It had been five years since Kumuda Shetty had last seen her son Sudesh.
She would have liked to embrace him, hold him close and tell him that she was proud of the life he had built for himself in Canada, and how he had supported his family back in India.
Instead, when the two were finally reunited on April 30 in his hometown of Mangalore, she rubbed his body with saffron, one of the first steps in Hindu funeral rites.
After learning of Sudesh’s death, Lewis and Udupi Palace owner Hubert D’Mello helped organize a Go Fund Me campaign to send his body back to India. If they hadn’t, Sudesh’s body would have been cremated in Toronto, and his family would never have had the closure they need.
In total, 658 people helped raise more than $34,000 — well above the $9,000 it cost to fly the body home.