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Remembering Mira Bhupendra Shah (1954-2020)

Mira Bhupendra Shah (7/28/54-4/13/20). Born in Baroda, India. Daughter of Sharda and Rajnikant Shah, wife of Bhupendra Shah to be succeeded by daughters Bindiya, Malvi and Roshni Shah. Emigrated to America in 1980 and settled in the south suburbs of Chicago. Her spirit and personality embraced people of every language, age, color and religion. She was beloved by all who met her. She will be deeply missed by three fiercely independent daughters who made her character come alive with everyone they met. Mira had a beautiful and generous heart and a loving presence, opening her home and kitchen to many.

Her daughter, Roshni, writes:
My name is Roshni and we lost our beautiful mother to Covid on April 13th. I am back on the frontlines as an ICU nurse here in Chicago but wanted to share the beautiful legacy of love my beloved mother left behind. We miss her dearly, and her hospital stay was pure torture for us all as we couldn’t be by her side. Her funeral was done via zoom and my poor dad never got a chance to kiss her goodbye or have a chance to honor her in the way he would have liked. We are looking for the moments of grace though— the 13 days of zoom prayers that will be a lasting memorial to her love, the ability to slow down and grieve without the disturbances of “normal life”, the peace in knowing she is no longer in pain or suffering. I sometimes feel like I am suffocating and I sometimes feel like I am flying. My mom was such a resilient and brave woman, leading by example the power of paving your own path and navigating your own story. Below is the eulogy I wrote for her:

We live our lives within the confines of two points, a dash(-) representing the impact our lives have in this world. We are all united by our paths, we all have a beginning and we will all have an end. What makes life so beautiful, however, is how we set to fill it all in between. The hearts we touch, the actions we live daily, the monotonous moments that come together and deepen this dash. What does this tiny but mighty dash between 1954-2020 represent? I believe it has a handful of spunk, a dash of adventure, a few heaps of love and light and all the magic Mama mixed in her own way, some sass and spice simmered in to keep things balanced, finely chopped and triple washed wisdom to nourish us all, a mom-style pinch of silent cackles, another pinch of gregarious laughter, some tears of course, as the best recipes call for a little salt, toss in some wonder and innovative creativity, stir in some resilience and tenacity and served with a lot of gusto. It’s only fitting that I describe mom’s tiny, yet deep dash with a whole lot of flavor. It will always be something I crave forever.

But I know, for me, she leaves me so many “mom moments” to call my own. Whether its seeing the world through our blind hazel eyes or when I catch my smile in the middle of a silent cackle, or my hypersensitive sense of smell (which leads me to make the same uchha’s she did). I see it in my hands, as I wear her jewelry to serve people in my own way, or in the way I can channel her charm to make some magic happen... but most of all, I see my mother in my heart. That despite how much it hurts, it also is my greatest superpower.

I see it in my sisters too. And in all of the daughters she adopted. In seeing and hearing your stories, I see my mom in everything.

As I examine my own grief, I am filled with so much gratitude. I know that in order to feel such deep sorrow, I have been so lucky to experience such deep and unconditional love. I started writing a book over the past few months while I was traveling, I didn’t have any specific idea but I just put one down that came to me. It was titled, “I dont have any heroes except my mom maybe” —fitting right? I always felt that true gurus didn’t need any fancy titles, awards or institutions. You lead by example. And mom was such an incredible role model in how to overcome struggle (just change your perspective), how to survive in an unfair world (show up -looking good of course- anyway), if hard times fall on you (build a community to hold you), and when good times fall upon you (generously share your heart)— I mean this woman truly lived to give. As her baby, I had the privilege of knowing mummy in her imperfections. The way a mother and daughter can only experience. The squabbles and frustrations triggered from lessons we both needed to grow. But even in the painful moments, even in our lowest valleys the capacity mom had to forgive and love anyways amazes me. There is NOTHING like a mother’s love. She always called me her Radha— even when I was far from it. But that’s a true hero, right? One who isn’t perfect, but who shows up. Who sees the worst in you but loves you anyways. Mom planned for the future, but lived for today. And if there is any lesson I want to take away from her life, its that. To accept life as it is and still believe I can create the life I imagine. To love sincerely, but not foolishly. To stay strong, but soft. To stay true to who I am, but to always imbibe her spirit.

My Mom was a high-risk patient who needed dialysis 3 times a week. She was waiting for a kidney and in her many responsibilities, still was dedicated to sharing her story with others. She was a phenomenal cook and learned to make every recipe super healthy and delicious. She was a natural yogi, living in seva and practicing ahimsa in all the ways you can. We advocated for south asian organ donation via Samaj Saves Lives and would love to continue to bring awareness to the importance of South Asians joining the donation network.


Date: July 28, 1954 to April 13, 2020
Subject(s): Mira Bhupendra Shah
Type: In Memoriam

Collection: Roshni Shah Fellowship Project
Donor: Roshni Shah
Item History: 2020-05-05 (created); 2022-07-19 (modified)

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