My dear Harpreet, or Harry as we prefer to call you, there are so many things I never got to say to you. I hope you knew some of these in your heart because otherwise I’m left with much regret. I had just planned a trip to come visit you in India but sadly it is too late since you were taken too soon. I don’t understand how this happened. You may have been my cousin by blood but you were my mom’s god-daughter and my little sister. I spent more quality time with you than any other cousin and we shared so much through many stages of our lives. I have a deep bond with each of your four sisters but you shared so many experiences with me that it made us even closer.
On my early visits to India I remember you as the cute little girl with the twinkling eyes and skinny legs that hurt me when you sat on my lap during cramped car rides to fun places. Then your first trip to visit me was for medical reasons as you were diagnosed with a rare illness. You had to endure hospital stays and 2 surgeries. Though you were barely older than my older son is now, you showed strength and patience that I could not imagine from him or any other adolescent. Those were not ideal times but you stayed with us for a while and we got close. You got to know our lives and friends and everyone adored you. When you left you were healthier and stronger and had made your mark on our lives forever.
Your second visit was definitely under more pleasant circumstances and we were both in our twenties and got to have fun. I remember going out with you for a new year’s eve party in NYC and having a great time. We curled your hair but your silky locks would not stay. You looked so beautiful with your flawless skin and winning smile. Guys were asking you to dance and though I was proud, I hovered around you like a bodyguard. It was such a great time. On that trip and on my visits to you, we would chat for hours into the night. You listened to me through my heartbreak and all other silly problems of life while rarely complaining of anything yourself. As we got closer you let me in and I got a glimpse of your dreams and ambitions too. You were everyone’s sweetheart but had a very strong mind and character as well which I truly admired.
Your last visit to the U.S. was great for me since you stayed with me and my family for months. My kids were young then but adored their Harru massi and took full advantage of your attention. You became a complete part of my life as we spent our days and nights together. Each day you wanted to try new foods and see new things. I loved your adventurous spirit. We then enjoyed planning and participating in our brother’s wedding events and traveling to California for it. It amused me how your sweet sense of persuasion got a group of hesitant elder family members to join you on a roller coaster at Magic Kingdom. No one could deny you and not because you were a brat or out of guilt but because you were so loving and kind.
You gave me strength when I was around you because you never complained about the limitations that your illness caused. You were even supportive of me with my minor health issues and lifestyle. Always giving me advice and comparing me to your sisters, you made me feel closer to all of them. Thank you for all of that my dear. There were many things you did not get to have in your short life but your positive attitude and grace was remarkable. You were loved by so many and you will be in our hearts forever. I’m glad my husband and boys got to know and love you too. I still hear your cheery voice in my mind. ‘Hellloo Reena!’ Well I never got to say goodbye, Harry……but I guess we weren’t meant to. Instead I’ll just say, ‘Til later Harry’. I love you and will miss you til then….