My darling son Jay passed away in an accident on June 20.
So many of you came to know Jay through this blog after we adopted him from an orphanage in Mumbai, India, in 2014. He brought so much love and laughter into our lives: laughter that has now fallen still as my husband Desi and I try to wrap our heads around this tragedy.
Jay was six and a half years old when we brought him home, a precocious little boy brimming with mischief, attitude and street smarts he had picked up during his hardscrabble early life on the streets of Mumbai. He was also extremely bright: astute and resourceful, fearless and sensitive, and never afraid to voice his opinion.
Early on we recognized he was gifted with a rare artistic genius: a talent that later got him into the county's coveted and highly competitive visual arts magnet program where he blossomed further, creating art that boggled not just us, his proud parents, but also his art teachers who predicted a great future for him.
I called him "Joy" because that's what he was to me. He swam fearlessly, raced his bike like the devil, loved the movies, inhaled trivia, and had a sophisticated and eclectic taste in music, from Vivaldi's compositions to Japanese anime soundtracks to Billy Joel to Eminem and even Kanye West ("He isn't all that bad, mom!").
After complaining incessantly about my love for old Hindi songs I once caught him blaring "Mere sapnon ki rani," an Indian movie hit from the 1970s, in his room. Embarrassed, he faked a nonchalant shrug and countered, "Did I say I hated it?"
Jay made friends effortlessly and could talk to adults just as easily as he could to peers. He was unstoppably adventurous at heart and afraid of nothing and no one: a trait that often landed him in trouble with his teachers who would write to me, upset, about something he had said or done in class. Still, they loved him for his effervescent charm and he often bragged, perhaps not untruthfully, that he was every teacher's favorite student.
He was also the most honest critic of my cooking. If Jay didn't think something was up to his taste, he would turn his nose up at it. It made me madder at times than I care to admit, but I also got the message. On the other hand he was also quick to brag about his mom's food blog to just about anyone who would listen.
Right now I am filled with grief and anger. There is nothing right about a world where something like this can happen. There's nothing right about my child's life stopping while mine continues. I will never see my beautiful boy grow into the amazing young man he was meant to be. My heart will never be whole again.
Friends and family ask us to take comfort from the fact that Jay lived a full life for the past eight and a half years, with opportunities he never might have had. But there is no comfort to be had right now. Still, I am so grateful every day for my community, which has risen to support us. Every day teachers, friends, neighbors from several streets away we'd never even met before walk up to us with stories about meeting Jay and being charmed by him. They tell us how he made them laugh.
I haven't done much cooking since that horrible day, but I am slowly getting back to it. I know Jay would want me to go on sharing my recipes with you, just like he loved sharing the cookies and cupcakes I made with his friends and teachers. I will get back to it soon enough, but for now I wanted to let you know why I've been missing these last few days and why I haven't responded to your questions and messages. I hope you will bear with me while Desi and I pull through this most difficult time in our lives.