February 7, 1943- June 17, 2017
Christened Dalip Khadaroo, my cousin was best known by his nickname, Chaser. To us and the Putkoo children, “brother” was added, and colloquially the names morphed into Chaser Brother. This affectionate title was derived from his younger sister, Roselyn, who called him Brother, and since she was our hero(ine) growing up, all the cousins followed her lead.
Chaser Brother chased life, and finally found it in Jesus, and today he gazes into the face of the One who also calls him Brother, for both he and Jesus have the same Father – God. And to the church, his name was transposed as is customary in churches in Trinidad, to Brother Chaser.
Even before he came to Christ, Chaser Brother was respectful and kind to us younger cousins. He was an adult when I was a kid, and I can say honestly I never heard him direct a harsh word towards us. They lived mid way down the hill when I was growing up, but later moved to the top of the hill. We’d often stop in at their houses to lime with the girls there. His wife, Aunty Molly, was fondly called Bhaujii (pronounced bough-jee), a word from the Hindi language. Family relations are specific to the speaker in the Hindi language, and Roselyn correctly called Aunty Molly “Bhaujii” which is used of the elder brother’s wife, and copiously, we too (incorrectly) called her that. Bhaujii’s youngest sister was my sister’s friend at school, so whenever Shawn visited Chaser Brother’s house, we went over more frequently. And as is customary in the hospitable way of living, we were fed with Bhaujii’s good cooking. Few surpassed them in the culinary department.
Chaser Brother was a skilled carpenter, a natural at wood work and construction. He remained slim and tall throughout his life, passing on good looks to the offspring. It’s over twenty years since I left, and therefore have not seen him, but I have so many memories. One that stands out was when I was pregnant and craving good ol’ Trinidad-style soup. We brainstormed all the cooks and the request for my soup went to Chaser Brother and Bhaujii’s house, with the warning that there must be no pepper in the soup. I drooled while I waited. When the food arrived and was set before me, the smell was out-of this world, that divine aroma of hot congo pepper that I feel certain must run in the genes of the Khadaroos by now. The taste verified this, to my sisters’ delight, as they feasted on the fare. A second request to prepare soup with NO PEPPER was issued. Bhaujii was appalled when the reason was explained because they “had not put any pepper in the soup”. The next day a bowl of the most delicious soup arrived for me, with the message no one in Chaser Brother’s house could eat the tasteless food that Susie wanted. That was the last time I had such good soup.
Aunty Molly, Bhaujii, I hope you will carry on making soup. Like Pat Schwiebert’s character Grandy in Tear Soup, may you blend the memories of your life with your husband as seasonings to carry on, the good times and the bad times, the silly times and the sad times, the praying times together. May you never forget even one precious memory of the 56 years you shared together. May Jesus be your joy and hope, for in these you will find strength.
Roselyn, dear cousin, like the waves that crash on the shores of the Atlantic that separates me from you all, so too the turbulence of the loss of this beloved older brother bounce in your heart. Your soft heart for the lonely, the abandoned, the forsaken, people and animals alike, which propels you to adopt, take in, care for. Mourn your loss, and during the mourning, hold on to the hope that joy will come in the morning. For you know Jesus in an intimate way.
Kenny (and Jenny), Geeta and husband, Rollie (and Penny), Wayne (and Renuka), Shirley (and husband), Anil (and wife), Dave (and wife), Sherry (and husband), in this twist of becoming fatherless on Father’s Day, may you feel the everlasting arms of Father God carrying you. When you look back and wonder how life went on when you could not go on, may you see the footprints on the sand, and know that the One with print in His hands protects you. I know all of you have attended church and invited Jesus into your hearts, and this turning point today, this dying which cannot defy true living, is where you pick up the baton to ensure the legacy of your father is there for the next generation. Go on and grieve, for you grieve because you love, but know that your grief will find a resting place because of whom you believe.
The next generation, Chaser Brother’s grandchildren, the ones he loved so dearly – Shirlini, Tracy, Shain, Kerry, Kalisa, Karina, Lilyanna, Aliyah, Anil, Sry Annily, Ravi. You are third-generation Christians and called to show the grace of your legacy on the platforms your Papa could not share. You are educated and this made him so-o-o-o proud. You hold prestigious jobs. You live in luxury that he did not have access to. I urge you to be good stewards of what the Lord has blessed you with, so that when you too shall behold glory, you would hear Well done. In spite of your sorrow you can do it.
The sweet little great grandchildren, Shivana, Shaylee and Ayan are too young to understand, but will point to pictures and look among the adults for their Papa. Seat them on chairs and tell them the story of Jesus and the mansion in the sky where Papa waits for them. Put Heaven in their hearts from young.
Putkoo family, Rosa, Vikash, Cintra and kids, Sumatee, Ramdass and family, Teddy, Balliram, Steve, Sunil. My family in Trinidad. Kenny & Jenny. You/we are the ones who lived in closest proximity to Chaser Brother, and especially for those of you who still live there, your sorrow is deeper. Each time you glance at the house on the hill top your eyes will well, and your hearts will swell and you will go back in time. But even while you do, may there rise up a ray that will signal a new day. All of us abroad join you in prayers and tears to say farewell to the clay that we, too, will surrender in due time. We will not forget you in the aftermath. I will not forget.
And so as it written that is appointed unto man once to die but after death comes the judgement, Brother Chaser has died. Now he is in heaven awaiting his crowns, and waiting for you. Don’t harden those hearts that are now tender because of the sobering reality of death, but determine to change and live for eternity so that you will reunite with him.
May everyone who is impacted by this loss by the loss of Chaser Brother be comforted with the knowledge that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And may the blessings and peace of God eternal fill your hearts and minds until the coming of Jesus Christ.