Dadiji: A woman of faith

I will never forget the words of dadiji, in a moment of utmost tragedy, when my father, her son, had died suddenly several years ago. She implored, over a scratchy phone connection: “Be strong. Have strong faith.”

God will provide and care for us, she said.

Raised an orphan, married in the Indian fashion to a man she didn’t know, weighted with the load of four step-children and four more of her own, hardly blessed with substantial resources, Mohini Jadhav’s life was a marathon, an endurance trial. For more than nine decades, she faced her struggles — including attacks on her family over religion, a husband who ruled at times with an iron fist and various bouts of domestic strife — with an unwavering faith and delight in God’s grace.

It was that faith that reached out to me from thousands of miles in the darkest of moments. Over many years, she stressed that we can only feel happiness at the life God (he/she/it/they) gives, even as we stumble over hardship.

She died yesterday, succumbing, finally, to old age. I will miss her faith and joy.

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