The MIM was six years old when he lost his maternal grandmother. The same age as my EO when DaddyDearest passed away. The EO is even younger; just three.
The MIM's memories of his Dida are very hazy; BIL-ly Boy's, who was four, even more so. That's why, I often worry how much my boys will remember their Daduku (what they call my DaddyDearest) as the years go by. It hurts me greatly to think, "Not much."
We've told the boys that their grandfather has become a star and that the sky is his new home now. They took it surprisingly well, but then they never really got the concept of forever. Once, the EO asked me if Daduku would come back when he was older. On the day of the 'Chautha', when I did a puja for my DaddyDearest, I asked the EO whether he would also like to participate. He immediately agreed and asked me what he should do and I said he had to say a little prayer and whatever he wanted to his grandfather. So he asks me very seriously, "I'll ask him to come back fast?" But how beautifully he played his part...repeating the purohit's mantras verbatim and precisely. He prayed for his grandfather with sincere devotion and took everyone's breath away. On the day of the 'Shraddh', the EO seriously sat through the beginning of the puja and made offerings to the fire. At one point in time, when he saw his beloved Mamu sobbing, it broke his little heart and my SIL had to quickly take him away from there.
But that was then...two weeks after Baba's passing. And now it's been a little over two months and they hardly refer to him at all. I sometimes wonder if he's already begun to fade a little bit from their memories. For me, not a day goes by when I don't think of him and my eyes well up. I cry every, single day and each time there's this horrible tightening in my chest that almost threatens to suffocate me when I sit up at night thinking about him.
Now, obviously, that kind of pain is mine. My MaaJanoni and the Bro are perhaps the only other two who feel this way. But yes, sometimes it amazed me when my two little boys stopped mentioning this man who was so much a part of their lives, altogether.
But I was wrong.
Little instances over the past few weeks have shown me that my DaddyDearest lives on in their memories yet. For how long, I don't know, but the fact that he does so for now, is good enough.
1) I remember sitting in my bed, crying one day, not too long ago. The boys were playing with their cousins and I thought I was alone so I could give in freely to my grief. Suddenly, the YO rushed in and jumped onto bed. I quickly brushed away my tears, because he hates to see me cry. But they're smart, these little ones and he caught me. He asked me why I was crying, and I told him I was missing my father. He immediately reassured me and told me to wait until nightfall and once the stars came out, I could see him there.
2) Normally, the EO absolutely love, love, LOVES going to MaaJanoni's house. In fact, he asks to be taken there and allowed to spend the night...or at least he used to. The other day, I told him to pack some of his favourite books because we'd be staying at his Manuku's place (what he calls my mum). Normally, this piece of news would have been greeted with a big whoop of delight. This time, he just buried his face deeper into the book he was reading. I gently asked him what was wrong and whether he didn't like going there anymore. He replied, "It was more better when Daduku was there." Aaah! So he missed him too! And we had a little chat about what he missed and it was mostly my dad cooking for them...his special omelets, french toast, sausages and of course, pizza! That little chat filled me with lots of warm memories and made me feel so much better.
3) The EO and YO were watching "Grandpa in my Pocket" on Ceebeebies and thanks to storyline, the EO was prompted to ask me, "Why was Jason worried about his Grandpa?", and as the EO is wont to do, he answered his question himself before I could, "Oh. Because he loves his Grandpa?" and then he looks at my DaddyDearest's photograph nearby and says, "Just like I love my Grandpa."
Always know this my sweethearts, your Grandpa loved you both too. Very, very much.