Wednesday, 19 December 2012

RIP: Charles D'Souza

I just got news of one of my uncle's, Mr Charles D'Souza, passing away in Mangalore.  He was my Mummy's younger brother-in-law.  He was ill for quite a long time... perhaps years. The last two months were the worst.  His wife, Mummy's sister, took utmost care of him all along.  I just cannot imagine the strength and the patience of that strong lady who stood my him for so many years of pain and suffering.

An evening that we went along to the beach
during my last visit to Mangalore in 2008
I too grieve the death of this uncle of mine.  Of all those whom I know in Mangalore, he was the most affectionate and appreciative.  The last time I went to Mangalore was for Willy's (my brother's) marriage in 2008.  That time too he was his usual self: asking me questions about my vocation, about happiness, about love and family.

He was an auto driver by profession.  He stopped going to Church several years ago.  Instead he would dutifully drop his wife at Church and then proceed to some place where he would be of some help.  His greatest joy was to assist in the last rites of unclaimed dead bodies.  He would readily volunteer to retrieve any dead body anywhere (wells, rivers, sewage...) whatever be their state of decomposition!  He would then ensure that they get a decent burial.

Uncle Charlie (first from right)
during his visit to the Provincial house in 2008.
That's the last time I saw him.
Seated beside him is his wife, Baby Aunty.
He basically gave up on life some years ago.  The fact that along with his wife he could not be a parent was something he could not reconcile with. As his health deteriorated, also because he took up to drinking, he survived many a near death attacks.  So sick was he with medicines and hospitalization that he would get great strength to walk out of the hospital even when he could barely stand on his own feet!

He was not a practicing Catholic but none would  dare even think that he was not a good Catholic.  A very tender heart, and a perceptive mind.  I loved spending time with him and talking to him.  Though almost the age of my own Dad, he deeply respected me, solely because I was a Religious Brother and he knew that I was not messing around with my vocation - that was his great pride.

With his passing away, I realise one of my most strong links with Mangalore has snapped.  But one thing I'm sure, he is still smiling from above, as he always did - only this time there is no pain that he would need to hide. God bless you Uncle and THANKS for your valuable presence and meaning in my life and vocation.  You will ever be remembered! 

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