Obituary of Shany Balwant
There are no lessons about 'The Art of Mothering'. We can only do our best and hope that we do it well. I'm here to tell you my mother certainly got an A++ in this. She was a caring, supportive love wife, mother, sister, grandmother, and friend. Yet she was shy and unassuming and always said of herself "I am just a mom."
No she was not. She was a homemaker in the true sense of the word. Although we were financially poor, her budgeting skills were remarkable. We were always well dressed and never went hungry. The quality of our lives was rich.
Shany was born on December 6th, 1931, the third youngest of 10 children. Sadly only 2 brothers and 3 sisters are alive today, and they are all here, in fact they were here this past week to help my dad and the family cope with our grief. My mom was clever at school and I am sure if college was an option back then in Guyana, she would have gone, but she made sure all her children went to college.
She followed the path of many girls at that time and went on to get married at a young age. She married my dad on May 17th, 1947. They went on to raise 6 children, myself, Shanty, Raj, Prakash, Sandra, and Paul. Sadly my brother Prakash passed away a few months before his graduation from Fordham University. In addition to her 6 children, she was also blessed with 10 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 1 great great-grandchildren. I'm happy to say they are all here today.
After my parents got married they moved quite a bit, always searching for a better life for their children. When we lived in Guyana, my dad was a sugar chemist working in the Islands 3-4 months of the year. During his absence, my mom ran a grocery and convenience store while raising her children by herself. We never knew we were poor, she sewed the finest dresses for my sisters and made sure her sons were well dressed and always in polished shoes. When I was in college in Minnesota, she would mail me a dozen rotis every month. I didn't have the heart to tell her that by the time the post office delivered them, they were spoiled.
My parents moved to Florida after my brother Prakash died and to help with their grief they immersed themselves into a religious life. They devoted the rest of their lives to be a Sai Baba devotee. They built a wing to their house dedicated to daily prayers. Their home became a Sai Baba center. It is here they met many new lifelong friends.
I am grieving for my father who has lost the best wife it is possible to have had, for my nieces and nephews who have only known this wonderful grandmother for such a short time in their lives, for my brother and sisters who have lost a true friend and mother. We have all suffered a huge loss.
My mom taughts her children 3 things that I still live by today; Belief, Compassion, and Authenticity.
Belief: She always said if you believe you can do anything. It is her belief in me that gave me the confidence to leave my country as an 18 year old to seek a better life in the United States. She had the absolute and unshakeable belief in her children.
Compassion: The second lesson my mom taught us was the power of compassion. She is the most compassionate person I have ever known. She never judged people. She was always ready to lend a helping hand to those that needed it.
Authenticity:The third and most important lesson my mom taught us was the power of authenticity. She was a free and authentic spirit. She never tried to influence her children's choices in life. She wanted us to be true to ourselves, be authentic but accept the consequences of your choices.
She taught us all what is really important in life- love, support, and care for friends and family in our lives. We are all better off for having known her. It was a great privilege to be her son.
Thank you all for coming to say goodbye and for supporting our family.