I know there are countless souls out there who empathize with the loss of a loved one, a child, perhaps your child; and with all my heart, I am so very sorry.
So I know you get it when I say there really are no words to express how you and I are feeling and every set of circumstances surrounding our loss keeps it impossible to compare … but we can try at some point to share at the very least. I’m at that point now.
I’m going to go forward presently because I have not spoke of this in any depth for more than a half century. It is like it has just happened, now that I bring it to the surface.
Once back at the house, my son’s wrapped remains are gently and lovingly placed in the middle of our living room. Here also we had laid my nana and my father. The pundit commenced with the puja and the traditional rituals for the dead. The process of saying good night my sweet angel was underway. Deep breaths; this continued well into the night.
In the morning it was time to take our baby to the *burial ground. As practiced at the time in our Hindu culture **only men were allowed to cremate or bury a body. Women were not permitted by tradition to even be present; yes, regardless if the departed was female or male.
We took my son to the Vatuwaqa Cemetery. It sat on a hill overlooking the sea. The grief, the heartbreak, the suspended state in which there’s nothing but disbelief, and it’s all too real. There we were.
My maternal uncle, the very same whose shop I used to sell my kites in, had said many comforting words including something about squaring up a debt, in attempt to make it easier to accept. Of course none could dispel any of the pain, I just couldn’t seem to get that boulder off of my heart and I do not remember even trying to.
But his words which resounded through my tears and heartache, remaining with me through all these years were, “He is a very pure soul so never worry for him. He has returned home to heaven.”
I won’t even try to put into words which can be so awkward, what it felt like when I laid him down directly into the earth, swaddled in the wrapped blanket. There is no casket. I then placed a handful of marigolds and white carnations upon his little body.
The immediate family members followed suit and then I began to cover him with the soil of Fiji. The soil of my mother’s birthplace, of my birthplace, the place of my son’s birth …and now his body’s permanent resting place.
Not loud enough for anyone but my son I said, ‘Go my son, you are free now.’ Today and everyday since he passed back in 1955, I have kept him in that quiet, blissful place of my heart knowing full well that in there, he cannot be taken from me ever again.
*burial ground in the ways of Hindu religion, most all deceased are cremated. I won’t get into the details of this subject but just to assist in the understanding as is relative to what LBM is saying: But not so in the case of young ones, they are buried.
Up to what age where this no longer applies is variable but usually not past three or four. It is believed that a person so young has not made the attachment to the body which an older person would have, therefore Aatma Ram! (the soul) didn’t need purification, which is the duty of the 🔥.
**only men were allowed over the recent years, this tradition seems to have lost the strictness of men only and now more often than not, women are present. However it still comes down to men only at the actual point of cremation.
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