(Narrated by the daughter in law) “Sometimes, it takes us a minute to appreciate the greatness of those we surround ourselves with. Especially, if it’s as close as family, I guess it’s only the crucial milestones that trigger in us a deep sense of respect, looking back at all the things the person’s been through.
Now, on a similar note, I couldn’t help but reminisce about my father-in-law’s sense of commitment towards the family, two days ago as he turned 65. He’s had a rollercoaster of a journey with some thrilling ups and some equally gut-wrenching downfalls, but none of it has ever been able to rock his foundation, especially in terms of the love he has for his second son.
Hailing from a small town near Ambasamudram, I’m told life paced gradually for him until the birth of, my brother-in-law, his second child, Mr Balakumar. With complications in the pregnancy, he was soon diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and life immediately took a sharp turn for both the parents. But unlike many families that send their special children away to live in charitable homes, my father-in-law was particular about never eliminating or even remotely discriminating between his children
And this decision made even more sense to me, now, after becoming a mother myself. I was able to understand all the turbulences and tides he would’ve probably had to stand up against- be it societal outlook, acceptance, or just being questioned for his choices at every juncture.
Now, besides his past, my admiration for him grew multifold after witnessing how meticulously he dedicated his life for the well-being of his son, post his wife’s unexpected demise. Having lost her to a car accident in 2012, the man picked himself up almost immediately and has been learning ever since, to fully take care of the household, independently – all in his late fifties!
And this was both during my time there with him in Chennai, and even after my husband’s shift to the US for work. Today, all the sacrifices have navigated us into a happy family of five, living on two distinct sides of the world yet always connected and looking out for each other! Even through phases like the 2020 pandemic, these three men have beautifully made it work, setting an example for other households with special children. In the end, I guess all it takes is acceptance, and life can be beautiful regardless of the times!”