‘The biggest thing for me is that they still have memories with him. And if the memory starts to fade, we have the pictures.’
“My parents would do the snowbird thing where they’d be here most of the year and then in winter, they’d have the warmth of India. My kids were six and four and I thought it was the time to take the boys to India and visit them at their house, as well as other sites. My wife couldn’t get off work, so she said, ‘No, no, no.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to wait. Life is short, and we keep talking about doing it.’ It’s funny, because everybody around me thought I was crazy! While India has improved, it’s still kind of a third-world country. And so, to take a six and a four-year-old who know nothing about the country…and the endeavor of a father doing it. I’ll be the first to admit I’m impulsive. I’m like that in many aspects of my life. Once I jump in, I jump in, but I’m telling you there was something about this that I just felt needed to be done. And so, the three of us went and it was this epic journey for us.
And it’s so profound how in this digital world, that mental picture seems to be more important, or remembered, more than any of the actual hard pictures that we took on that trip.
“We had an amazing time in Mumbai. We went to some remote places to see temples. There was one in particular; it encompasses Indian culture, religion, architecture. Every aspect summed up into one big complex that you walk through. It was very educational, but mostly the thing that stands out — it was literally the last location that we saw my dad. And it is so strict with their policy of pictures that it was the one place we couldn’t take our cameras. So, we did this thing where we took a minute to take a mental picture. And today, so that’s three years later, we still talk about the mental picture. And it’s so profound how in this digital world, that mental picture seems to be more important, or remembered, more than any of the actual hard pictures that we took on that trip.
“We came back and my mother called me. He had a heart attack and he passed away. He was a very soft-natured man that was all about kids and connecting on their level. In our language, grandfather is ‘dada.’ They would actually call him ‘funny dada’ because he was really funny and playful. They loved him. It was just beautiful. And that’s the biggest thing for me is that they still have memories with him. And if the memory starts to fade, we have the pictures.”