It is not something I would write about on a normal day. And yet, it is something that touched me. I write this to remind myself, that even in the most unlikeliest of situations, grace is possible.
A very very dear friend of mine lost her husband exactly two weeks ago in a road accident, when he was heading back home after a bikers trip. This happened in a place a few hours away from the city. A local called up the last dialed number and traced the family, meanwhile their bikers group went back and did all they could to bring the mortal remains, with some family members help.
It was unexpected, cruel and unnerving. My friend was totally inconsolable. The children refused to believe it happened. His daughter refused to see his face. I grieved, like never before, that day. Theirs was a cross community marriage, my friend, a Tamilian married to a Bengali. He was the only son to his parents. His parents were quite old and his father was already undergoing treatment for cancer for several years. My friend was dreading to tell his parents about it. They were flying down, unaware that he had passed away. They were told he was hurt as under the circumstances that seemed a better option until they came down.
So apart from grief, there was a certain restlessness in everybodys mind as to how his parents would take it. My friend was nerve wrecked. Finally a couple of hours before the cremation time their flight landed. One of his family members, who went to pick them up was informed to sound them off before they reached home.
So they walked in, informed during the journey from the airport, of their loss. His mother, was naturally shaken and grieving. His father, an old man went to his son, looked at him for a while and then reached out to his daughter in law with a warm hug and said, “we lost our son but we still have our daughter and grandchildren. Now you mean the world to us. We are with you and will always be”. That, and I mean that, graceful gesture turned around the terse atmosphere. He called for his grandchildren. Again their granddaughter refused to come. So he went out to meet his grandchildren, spoke to them, like a man, a dad, hugged them, assured them and came in. He then tried to understand what happened and went with the flow, cremation rituals, etc.
Had he reacted any other way, had he broken down at his age, it would have worsened the situation that already was. Surely he grieved too. But he knew it was beyond him and went on to handling this crisis in a kind way. I was deeply touched by his graceful act, in this most unlikely situation. Somehow it reinstated in me, that sometimes a little act of selfless kindness could make a lot of difference.