was who she was until her hip fracture at 90 years. She believed whatever work you did in life should be done properly. She occasionally talked about her younger days when she used to carry heavy pots filled with water on her head from a nearby lake. Most of us cannot imagine how difficult it must be to do that, let alone to do it daily over a few kilometers each way. It should be a life lesson to us all – there are no shortcuts in life. We must work hard at whatever it is we do and only then will the work feel complete.

Second, ba was always strong and humble. She did not talk about herself in a boastful manner. She did not like to show off about herself or talk big. She kept herself grounded. She went through a cancer operation, multiple heart attacks, two open heart surgeries, three stenths and hip fracture. She also dealt with knee pain daily. We all learned to be strong from her so I want to thank Ba for strength, willpower and humility.

The third thing I will always remember about ba is the care she took for us grandchildren. She used to make food for us kids after school when the adults were at work. Her fried rice with orange juice was my personal favorite. She would put on extra red pepper to make it extra spicy and I ate it with tears in my eyes from the spiciness. I also have a specific memory that has stuck with me all these years that expresses how much she cared. When I was about 10 years old, I fell walking up the stairs in our house. I was covered in blood, tears and was crying from the pain. Ba was the first person to reach me with a tablecloth, wiping away the blood from my face. I recall that as much as I cried from getting hurt, she cried even more while hugging me as I lay there. She cared very much about her grandkids.

She had many other qualities worthy of respect, but I want to keep to these three that I felt defined her best in the two decades I knew her. I am sure others have their own memories they will always cherish. One thing I am sure about is that she will always remain with us in one way or another, forever. We are all lucky to have known her. 

Thank-you, ba, thank-you for everything. May you always rest in peace.

Harsh Shukla
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