Pictures of Rashmi and Ritvik Bale adorn the Bale family home in south Calgary.
The Calgary siblings spent much of their time together, like the August day in 2017 when they went shopping in Ritvik’s new car.
“She needed some stationery and her brother wanted to give her a ride in his new car,” recalled their father, Ravi Bale, in a recent interview. “They had finished Staples shopping and they were in Superstore and they were getting out–and that’s when this happened.”
A pickup truck slammed into Ritvik’s car as he was waiting to leave the parking lot. Both he and Rashmi were killed.
“There are a lot of sweet memories but sometimes the incident itself–or the feeling of loss–is quite grievous,” Ravi Bale said. “I would like to sometimes chat with them, touch them, and hug them.
“Losing both of them in the most horrific way…that pain can never be overcome easily.”
In the months that followed the tragedy, Ravi Bale and his wife Rajni wondered how or even why they would go on.
“There are ups and downs,” he said. “The downs are when there are moments we can’t handle anymore. We do, once in a while, question ourselves about how long to live. And what for?”
Rashmi had graduated from the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose and received her law degree just before her death. The learning commons at the school now bears her name as a well as a bursary after a donation from her parents, who wanted to give back to the school their daughter fondly called her second home.
Ritvik was going to SAIT. He had attended Calgary’s Third Academy, a private school that specializes in learning disabilities. Ravi and Rajni wanted to help families struggling to pay fees and so created a bursary there, too.
“We will live with the pain but will experience less,” Bale said. “Intensity can be reduced; suffering can be reduced. We made a choice.
“You can be continually experiencing emotions and become sarcastic or unfriendly with society, but we thought of doing something in a positive manner.”
Rashmi’s organs were donated to more than half a dozen recipients across North America.
“It’s very touching to see how their life and families around them have changed–whether it’s because they got improved vision or a kidney or a liver–it’s made a big difference to many of the recipients. It’s like a second life for our daughter.”
Ravi and Rajni always did everything they could to ensure their children’s education was funded.
Their goal now is to create a lasting legacy and memorial to their children and help ensure that other young people will continue to receive the gift of education.
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