Remembering Payal Kapoor
Celebrating the selfless life and unconditional love of the best Mother, Wife, and Woman
I love you so, so, so much. Mom, at 5:52PM last night, November 30th 2018, you took your last breath and moved on to your next life.
You fought so bravely Mom. You beat cancer, not once, but twice. No matter how weak your body got, your spirit never broke. You always kept fighting through the many surgeries, painful recoveries, chemotherapy and bouts of infection and pneumonia — just to come home to your family. In the end Mom, your heart kept beating strong but your lungs just couldn’t keep up. After five years of fighting, you finally get to rest. No more pain, no more anguish. Just peace.
You were the best Mom that any son could even dream to ask for. You sacrificed your own career and ambition to move across the world to America with your husband and two young kids, just for the chance at a better life for us. All those Boy Scout meetings or varsity swim camps you shuttled us back and forth from. You always told us how proud you were of us but I don’t think we adequately told you how grateful we were for you.
You built your own community, our little slice of Punjab, right here in New Jersey. You made sure that though we grew up in America, we’re always proud to be Indian first — that we never forgot our values, our history, our food, our culture. Mom, you wouldn’t believe how many people showed up to the hospital last night. We couldn’t keep them away if we tried. They simply adored you. They were in awe of your spirit.
Last week, we finally got to give you that vacation to Italy we’d talked about for almost five years. We finally strolled the canals in Venice together telling stories of old merchant ships rolling into the harbor as we tried on all the colorful Venetian masks. I remember the wonder in your eyes when we stepped into the Duomo in Florence and sat under the fresco of The Last Judgement. You pointed up at every angel, your gaze returning often on the light from Above. I’ll never forget how hard we all laughed when you asked us why Michaelangelo’s David was so naked and “wasn’t he feeling a little cold?” I think Rome was your favorite — all the questions you had about the Renaissance art and the ancient architecture and the gladiator games. You were the only one that loved to listen to my long, rambling stories. And your smile. You made sure your smile and outfit were perfect in every, single, picture. Did you know even then Mom, that these were the last happy memories we’d have together?
Mom, remember the Sistine Chapel? The priest of the chapel saw you among the crowd of hundreds and he came up to us — such was the light you always radiated. He asked about your health and if he could pray with you. I recall what a beautiful prayer it was Mom — about healing and strength and the courage to keep fighting when things are darkest. The tears in your eyes as you turned to me and said “It’s okay — I’m happy”. How were you always so strong?
You dedicated your life to serving others. From your work in NJ Department of Disabilities helping people overcome their challenges and find new work, to the decade-plus of weekly volunteering you did in Plainsboro with the Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) and others. Mom, in your free time you built and ran a Hindi-language school for children that grew from 5 kids in a hallway to a local institution with 200+ students and a waiting list double that size. You wanted to teach them all Mom and you wouldn’t accept a dime from a single parent to do it. We’ll make sure that your legacy lives on.
Your selflessness really knew no limits. Because you knew your spirit lives on again, you even told us to donate your body to the medical school. Look at that Mom. You’ll be teaching even more kids and inspiring future doctors to save lives. You gave yourself in service of others until the very last.
You never cared how much money someone made or how successful they were, only that they were good, and kind, and generous. You taught us that the only reason to look at someone else’s plate was to make sure that they had enough to eat. You gave us everything you had. You led by example in every way and it makes me so proud that I can call myself your son.
I hope that wherever you are right now, that you’ve finally found your bliss. Because every moment being your son on this Earth, was simply bliss to me.
I love you now, forever, and always.