Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

06 Jul 2004, 19:56 p.m.

My grandmother has died. She was 85 years old…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2004 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

My grandmother has died. She was 85 years old and died of old age, basically, and was in pain for some time before her death. I did not know her very well (she spoke only Kannada, which I have never spoken well), but she was my father's mother and my last surviving grandparent, and now I feel a little less moored in the world.

My grandmother stayed with my family just after we had moved to California, to an ugly box house in the grungier suburbs of north Stockton. I remember that the day we arrived, my parents left with my sister to register her for school. I didn't know where they were going or when they would be back, and I broke into tears and my grandmother hugged and comforted me in her lap. She smoothed my hair and said reassuring things in her language, and helped me not feel so bad.

That was a tough time for my family - close quarters, a harsh landlord, a new state, worse schools, and of course having to take care of my grandmother. Almost all my memories from that year are bad. But I remember that Ajji was patient and kind. She helped cure my pain, and now her pain has ended, and for that I am grateful.