Life is short and continues to work in mysterious ways. Jaswant Singh Sarai, my uncle, my fuffad ji, my friend, was a great man who always had a tale to tell, no matter what the occasion was. He was someone who managed to live out all of his dreams here in Canada. He left India when he was only a teenager, successfully raised a family, and worked hard in the same factory for 45 years straight. He had just retired last year and was finally able to relax in peace but unfortunately, destiny had other plans for him.

To tell you the truth, I was terrified of my uncle when I was a kid. As I grew older, I talked to him much more often and viewed him as a kind-hearted and gentle soul. I’m going to miss the long conversations that we used to have. Just this past August, I stopped by his house alone and we had a 3-hour conversation about life at his dinner table. I could never have imagined that it would be our last discussion because I was looking forward to the next one.

I’ll never forget the first and only time when we went on a vacation together to Cuba in 2015. There was a specific moment when we both had drinks in our hands and we were overlooking the Atlantic Ocean together, talking about how beautiful this world is and how much there is to see out there.

This has been the 4th death in my family tree within the last 4 years, as my grandmother (my dadi ji), grandfather (my nana ji), and another uncle (my mama ji) have also departed this world suddenly and unexpectedly. These experiences have really made me rethink the meaning of life and what my priorities are. Don’t take your life for granted, and don’t save all of your hopes, goals, and plans for retirement. Remember to live in the moment and make each second count. Cherish your family because one morning, you could be waking up in a world without them.

Ever since I can remember from early childhood, our families would always get together on December 31st, New Year’s Eve, to ring in the new year and simultaneously celebrate my birthday at midnight. When I turned 28 last week, I felt empty without my uncle’s presence and his unique words of wisdom for the year ahead. This isn’t his end though, as his memory will continue to live on as long as his family is here to remember him and honour his legacy in the years to come.