Monday, August 28, 2017

A Letter to my Brother

Dearest Shirish,

It has been years since I wrote you a letter. The last time we wrote to each other was when we were living in different countries as kids. Since then, I never thought I would have to write to you ever again. We were always just a phone call away from each other.

I keep staring at my phone these days. Waiting and willing it to ring. To see you name appear on it as the caller. My mind knows that it won't happen, but my heart refuses to give up. I can't believe I haven't heard your voice in a year now. There are times I want to share your niece's accomplishments with you, and I remember how much you used to ask to Skype with her, and how little time I had for you then. At times I crave to hear you and see you, just one more time. But that feeling passes, because I know that one more time will not be enough. I want a lifetime of it.

When I was travelling to India for your wedding last year, I was so excited and happy for you. I was glad that you were settling down and I was looking forward to having nieces and nephews to spoil and Sia was looking forward to having cousins. I imagined that you would move from Florida to California and we would see each other regularly. The one thing I never imagined was that a week after your wedding, I would stay on in India for your funeral. From the first time I saw you when you were born, to the last time I saw you at your wedding was just a span of 32 years. And it went by in the blink of an eye. And now I have an empty life ahead of me, trying to learn how to live in a world without you.

Shirish and Sia at Mumbai Airport, en route to Shirish's wedding

I am angry that your life was cut short and that you didn't get to live it the way you should have. The unfairness of it consumes me. I want to write a strongly worded missive to someone demanding that you be sent back immediately. I compose the memo in my mind, and then soon enough I am deflated by the powerlessness of my situation. I miss you more with each passing day. I keep hearing your voice in my head, and I imagine you - waving to me or smiling at me. When I see people on the street who resemble you, it stops me in my tracks. I feel like stalking them, convinced that it is you who has been playing a prank on us all this while. I daydream that this is just a nightmare I will wake up from one day.

Every time I cry, I feel you right next to me, crying along. I hear your gentle voice soothing me, and urging me to live the best damn life I can, for the both of us. Without you, my life is only half of what it would have been. But I owe it to you, our parents, my little girl to make that half count. And I will do everything in my power to live a good, meaningful life. I heard somewhere that we are not defined by the things that happens to us in life. We are defined by how we react to the things that happen to us. I am trying to make that my new mantra.

But that doesn't mean I won't miss you or mourn for you. I will continue to yearn for you, even as I try to smile through my tears and keep on living on.

I wanted to honor you in some way, and I decided to run a full marathon as a tribute to you and my way of acknowledging the pain you must have gone through. It seemed befitting, since you and I had gone together to pick up the bib for my first ever half marathon, and that it was almost exactly 2 years to the day that you died. At the time you said that someday we would do a full marathon together. And this marathon was one day before the 1st memorial of your death, so it felt right, that I channel the pain and grief inside of me into a physical form. I was not able to train fully for the marathon, but I had no doubt in my mind that I would finish it. Run, walk or crawl, I was going to cross that finish line on my own steam. So I ran it, for you, and you were with me every minute of it.

I will always miss you, and your love will continue to be the wind beneath my wings. Nothing in the universe can change the fact that you are and will always be my brother. I would give anything to have you here physically with me and it pains me that I can't make it happen. We may not be in the same world, but you will live on in my heart, and the hearts of all the other people whose lives you touched. This, is not goodbye.

Your sister - Supriya.


  1. I'm very sorry for your loss and feel your pain. I take courage from your words and hope you channel it into positive actions always.
    reshma v

  2. This is not a goodbye certainly.teary eyed.

  3. in tears. all strength to you