Tribute to my brother-in-law, "A"

You know that saying, “my brother from another mother,” I finally get it. 


A couple weeks ago, my brother-in-law, "A", passed away due to his illness leaving both sides of the families devastated. Although we were fighting against all the odds, we all had so much hope that "A" would make it given his positive attitude and great will power. He had the will to survive and had so many reasons to live for. I can’t emphasize enough how much we prayed, people who had never met "A" were praying for him, but nothing worked, absolutely NOTHING!
california 322_thumb[1] World’s Best Banana Cake – baked for "A" Nov 2011


For the past couple weeks I've been trying to unravel all these questions in my head, particularly, why this happened to him.  He was a young, happy, and healthy person so full of life with so much energy.  He had a rare illness that turned up just a few months ago, one with no cure and very little treatment.  We all prayed for a miracle, but not even the best specialists in the country could save him.  No one could have saved him, except maybe God himself.  It's safe to say that my belief in God was shattered the day I lost my brother-in-law.  I am not sure why our prayers weren't answered, perhaps this was all part of God’s grand plan, or perhaps "A" was way too good for us and he went on to do bigger and better things in his afterlife.To Die For Blueberry Muffins – baked for "A" Aug 2010


I have such fond memories of my brother-in-law, "A" who I had known for the last 14 years.  The very first time I met him, he made me laugh at my expense.  From then on I was sold because I knew if he could make a sarcastic person as myself laugh, he would most definitely be able to make a much nicer & sweeter version of myself, my older sister, laugh.  Every time my brother-in-law and sister visited us from California, I’d cancel all my plans to spend the next couple weekends with them.  Weeks before they would arrive, I would send them both an email with the subject titled, “Desserts.”  I’d ask them to suggest a few desserts for me to bake prior to their arrival and it was always "A" who would respond back asking me to make x, y, and z.  I loved baking for them and now in hindsight, I'm so glad I did.  At night when everyone in the family would go to sleep, my brother-in-law, sister, and I would stay up, talk, and enjoy a cup of tea along with my baked homemade goods.  He would then rave about how amazing my desserts tasted, while I would sit there and gloat as my sister rolled her eyes at me.  Those are the moments I will cherish forever.  [red%2520velvet%2520cake%2520114%255B3%255D.jpg]Southern Red Velvet Cake (his favorite) – baked for "A" Dec 2011


My brother-in-law, "A", was such a fun and giving person.  He would burn Indian DVDs for my family in New Jersey, and then we would all fight over who borrows which movie.  He loved to dance and had the craziest dance moves.  Although I was completely wasted at my reception, I clearly remember him getting on the floor and spinning on his back.  He knew how to live life and embrace every moment.  He was a computer genius, and I believe someone at the funeral actually referred to him as the “human CNET.”  That was the only time I smiled on that somber day.  He knew everything about electronic gadgets, the pros and cons on every item, and he even helped me pick out my “hot pink” camera.  xmas 073Beatty’s Chocolate Cake… Best Chocolate Cake – baked for "A" Dec 2010


Yes, "A" had a lot of great qualities, but perhaps his most endearing quality was his ability to get people to open up.  He made me feel comfortable enough to share my darkest secrets with him, and in addition to great advice, he gave me the confidence to choose the road less traveled and reminded me that no matter what, I will be okay.  I’ll always remember his advice.  He left a mark on every single person who met him.  And the absolute best thing about him was his everlasting love for my sister.  Many people experience love in their lifetime, but “true love” happens only to a few lucky ones, and that’s what they had – True Love.  Their love was magic!  I idolized them as a couple.  As a family we all made fun of them because it was so hard to find credible that a “married” couple could always be that nice and giving with one another, but it wasn't an act, it was all real.  This tragic ending could not have happened to two nicer people, but isn't it is always the greatest love stories that have the most tragic endings?  I'd like to believe the love never fades, but rather lives on forever.california 285_thumb[1]Red Velvet Bundt Cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes in CA. (one of our favorite pickup desserts)


Mark Twain once said, “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”  Interestingly enough about a month ago, I sat down with my brother-in-law and had a talk with him at a more philosophical level.  With everything going on, I asked him what he thought his purpose in life was.  He responded, “maybe the purpose of my life is to make sure my wife and kids are taken care of and my parents are taken care of.  I know they will all be okay if I’m not around.”  In my head I was thinking, there has to be more, what about the most basic right every parent should have - watching your kids grow up?  Why wasn't that an option for him?  Why do some people live such long and fulfilled lives whereas other lives are truncated?  He accomplished so much in such little time at both a personal and professional level, but unfortunately his life wasn't long enough for us to see how far his excellence would have taken him.  That being said, I do believe wherever he is, he now fully understands what his purpose here on earth was.  california 187[3]Cointreau Walnut Brownies (devoured within hours) – baked for "A" Nov 2011


Life is too short.  I realize this now more than ever.  So many times we put our lives on hold for this or that or fear or the time isn't right, but NO MORE!!!  Watching someone you love endure so much pain to merely survive has forever changed the way I perceive life.  Through all of his pain and suffering, he still managed to say things like, "thank you," "please," "I'm so blessed," "I've lived a good life," because that's just the type of person he was.  Despite his rapidly deteriorating health, I will never forget how incredibly grateful he was towards the end of his life which left the rest of us feeling humbled.  It makes you think twice before complaining about petty things, such as, "rainy days" and "train delays."
photo (3)Hummingbird Cake (full fat)… this was the last cake I ever baked for "A" (and he loved it) - Sept 2012 


Death is an inevitable part of life, a harsh reality that makes you question your own mortality.  It makes you question your own purpose in life.  Are you on the right path?  How could you live your life differently?  What would you do different if you were only given 5 more years to live?  I guarantee "most" of us would make immediate changes, but fear generally gets the best of us.  The sooner we can all realize that life can change in the blink of an eye, the sooner we can all learn to live in the moment, and live our life in a way it was intended to be lived, one with purpose and one with love.  For now, do things that make you happy, love, give back, figure out your purpose, and enjoy the journey because the show must go on, I know "A" would not have wanted it any other way.
Ocean City, NJ - despite all the places he traveled around the world, "A's" favorite family vacation was the OC!


Dear "A",
Wherever you are, I know you are in a much better place looking down at your wife and kids.  As the darkness begins to unfold at some point  I know it will be you leading the way for them into the light.  Although you are no longer physically with us, you will forever remain in our hearts and your spirit will always be felt.  Thank you for coming into our lives and enriching all of us.  You were an amazing person that showed us all how to live life to the fullest and give back to others.  Your list of accomplishments inspire me to settle for nothing less but the best, and I’m sure you influenced many others along the way.  You will always be remembered for your crazy dance moves and your contagious smile.  I’ll always think of you when I bite into an Animal Style Grilled Cheese In-n-Out Burger while sipping your favorite drink - Strawberry Milkshake.  If heaven is anything like I would imagine it to be, I'm sure you have access to plenty of In-n-Out burgers, amazing cupcakes, and delicious martinis!  You were God sent, taken away from us way before your time was up, our angel in heaven!  If I had to do it all over again, I would still pick you to be my brother-in-law, or rather, my brother from another mother!  
Love,
Honey & family!
photo
Animal Style Grilled Cheese Burger from In-n-Out Burger (our favorite fast-food joint in CA)


38 comments:

  1. Gosh Nisha, I don't have any words to say. This was such a fantastic tribute and A sounds like a wonderful human being. I'm sorry it didn't end the way you wanted to be but at times like these, all we can do is cherish the memories....which you are! I am sure you are being a pillar of strength to your sister but if you ever need to let it out/get your mind off things, I'm just an email away :)!

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  2. Dear Nisha,

    This is the first time I am writing on your blog- but the above words went right to my heart. Your brother in law sounds like a wonderful man and I can see why you and your family love him so much! My deepest condolences to you and your family. Take care..

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  3. Your memories, experiences and love will keep him alive forever my friend, my deepest condolences for you and your family. If you ever need support, we are all right here for you

    Hugs and love
    Uru

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  4. Nisha, I'm so sorry for your loss. Your family is in my thoughts. Your brother-in-law sounds like he was an amazing person and I have no doubt that he is watching over all of you, making sure you are ok. Please know that I am here for you if you need anything - just an email away.

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  5. @Khushboo - thank you! Life doesn't turn out the way you had hoped, but what we are left is memories, you are right. I will most certainly cherish them. :)

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  6. @Sejal - thank you. Indeed he was a great man, and so easy to love. Much appreciated.

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  7. @Guru Uru - thank you. Loved your words.. the memories, experiences, and love will keep him alive. Beautifully said. :)

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  8. @Parita - thank you, P. He was an amazing person, and I really hope he is watching over my sister and the kids, especially. Thank you! :)

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  9. What a beautiful and creative tribute to your brother-in-law and friend. I wish you peace.

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  10. "A" was an amazing person...I can tell how much you loved him! I'm so sorry that this happened to your family Nisha. Life is just so unfair sometimes.

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  11. Nisha,
    We had the pleasure of meeting "A" at several b'day parties and play dates. He certainly lived life to the fullest, enjoying every moment of it, always full of enthusiasm and happiness. He challenged the adults to games and the adults would end having more fun than the kids. "A" and "M" were absolutely the nicest couple always going out of their way to help others.

    I have questioned god's will many times in the past 2 weeks and asked why god didn't answer prayers. Your message was calming to read that "A" had a higher purpose. May he always look down on his wife and kids and guide them at all times.

    A beautiful tribute to a wonderful person.

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  12. What a beautifully written post! You really have a wonderful way of expressing yourself.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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  13. I'm so sorry to hear about A. It seems that y'all were kindred spirits. You expressed so much love in this post and via your wonderfully baked homemade yummies...really, is there a better way to express love than making something especially for that person? You were a true friend and are an example what real family is all about.

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  14. @Ameena - it sure is. Still doesn't feel real. It really sucks for everyone!

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  15. @Shobana - thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you had a chance to meet him. He was the life at every party and totally knew how to PARTAY! :) Thanks. I hope he is looking out for M and the kids as well. Thanks Shobana.

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  16. @Bonnie - thank you. He was a great person so it was easy to express myself and write.

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  17. @Squishy Monster - thank you. We are a pretty close knit family and we all tend to show our love through food. Can't think of another better way. :)

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  18. Wow, I am really sorry for your lost. I am sure he knew you where a great sister in law and that he was really grateful to have you in his life.

    What a great tribute to him. I am sure he is watching you and thanking you in his own way.

    You are very very right, life is too short to waste it. That is something that I always keep reminding myself. We are vulnerable in many ways and keeping focused to what really is important in life has helped me go of many stresses in my life.

    Family, friends and being healthy are of most importance. Everything else is secondary...

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  19. Hi Nisha, sorry to hear about your lost.

    I knew how you feel. I had two immediate family members passed away not long ago so I can totally relate. It is hard to accept that they are gone now, but the pain will ease with time. Their memories will stay as long as you remember them.

    Stay strong and my condolences to you and your families..

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  20. very sorry to hear about your unbearable loss..
    may his soul RIP and almightly give you n your family courage & support to overcome this loss..!
    Tasty Appetite

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  21. @eatgood4life - thank you for your kind words. Life really is so short, it's important to remind oneself every single day. So important to do things that make you happy every single day. Yup, health, family, and friends always come first!
    well said!

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  22. little daisy - Yes, it is hard to accept the loss, especially when someone is so young. I hope time will heal all, but we'll definitely keep him alive with our memories of him. Thank you so much.

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  23. @Jay - thank you. Really appreciate it.

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  24. I am so sorry for your loss. Life is too short, this tribute really made me think and put things in perspective. Often, we get caught up with small things in life while life just passes us by. My condolences to your family. May God give your family strength to bear this loss.

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  25. Dear Honey,

    My deepest condolences to you and your family.

    I pray for A to be happy in heaven.

    Be strong.

    Love

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  26. Thank you for sharing the beautiful tribute with us. I had tears in my eyes reading it. Life is indeed too short. Take care!

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  27. I am very sorry for your loss, but thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute. Clearly he inspired many amazing memories and delicious kitchen creations.

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  28. @Anonymous - thank you. Yes, it's important to not reflect on those silly things in life and let life pass you by, so important to live in the moment.

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  29. @Bianca - you and I both, thank you.

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  30. @Jen - didn't think of it that way - "kitchen creations," but yes. You are right. Thank you.

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  31. Hi Nisha,

    Beautiful words in memory of your brother in law. I didn’t have a chance to meet him, but your fond memories reflect what a wonderful husband and father he was. It is rare to find people who are so admired and loved by everyone in the family.

    I hope that you and your family find peace and comfort in the days ahead.

    Vrushali

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  32. I'm so happy to see the outpouring of love for A and you. From the small amounts of time I've seen A he had such a vibrant beautiful spirit. His legacy and his amazing memories will continue to live forever. JC

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  33. Nisha -- I am so so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and the family during this trying times. xo

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  34. @Vrushali - thank you so much for your thoughtful words. Yes indeed, he was a wonderful husband and father, and it is rare to find people who are so loved by "everyone" in the family, especially when they are "in-laws." Thank you.

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  35. @JC - thank you. He was a vibrant person, very full of life, sort of like you. :) Yes, his legacy will continue to live forever, and in our hearts. Thanks!

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  36. @Kiran - thanks.. appreciate the sentiment.

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  37. I am so sorry for your loss Honey and from reading this post i could tell what a great person your brother in law was. From all the ups and downs I have seen in my life so far, I always feel like life is very unfair and unfortunate things happen to good people. They are always taken away, in loss or sick and i wish i knew why this was the case. I have no answer and I always tell myself that the maybe God has better plan for our loved ones and that I am sure A is in much better place watching over his kids, and wife and his family.

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  38. @Dixya - thank you so much. My brother-in-law was a wonderful person and so full of life. Yup, you're right, life is not fair, and bad things happen to good people more often than not. Hope you are right. :) on Tribute to my brother-in-law, "A"

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