The Khurana family is reeling after the unexpected loss of their grandfather (middle bottom row, striped shirt) earlier this week. (Submitted)

The Khurana family is reeling after the unexpected loss of their grandfather (middle bottom row, striped shirt) earlier this week. (Submitted)

‘He didn’t deserve to go like this’: Abbotsford family mourns beloved ‘Jaipi’, lost to COVID-19

Despite following all proper protocols, Vijay Khurana succumbed to virus unknowingly on Tuesday

They called him ‘Jaipi’.

Family members said Vijay Khurana was a kind, affectionate and supportive man who was the centre of attention and the star of the show at family gatherings.

They said his smile and laughter brought joy to all those around him, but all he brought to the world abruptly and suddenly ended on Tuesday (Dec. 8) when he died due to complications related to COVID-19.

Despite following all recommendations and doing all the right things since March, it’s believed that someone who unknowingly had the virus visited his son’s home where he and his wife reside.

Bypass surgery in 2017 made Khurana vulnerable to the complications from COVID-19, and in the years following the surgery he occasionally had to rely on an oxygen tank to aid his breathing.

He’s now one of the 587 people in B.C. and more than 13,000 citizens in Canada who have lost their life due to COVID-19.

He was 69 years old.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Khurana came to Abbotsford from India in 1994, following his daughter who arrived in Canada earlier. It was an opportunity for his children and grandchildren to create a better life and take advantage of the education possibilities.

Smiely Khurana, his grandchild and a 2016 Abbotsford Senior Secondary School grad, said it’s been difficult to deal with the loss.

“My grand pop was my biggest supporter, bestest friend, favourite storyteller, go to coffee buddy, greatest listener and his love meant more than everything to me,” she said. “He always said he loved me times a billion every time we spoke. His love was so unconditional and infectious. We were going to virtually celebrate Christmas together, but I didn’t even get to say goodbye.”

Smiely’s younger sister Sonia Khurana, a 2019 ASSS grad, said her grandfather had the ability to light up a room.

“He was the most outgoing person in our whole family,” she said. “The family gatherings seemed to always revolve around him. He was the type of person who made everyone laugh.”

To complicate matters, Sonia and the rest of the Khurana family moved to Ontario in the summer. Smiely, who has a promising future in the local film industry, decided it would be best for her career to remain in B.C.

The pandemic meant family visits were unable to occur, but the sisters believe their uncle and grandparents did the best they could to avoid large social gatherings and followed all the proper protocol to ensure they avoided the virus. They said it’s devastating to realize somehow the virus was brought into their house.

In fact, the family was unaware that Vijay had COVID-19 until a test was performed on him after his death. They assumed his issues were related to his surgery, but it’s now believed that COVID-19 worsened his breathing ability and contributed greatly to his death.

RELATED: B.C. records 28 deaths due to COVID-19, 723 new cases

Smiely said it’s unfortunate that more people aren’t taking the pandemic seriously.

“We’d been extra careful all year around our vulnerable grandparents,” she said. “But it took one careless person to change everything. My grandpa lost his life because somebody with COVID-19 outside his immediate bubble came in contact instead of staying home, and he couldn’t survive it. I can’t stress this enough. Stay home. Not seeing your loved ones or friends this Christmas can mean another Christmas to look forward to. He didn’t deserve to go like this. No one does.”

Sonia said this can happen to anyone and it is long overdue for more people to realize the threat the virus poses.

“It has really impacted our family, which we thought it wouldn’t because we were so very careful with people coming near our grandparents,” she said. “But in a lot of communities people aren’t taking this seriously. They think just because they’re young they will survive, but they’re not thinking about the people out there who won’t be able to survive it. Just because you’re not showing symptoms doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want.”

Sonia said that what makes it so heartbreaking is that the death came about just when vaccines are being produced and made available.

“I think a lot of it is patience,” she said. “People think it’s been a year and they are tired of isolating and staying home. I think it’s so important to be patient right now, especially after all the news we’re hearing about a vaccine. It’s a bit of waiting and then things can go back to normal if we stay patient now.”

To add to the frustration is the fact that funerals in B.C. are now limited to just 10 people and gatherings are restricted. The Khurana family is still ironing out plans to honour Vijay.

But it’ll be the memories of ‘Jaipi’ that will live on in both sisters and those who knew him.

Sonia said one moment that sticks out is her grandparents 50th anniversary that occurred in 2019. The Ryerson University Media Production student and her film industry sister filmed and created a video of the event to honour the milestone. She said her grandfather loved the video.

“He just kept watching it over and over,” she said, chuckling. “Anytime we’d come over he would say, ‘let’s watch the video’. He would just not ever get tired of it.”

Smiely said it was his support for her during an uncertain time in her life that she will never forget. She felt nerves telling him that she was dropping out of university a year before completing her degree to begin work in her chosen industry, but he supported her.

“I was so nervous what people in our community, my family and others would think especially because I come from an Indian family and education matters,” she said. “Dropping out was scary, but he told me he loved me and supported me. and that he believes in me. He’s the reason I am where I am and he always believed in me.”

Vijay is survived by his wife of 51 years Prem Khurana and his many friends and family.

abbotsfordCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jaipi poses for a picture with his wife and four children. (Submitted)

Jaipi poses for a picture with his wife and four children. (Submitted)

Just Posted

The Surrey Board of Trade is calling on the provincial government to implement a temporary paid sick-leave program. (Unsplash.com photo by Kelly Sikkema)
Surrey Board of Trade calls for temporary paid sick-leave program

Reccomendations sent to provincial labour minister, news release notes

Low tide offered plenty of space for people to relax on White Rock's beach Sunday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
City of White Rock asking outside visitors to stay away

South Surrey residents encouraged to visit, while others urged to stick close to home

North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. (Photo: larkgroup.com)
North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex earns B.C. facility excellence award

Award is among four presented by BC Recreation and Parks Association

Surrey Central SkyTrain Station. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Suspect accused of ‘abhorrent’ assaults at Surrey SkyTrain stations

Transit Police say assaults were on April 9, 14 and 17

Closing down the west-bound lane of Marine Drive to allow increased patio space for restaurants and a larger walkway for pedestrians would be a challenging and costly measure, according to a city staff report. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock City council, BIA to further mull Marine Drive one-way

Businesses contend that challenges of measure can be mitigated

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Ripy Jubbal of Abbotsford has received a 30-month jail sentence for the fraudulent use of credit cards and credit card data. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford woman sentenced for $80K in fraudulent credit card purchases

Ripy Jubbal and spouse used identities of 19 different victims, court hears

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

Most Read