As I went through the telephone numbers in my handphone, I stopped at the name, one that has been haunting me for the past 12 days. It’s James’ contact number….. I couldn’t wipe the thoughts I have of him in my mind and my heart. I had the thought of dialing his number, but stopped short. He is dead…. He is no more….His death has stirred my deepest emotions and as I pen these words onto this page on Triond, tears keep welling in my eyes.
He was no other than my beautiful, unforgettable brother-in-law. Among all my brothers-in-law, he was the one who had captured my heart and stirred my soul. He was more a brother to me, close to my heart, than a brother-in-law. His generosity, simplicity, compassion for all less fortunate than himself and his family, which included animals, were qualities that just took me away. I always felt that my sister was very fortunate to have married a man as wonderful as him.
When I visit my sister and family, he was one man who had lots of things to talk about, from religion to philosophy and politics. He looked at religions with an equal eye, quote,” All religions want man to do good but it’s man that has corrupted religion.” Unquote. Those words keep ringing in my ears whenever unwelcome thoughts come into my mind of religions. His love for human beings crossed cultures, traditions, gender, believes and social status. Everyone around the neighbourhood knew James and James knew everyone in the neighbourhood. Yet he was a very private man. He didn’t like to cross the limits he had drawn for himself for he was a man proud of who he was and what he believed in.
It is midnight now, but I have to pen these thoughts which are still fresh in me before I forget and he becomes my past. I have to go to work tomorrow and I have to pull myself out of bed but no….. I have to finish this piece of work which is very important to me as part of my memories of a soul, who in his own way has contributed to mankind by being a worthy example of what a person should be to one and all.
I remember seeing him lay, cold in his coffin. All of us family and friends paid our last respects as the Hindu mantras were chanted bidding his soul a peaceful ascent into the next world. I couldn’t bear to see him go together with all his adorning of blossoms and flowers covering him from head to toe. Some of those flowers were strewn by me as I bade him a final farewell.
As the hearse made its way to the crematorium, we followed behind in our car. I noticed a lonely wreath standing with the words, ‘Deepest Sympathy,’ where the hearse was stationed, before the coffin was pushed into itand driven away. Though we had given him a sad but beautiful farewell, his thoughts still haunt those who really knew James for the man he really was. As for me there can never be another James…… May his soul find everlasting peace and happiness in the next world…..All the best to you James, I cannot forget you till my last days.