How old are your children?" He replied, "They are all grown-up. They came to this country and got married. I have many grandchildren as well." I was happy to know that he had large family.
But then Baba jee said, "They came to see me when I was in hospital (one and half years ago). Their wives said that they did not like their husbands to visit me. They said they had jobs and businesses and it was too much hassle to visit me." I didn't wish to intrude on his family issues so I changed the topic. However, it made think about something Bhai Sahib Bhai Gurdaas jee writes in his Vaars:
ਨੂੰਹ ਨਿਤ ਮੰਤ ਕੁਮੰਤ ਦੇਇ ਮਾਂ ਪਿਉ ਛਡਿ ਵਡੇ ਹਿਤਆਰੇ ॥
nooh nit mant kumant de-e maa pio shhadd vadde hatiaare||
The daughter-inlaw then started continuously advising her husband to desert his parents instigating that they had been tyrants.
ਵਖ ਹੋਵੈ ਪੁਤੁ ਰੰਨਿ ਲੈ ਮਾਂ ਪਿਉ ਦੇ ਉਪਕਾਰੁ ਵਿਸਾਰੇ ॥
vakh hovai put rann lai maa pio de upkaar visaare||
Forgetting the love and help of the parents, the son along with his wife got separated from them.
ਲੋਕਾਚਾਰਿ ਹੋਇ ਵਡੇ ਕੁਚਾਰੇ ॥੧੨॥
lokaachaar hoe vadde kuchaare ||12||
Now the way of the way of the world has become grossly immoral.(12)
(Vaar 37: Pauree 12)
Bhai Gurdaas jee in another Pauree writes:
ਮਾਂ ਪਿਉ ਪਰਹਰਿ ਕਰੈ ਦਾਨ ਬੇਈਮਾਨ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਪਰਾਣੀ ॥
maa pio parhar karai daan be-eemaan agiaan paraanee ||
The person who having deserted his parents performs charities, is corrupt and ignorant.
(Vaar 37: Pauree 13)
He said that when he was fit and well he used to go by train to London and visit his family. However, since he became ill, he has been unable to travel anywhere. One day he was at home and collapsed and there was no one else to help him. Thankfully a social-worker came to visit him and looked through the window because he didn't answer the door. The social-worker realised that Baba jee had collapsed on the floor and couldn't get help so the fire-service had to smash the front window and get him out. Since then he had to sell his house and move into a nursing home.
The nursing home staff were very nice. It is great to see that there are places where elderly people with no families can go and live with people to care for them. However, it is also sad that people with families also end up in nursing homes.
When I went to see Baba jee, his hair was in a mess. There was a Keski (short under-turban) loosely wrapped over his head, with his hairs poking out everywhere. Because Baba jee had suffered numerous strokes, he struggled to move his hands and could not comb his own hair or tie his own dastaar. So, I offered to teach the staff how to tie a Dastaar. Some of the nurses said that it is too difficult. But there is one senior nurse who was very caring for all the patients and she said she will not rest until she learns how to tie a Dastaar. It was inspiring to see the nurse's spirit and attitude.
After learning how to tie a Dastaar, the senior nurse tied a Keski and then a Dastaar on Baba jee's head. He was very happy. The nursing home people were so pleased that they took photographs of Baba jee wearing his newly tied Dastaar. The other patients at the nursing home complimented him as well.
I shortly left the nursing home and I promised the nursing home manager that I would let other members of the local community know about Baba jee is living at the nursing home so that they could come and visit him.
Last week, my dad received a phone call from one of the volunteers who cared for Baba jee. She said he had passed away. His funeral was yesterday. The staff said that Baba jee felt very lonely for the past one and half years but still made the most of what he had. Another person who visited him a few times before passing away said that he asked Baba jee, "Do you do Paatth and Simran? Do you need a Gutka Sahib?" Baba jee replied, "I have a Gutka Sahib. However, I know Sukhmani Sahib da Paath and Nitnem off by heart." The volunteer care worker said that she was by his side when he passed away. She said, "He was holding a prayer book (Gutka Sahib) in his hands and he was reciting prayers (paatth) when hen breathed his last breath."
Guru jee says in Salok Mehlaa Nauvaa:
ਸੁਖ ਮੈ ਬਹੁ ਸੰਗੀ ਭਏ ਦੁਖ ਮੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥
Sukẖ mai bahu sangī bẖe-e ḏukẖ mai sang na koe.
In good times, there are many companions around, but in bad times, there is no one at all.
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਭਜੁ ਮਨਾ ਅੰਤਿ ਸਹਾਈ ਹੋਇ ॥੩੨॥
Kahu Nānak har bẖaj manaa anṯ sahaaee hoe. ||32||
Says Nanak! Vibrate and meditate on Waheguru; He shall be your only Help and Support in the end. ||32|| (Ang 1428)