I was initially going to talk more about my grandmother Parminder’s background and story, such as growing up in India and moving to Canada, but I’ll tell you what she meant to me and my brother. Ever since I can remember, our grandma was basically our babysitter and caretaker. She would always be at home for us when our parents would be at work and the amount of care she showed us was endless.

It’s the small things that we are going to miss the most. She took us out to the park to play, she cut us fruits because we didn’t eat enough of them, she always reminded us to take the house key whenever we went out, she always gave us money when we wanted something, and she even watched basketball games with us, knowing when players like Kyle Lowry would be injured or not because she was always on top of the news. Me and my cousins would joke around and call her the “Godfather” because she was the oldest, the wisest, and everyone showed respect to her. I personally used to call her the nightly security guard because she would know exactly what time I came home, whether it was 10pm or 4 in the morning. Of course she would have to tell my mom the next day. We also used to say that the initials “BG” (Biji) stood for “Body Guard,” because she always had my younger brother Manveer’s back no matter what. She always treated him as the baby of the family and stopped people like my dad from teasing him about his work or his grades.

In June of 2016, my grandma was admitted to Credit Valley Hospital for almost 2 weeks. When I saw her weak and frail body at that time, I wanted nothing more than for her to regain her former strength. I am thankful and lucky that we got to spend another year with her since then, almost as if we were given a second chance. But it is known that all good things eventually come to an end. My parents took my grandma to the exact same hospital in the exact same wing in the morning of Sunday, June 25, and I treated it as another regular check-up on her health. I thought that she would be back later on in the day and everything would be okay. Many hours later, my parents still weren’t home so I quickly took my brother to visit them at the hospital in the evening. As soon as I saw my grandma laying there in a bed with a breathing mask on, it became hard for me to breathe. I tried to keep my cool and casually walked over to the washroom, before completely breaking down inside of it.

The following day was a complete nightmare. I saw my grandma in emergency care and she was basically unconscious, unable to open her eyes to see us or her mouth to speak to us. The very sight of her made me upset because no one should ever have to be in that position. All of her children and grandchildren came to visit her but she couldn’t recognize any of us or even say goodbye for the last time. It was all happening so fast and unexpectedly. Our entire family coming together at the hospital and being there with her in her final moments showed just how loved she was by everyone. Generally, our family acts tough on the outside but we’re actually all soft on the inside. Just shortly after 7pm on Monday, June 26, my grandma passed away peacefully and without any pain at the age of 81. We all wept together and I felt like a huge part of my life was instantly ripped apart from me. There were moments where I was more angry than upset, thinking to myself, “It isn’t fair.” I was literally just hanging out with my grandma a few days ago in the TV room. I was showing her Snapchats on my phone of my cousin Preet’s trip to France and she was telling me that the Eiffel Tower looks great.

I can honestly say that my grandma never yelled at anyone or scolded anyone. She was caring towards everyone and she always used to spread positivity. She was always telling us, “Khush raya karo, kathe raya karo,” or “Live happily and live together.” I will always uphold her values and remain happy and strong, because that’s what she would want. She was caring until the very end, as the last thing she said to me and my brother was “changi nokrian labioh,” or “make sure to find good jobs.” So I will make sure to fulfill her final wish and make her proud.

The head of our family is gone, and the soul of our home is gone. But her legacy lives on and I know that she is watching over us now. I miss my grandmother, I loved my grandmother, and I thank my grandmother for everything she ever did for us and for all of the sacrifices she made. She did a perfect job at raising me and my brother into the men that we have become and we will never forget her.

Cherish each and every moment with your loved ones because you’ll never know when their time will come.