Mum shook me awake at 4 a.m. Grandmother had fallen down in the bathroom and wasn’t able to get up. Mum couldn’t pick her up either.
We got her up and put her back to bed. And then I patted her arm and soothed her brow. Full circle from the baby-massage I got from her years ago.
Mum’s lower lip was trembling, her voice shaking as she asked how my grandmother was feeling, if she had got hurt anywhere and if she wanted something to drink before going to sleep. Grandmother, on her part was her usual self. No tremor in the voice, no tears to betray her emotion. But her voice was weak and soft and her hands trembling.
I come from a line of people who are such reservoirs of energy and fortitude that it comes as a shock when their cracks show. Intermingled with the strains of the others for whom the ground beneath their feet shifts when the ‘stronger’ ones they look upto falter.
I will never forget the first time I saw my grandfather after the cancer had been diagnosed. The ground shifted beneath my feet and I very nearly keeled right over. Nearly but not quite. I am his grand-daughter after all.
He told the doctors,
See, I would like to live for another 20 years more. But if I’m not going to, please tell me honestly. That way I can deal with it and handle it better.
Blood transfusions were needed and my father and my uncle stepped up to take the needles to their arms. You know such phrases like “More a father/son than in-laws”? Hollow they sound, when compared to the actual actions of people who live them.
A few months later, another transfusion was needed. This time it was me. It was a special moment for me…though it sounds weird when I say that, since it wasn’t a happy occasion. But it was a combination of joy and pride in being able to give back for all the years of love and adoration that had come my way from a doting grand-parent. It was life-blood flowing back to its source. It was a sense of knowing my duty and abiding by it, with full pride in being able to do so.
A thought I had about dharma recently? I just realised…in that moment I was finding my dharma and fulfiling it. When grandfather died, I didn’t cry. It wasn’t my place to. My role was to let my family grieve and hold them while they did. It was dharma again. Last night was dharma calling me again. It is a moving moment always, meeting your dharma. It’s more than destiny, far higher than duty. It is that rare moment when life comes up to you and tells you very clearly,
This is what you were meant to do. All your life this far has been preparation for this moment. Will you live it as it should be lived?
Meet your dharma with peace and joy. Those moments will define your life.