WGJKK WGJKF. First of all Id like to thank each and everyone of you for coming to this service today. There is a reason why I wanted to say something today. It is not because it is my duty to deliver a eulogy. It is because I wanted to share with you the extent of loss we all feel and to reiterate that she was truly a wonderful person. She would never say a bad word against anyone nor would she accept anything negative to be said about them.
Firstly, she was honest and hardworking. Having qualified & worked as a teacher in India she waited for a year in India after marriage before coming to the UK in 1958, a year after my father came to make a life here. Imagine what life would have been like then. Only a few brown faces, open racism, limited opportunities and few of the ethnic resources we enjoy today.
She was strong person and could challenge any wrong against her children. For example, on our road a number of children had decided to hoard stones into plastic bags and ride up and down our street throwing them at us. She did not hesitate to challenge their parents and demand justice. This is one attribute I will come back to : Bravery.
She gave up her career for a while to look after my sister and I in our early years. In addition she also was so caring that she brought up a number other children. When she returned to work I remember her being a popular person who made friends quickly and was loyal to them.
She was a person that loved family. She told me that one of the things she wanted the most was from a family was for us to all support each other.
It is this support network that she built upon that made her work with the Milan centre and set-up what is known as The kitty. She loved gardening often spending hours there. She also had a lovely singing voice.
Although in the last 2 years ill heath really took a grip, she remained determined to overcome it. This attribute of bravery is one of things we need to admire. Health complications entered her life but her get up and go /determination is something we need to recognise as a fundamental driver for us all. It is easy to give-up in the face of health issues, she had an unrivalled inner strength.
She also knew that she had a family that cared for her. Dad provided full support and made it his mission to give her the best care. Our next door neighbours said that my father and mother could teach people what true love and support is all about.
She was close to her grandchildren and knew that we all loved her very much. In 2005 she attended both grandchildrens 1st and 18th birthdays. She celebrated her birthday in Goa before she fell ill.
Even right up until the end of her life, when my sister and I saw her in Mumbai, she fought like a real hero. Although during our short stay we could only see her for less than 10 minutes in the morning and 10minutes in the evening, my sister and I both had a similar encounter She was sedated so we were unsure if she was conscious or not. We asked her on separate occasions if she knew if we were there. On both occasions she nodded her head gently and then a single tear streamed slowly down then side of her temple.
She was fighting for survival like a true hero, a true Sikh.
She was a true Sikh, believing and exercising honesty and truthful living.
I was told that when a person is gone it is only then that you truly realise the loss. The whole family misses her terribly but we have to learn to live without her but we know that today she is with us in spirit – among us and watching over us.