The population of Standard Road has dropped by two in one week. Today Mrs. Dhanraj passed away at age 90. (Last week it was Balliram.) I don’t know her first name as we often referred to her as her children’s mother e.g. “Sandra mother” or “Asha mother”. (We were not grammatically correct to use the possessive apostrophe s in the names.) The adults called her “Dhanraj wife”. (They cared less about grammar.) But no matter how she was called, we all knew it was the kind, jolly, hardworking woman who was as strong as the cattle she raised. Tanty planted rice and grew vegetables and was simply a woman to be admired. There was not “one lazy bone in her body” as the saying goes.
Tanty’s middle daughters (Maune, Sandra, Baby, Molly, and Asha) were of similar ages as the older girls in our family (my sisters don’t like to be named) and together with Cinty and Seeta, we spent many delightful hours liming and laughing. (Liming means hanging out.) It was a good life.
Tanty raised all of her children to be respectful. She had five sons and not once were they ever disrespectful to the girls in our family. They never said a crude joke in our presence. I remember the siblings being happy. They got along with each other and celebrated often, a tightly knit family to this day. They were fun indeed. Tanty would often interject her sentences with a mild swear that brought on giggles because her way of speaking made the most mundane topic interesting.
Tanty’s yard was a big one. Around her house were flat green vegetation, which made her property appear more expansive, and relaxed. Tanty’s religion was Hinduism, yet when the pastor of our church wanted a spot to hold open-air meetings in the village, Tanty graciously gave permission to use her place. Many nights of praising God, film, and sharing the salvation obtained through Jesus Christ were spent on her premises. I believe that Tanty gave her life to Christ at those meetings.
Those who know them would agree when I say that I think the Dhanraj gene carries an extra chromosome of beauty. Tanty’s children were attractive and handsome. I believe she had 14 children so there were many celebrations to which we were invited. Notable were the weddings. Friday’s saffron, Saturday’s farewell, Sunday’s wedding, and Wednesday’s return of the bride, which, invited or not, we were bent on seeing our buddies when they returned mid-week as was the tradition under Hindu rites. We grew to also love Tanty’s daughters-in-law as our friends.
Soon there were the grandchildren that widened the circle of beauty and joy. After years of not seeing them, I was able to make friends with Kimberly, Kelly Ann, Navita and Indira on Facebook, as well as with Usha, Tanty’s daughter who is younger than me. They were kids when I left but I grew to knew them now as women with families of their own.
Tanty lived a good life but she had sorrow too. The most grievous thing a parent can do is to bury their child. She buried three of her daughters. I hadn’t known of the two older girls’ passings, but I knew of Asha’s back in 2017. Asha and I were classmates as well, and I wrote a tribute to here which can be found by clicking on the link: https://www.susanharris.ca/remembering-asha/
On my trip to Trinidad in 2018, I longed to visit the Dhanraj girls in the village. I couldn’t as I had no transport to get there. But I have words for my young friends and their beautiful families on the loss of their nanny. She lived long, just as the Bible says with long life God satisfies those who love Him. Nanny had the privilege to see not only her grandchildren but great grands as well. Living next door to Nanny makes the void even greater, the visual is always there. But nature shows us that voids do to remain void for long. Take, for example, a hole dug in the ground. It fills with rain water, or dirt caves in and fill it. Leaves falls from the trees into it, and the void begins to be a source for life. I pray tonight that the void left by the passing of Mamee as her daughters call her, and Nanny and Ajee as the grandkids call her, will be filled with the warm presence of the Living God.
I saw on Facebook that Kimmy had written that 46 years ago on this day Mr. Dhanraj passed away. That’s quite the thing that husband and wife would pass away on the same day decades apart. Truly the ribbon of spiritual connection weaves in signature-like fashion, and knowing what I know of death through my visits to Eternity, I believe there is significance to this. God sure knows what He is doing.
I pray that Dolly, Sandra, Shiann, Molly, Shamella, Usha, Shawn, Sookdeo, Persad, Deodath and Russell will take comfort in knowing that they were privileged to have their mother for nine decades, and that one day through faith in Jesus Christ, they may be able to reunite with each other. Your tears and grief are sacred testaments.
To Kimberly, Kelly Ann, Navita, Lisa, Mukesh, Barry, Indira, Sabita, Anjanee, Tracy Ann, Stacy Ann and Shelly Ann and many more grands who I don’t know, may you know that God is only a whisper away. He has placed people to comfort you and He will be your sustenance when there is no one around. You are never alone.
May God hold the neighbours, relatives and friends dear as you close the earthly chapter of Mrs. Dhanraj. 1930-2021
I think of you, my lovely friends. Though far away you will be on my heart for a long time.
For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16.