Dad, Your Funeral Was Sold-Out

On behalf of my sister, my wonderful mother and the entire family, I would like to thank you all for coming today from the bottom of our hearts. I know this isn’t easy for any of us. We all loved Dad very much. Each one of us, his family and friends, and even his new acquaintances, Dad made us all feel special, unique and like they were his new best friend. You loved his spirit, you loved his charm, you loved his sense of humor and his love for life. If you only just met my father, you loved his smile, you loved his wit, you damn sure loved his style, and you fell in love with the man.

          I learned a lot from my Dad. In some cases, too much, in some, not enough. Dad was a kind, patient and very generous man. He believed that in doing for others, your return would be tenfold. He lived to help others and accomplish what they wanted to do in life. It was his mission to see others succeed in ways that he did, and in ways that he didn’t. He wanted you to be the best you could be, he wanted to help you get there, and he wanted to celebrate with you at the finish line. Today, he reached his finish line, today he won the race, and we are here to celebrate him!!

Most of you know, Dad was not healthy when he left us. Wait, I’m wrong, I shouldn’t have said that. Dad’s body was not healthy, when God called his soul home. The body, is your vessel. It’s our temporary home. My father’s mind, his heart, his atma, his will and his strength, were never damaged in the storm he faced. Doctors told Dad his body wasn’t well over three years ago. His physical body went through a lot during the struggle. There were challenges, tough times and long nights. But there was always the resiliency, the courage and the kind of bravery that made my father a superhero to his grandchildren and to all of us.

In this moment, today, when we are feeling so much of the pain from missing our friend, our Jijaji, our Mama, our Kaka and our beloved Bharatbhai, I think it’s very important for us as a family, as friends and as a community to remember the bigger picture about life. I think about my Vikumama talking about our ‘atma’, or souls, finding peace. This is important. I find a great deal of solace and comfort in knowing my father is finally at peace. His soul is home.

Today, I’m actually using my father’s own words to help me cope with how much I will miss him. I had someone very special to me experience this exact kind of loss. And Dad explained to her, ‘Look, there are different kinds of people in this world, bad, good, great. And some people, they are just so good in life, they are so special to everyone, that God needs them back. He makes the best ones angels. The best ones, go back to God.  Today the very, very best one, has gotten to go back.

Another dear friend of mine shared with me:

There is beauty in the fact that his spirit is now soaring freely, that he is all at once everywhere, adding his strength and soul to the great infinite measures of all that exists. Take comfort in knowing that he is with you always.

Wow. He is all at once everywhere. I can still feel him. I can still hear him. And every day when I look in the mirror, I will still see him. When I look at his beautiful grandbabies grow up, I will still see him. When I look at my sister and my mother, I will see him. And when I see all of you, the friends that he loved so much, I will still see him.

My dad was my best friend. He was my confidant, my guidance, my buddy and he was my partner in crime. We did everything together and we talked about everything together. During the last two years of my father’s life, we became extremely close. When he got sick, I was fortunate enough to be able to provide care for him. I drove him to doctor visits, to treatment and to follow up visits. We would spend countless hours talking about everything, and you guys know how much my dad loved to talk. We talked about life, about the world, and we talked about people. He loved people. He loved all of you. He loved his family so much, I mean, you guys were everything to him. And what is so beautiful about this man, is how fondly he remembered so many of you in his special way. My father was one of the smartest, wisest and most intricate people I will ever know. I really do believe he knew his time with us was not going to be as long as we wanted. You see what we want, is not always God’s plan, and Dad had found peace with that. He talked about the love and deep appreciation he had for his family, even if he didn’t always remind them. He loved that we are so strong,  we are so tight and we are so loyal. He loved that it didn’t matter if you were Jadeja or Jethwa, Gohil or Chudasama, Jhala or Rathod, we were united in life, in blood and in heritage (but, that Jadeja’s were always #1)!! He loved that the distance between India, Africa, England, Canada, California, Georgia and North Carolina was not even a mile long when measured by our love.

He also knew how much we unconditionally loved him. We supported him, we nurtured him and we took care of him. In his last few days, Dad would share with me the kind of things, I will carry for the rest of my life. His life lessons, his wise observations, and his infinite conclusions. I can share that he loved his brothers. Babu and Babulinkaka were his heroes. There wasn’t an hour in a day, I didn’t hear one of these names my entire life and they are my heroes too. The same goes for my brothers and sisters there with Vishal and Rupal and with Sonal, Jijaji , Bhoomi and Devi down in North Myrtle Beach.. Take comfort, in knowing that after all these years, he is finally wrapping his arms around Prabath.

He absolutely idolized my Mom’s siblings. Renumasi, Vipulmama and Vijumama were nothing short of rockstars to him. I enjoyed some great drama growing up, but the amount of admiration, love and respect he had for you three, I can’t even put into words. And the joy and fun he had whenever Ali and her husband Taylor, Munni or Jasmine and Jaymin would visit, was the best. He loved to laugh and joke with you guys so much.

But when it comes to respect and love, nothing comes close to what my Mummy meant to my Dad. Mummy, you were the missing puzzle piece to anything my dad didn’t have in life. You gave him love, support and more than anything, you gave him your heart. And he cherished you more than anyone, every single one of us does.

Meera……you are the single, greatest accomplishment in the life of Bharat D. jadeja. There was nothing in this world that made him prouder than you. You were the apple of his eye, his platinum record, his Oscar, his crown jewel. You were his beautiful daughter that he would call on the phone all day long and he loved doting on you since you were born. Honestly, in his eyes, there was no one above you….until you had babies. When those babies got here, the priorities in that man’s existence changed forever. I talked about so many of you having different relationships with my dad, he was a business man, an accountant, a motel mogul, a franchise owner, a deal-maker, a religious volunteer…he was your best friend, your drinking buddy, a card shark, a jokester, but all of that changed the second he became a grandfather. A new man was born that day. The special, unique love he had for Myles and Mikey is what I will remember most about my father. The sun only shines if the babies are smiling, he would say. The bond the children shared with their Nana was amazing. They felt his love, his pride and his protection. I will honor him by watching and help raising these beautiful babies grow into the examples of men he would have been proud of.  And Michael, you just became an instant classic. When he found you he found his new favorite. Hell, he liked you better than me. When you married my sister, you became the master of his ceremonies, you became his athletic director, and you became the president of his United States. He cherished what you did for our family, he held you in such high regard and respected your word and opinion on matters in life, the world and in family. You were his son and I want to thank you for the relationship you gave my father, he loved you tremendously.

To know my father is to also know what made him the man he was. To understand why my father had the heart, love and passion he had for life, family and God is to also understand the reason. And the reason is you Mom. Mom, you were his soul. You were his morning, noon and night. Everyone in this room, in our community, in this city and this world knows the love you both had for each other. You were his foundation, his comfort and his home. You lifted him up when he was down, you celebrated beside him in success and you extended his life beyond sickness. We all know what you meant to each other and we all know the care you provided Mom and I love you for it, we all do. I often think about what life will be like now, how I’ll spend my time in this new void and emptiness, and I realize there won’t be a void or emptiness. I’m going to take care of you Mom!! I’m going to love, and hold you and protect you and I don’t want you to ever worry about anything!! I want you to know that you are not alone, you will never be alone and this whole community is surrounding you with so much love and warmth that you will never feel the cold. We will somehow move forward and we will continue to honor Dad, but you will never do it alone. We are so lucky to have each other Mom. I am so lucky to have you! You saved his life, you saved my life and now I hope you let us all save yours. He knew how you prayed for him, he knew how scared you were for him and he knew the only reason he was with us that long, was because of you. He told me again and again in the past couple months that you were his life line. Taking care of you Mom, is something he and I talked about daily. We’re lifting Dad up, we’re not losing him. Our rock may be gone, however we gained a protector. And we have grandbabies to raise. We have 2 beautiful creatures at home and we will remind them every day how much Nana played with them, held them and loved them. Don’t worry now, tomorrow or the next day Mom. This family, this community and God will help lead us through this struggle, with me holding your hand.

I am filled with pure joy as I look around this room and see all of your faces. Dad would have been too. Dad, your funeral was sold out. They’re packed wall to wall in here, all the way to the back, and they’re all here to see you and say thank you. They’re here to thank you for the memories, the laughs and good times. They’re here to thank you for the smiles, wisdom and love. They’re here for you.

I love you Dad. Nothing will ever replace you in this world and nothing will come close. The impact you made on people and lives will live on longer than any of us. The impact you made on mine will be for eternity. I love you and I want to thank you for being my father and thank you for letting me be your son.

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