Reality Check

June 28, 2007 Kamala Amma's Grace

Dearest Friends and Family,

Two days ago, we went and got the ashes. Today, the Death Certificate. I feel I need to write to you all, some of the things in my heart, as the ocean of grief that surrounds me, pounds relentlessly upon our minds…the last six months she was increasingly tortured by the sickness…her pain was unending, increasing, terrible beyond words. She was totally confident that Amma knew it all, and never wanted to bother her with telling Her what She already knew. She was adamant that we were never to pray that Amma should take away her pain. She never wanted to burden Amma. The memory of her intense pain tortures us. So many times, she said to me, “Mommy, make it better…” with the inherent faith that every child has that their mother will fix things…both of us knew, it was up to Amma, but no relief was forthcoming….at this time, every second, we are asking ourselves and wondering, what could we have done better? How could we have saved her? In everything around Anni, I felt we were always somehow 2 weeks too late to start some improvement in our care of her.

I need to speak frankly. She did not want to die. She wanted to stay. She was homesick for Amritapuri, She missed everyone there, she loved the entire ashram family. She missed everything there, it was her home. She did not have visions and dreams of a beautiful new world of angels. She did not see a world of peace and joy awaiting her once she dropped the form. After mid May, she began to feel that she was separating internally. She told me, ‘there is a part of me that is talking to all of you, and there is another part of me that is soooooooooo tired.’. I had dream visions of her spirit animal (that’s another whole story) a mouse, who was so, so, soooo tortured with exhaustion. She was afraid to really relax and sleep, as there was some problem that she sensed between the lungs and heart and brain. When she did allow herself to relax, she had that seizure… A few days before she passed, she told us, “I have been given the grace to live, but I have to be very careful with myself.” This was after the first seizure type thing…one of Amma’s nuns had a dream that Anni was in a wheelchair, out of pain, and sitting near Amma…we felt it might mean that she would become paralyzed in the legs. A day or so later she told us that her legs felt funny…and a swelling started on the whole right side of her body…I assure you, she did not want to leave, despite all the pain. She wanted to stay, give her love, help make this world more beautiful, serve Amma and help others. Her body was just too weak, too worn out, too exhausted and racked with pain. It had become deformed to an extent, her chest had barreled out and become misshapen from struggling to breathe for so many months. But, we had the faith, that everything was fixable, once she was on the road to health.

Three days before she passed, she expressed frustration to me, with her mind being disturbed by scenes from a DVD that we had viewed.  We have been hard pressed to find decent comedy films.  We thought this one, about parenting, would be funny.  The cover, and the first five minutes were hilarious.  After that it degenerated so seriously that we turned it off.  It was the short short scenes that she had seen in that movie – which we rejected, that bothered her at that time.  Film is very powerful.  Only watch those things that are beneficial, as the impressions can last and arise when we do not want them, despite our intellectual understandings.  In fact,  a friend, Debbie, finally brought us a children’s film in which the characters were named Zafir, and Ali.  She said to me, knowing how particular we were for decency in films, “This is a Muslim film, its gotta be clean.”  I thought it was interesting to note, that despite the negative hype going on about Islam, there is a recognition, that human decency is one of the hallmarks of it.  Islam and Allah, are names and words of Peace,  despite the present day distortions.

I never thought that Amma would let her die. Even one hour before her death, I told Sarah, “Somehow, I just know, she’s going to be fine, even though it doesn’t look good right now…’ but there were portents that gnawed and tugged at our knowingness – the big change in the ashram hearts towards us, the success of her song, the wide network of people who were touched by her, even far outside of the ashram circle – people who had never met Amma, but somehow, loved Anni. It was just too glorious. And her condition was always worsening. She looked sooo bad…..

About 20 minutes before she passed, we managed to get a call through to Lakshmi, who lives with Amma. She said she would tell Amma in 15 minutes. In 20 minutes, Anni appeared to have a need to clear her throat. Sarah was in the kitchen. Link and I moved her forward and to the side. She just flopped, she had no strength, whatsoever. She passed out of the body in a second, Link and I holding her on each side. I knew she was gone. Sarah came running and tried to revive her. She and Link tried to call the emergency services people. I watched the unbelievable event before my eyes. Over the phone, we were told to take her out of the bed, onto the floor. Even at this time, I knew, Amma could bring her back. I did not want her moved. When the paramedics came, I was adamant that they not touch the body until I had spoken to my Guru, to Amma. Finally, Amma called. Her voice sounded very sore. She said, “ Mole, mole…” to me. I begged Her to return Anni, healed in body. I said, “ Amma! She just left! She is right here! Bring her back! Please! She loves You! She wants to serve You! She wants to help You! Please! She just left! Bring her back! Bring her back! Please! Please!”

Even after they took her body to the funeral home, both Link and I waited for the call that would say, “uh, hello? Can you please come and get your daughter? It’s a real miracle…..” Even while Link pushed the body into the cremation incinerator, we looked for that hand, now blue and swollen in decomposition, to push the box lid up…

For us, our small family, was a single unit, we were and are One. This will never change. As in a statue with three faces, Anni was our best and most beautiful face, Amma is the main stone. We enjoyed a cohesiveness in life, thinking the same thoughts, singing the same songs in our hearts, that is, I think, a rare thing in human relations, but, it was normal and natural for us. Such an attunement and at-one-ment cannot disappear with the absence of the physical body. What was Anni, what loved and did the thinking, the speaking, through the instrument of the form, must still be with us. Life as we know, goes on. Amma has said, “everything is right here” But to see and touch and hear, to feel the individuality, these are the delights of the physical realm. The great Indian saint, Thirruvalluvar, in one of his 1330 aphorisms, written over 2000 years ago states – and I paraphrase, as I do not have the text with me – that the most beautiful music to a parent is the sound of their child’s voice. No consolation is possible in the face of this great loss.

We have never wasted our time worrying about whether or not we are ‘spiritual’. We have, all three, simply been ourselves. Anni was what she is. Pure, innocent, sweet and loving as well as wise. She had genuine bravery. Not only did she bear the terrible and supreme physical suffering of her illness, but she had the courage in life, to keep loving, when people slammed the doors of their hearts in her face. Or snubbed her. She had the courage to forgive, and go on, to keep looking to the good side in others. That is bravery. That is courage. She had awesome poise in her human relations, which we relied upon and admired greatly. She didn’t play games with people. She had no tolerance for injustice. She never ignored it, and it disturbed her greatly. She loved to be of service to others in whatever small way she could. She was deeply considerate. On the last day of her life, she indicated to Link while we held her onto the toilet, that he was not to allow me to lift her – she worried about straining my cardiac muscle all the time since the heart attack in Jan, 2005.. Even with serving her in small ways at night – rubbing her feet and hands, she did not want me to be disturbed.

We prefer to feel she had a mission. I know for a fact that she was willing to suffer if in so doing, she could effect a change in human consciousness. From her childhood, she seemed to long for that secretly. But, in reality, we all come in here with a mission – to give our hearts love, our hearts song, to the symphony of life here. Most of us lose our way, forget, become depressed or deluded. Anni didn’t. Through Amma’s grace, she was clearly focused her entire life. And such focus took constant external and internal vigilance. Vigilance of the heart, sweeping the debris of pain, hurt, indifference away. It takes bravery and courage to be honest, genuinely honest with ourself; To be humbly loving and forgiving in the face of those who have delusions of their power and importance. She succeeded in her mission to let you all know that she loved, and loves you. Through Amma’s grace, her message of the truth of simplicity and lovingness as being genuine spirituality was heard by all of you. To our thinking, that is true greatness, that is what is real. And we want the truth more than anything.

We know that many feel a need to see Anni as an angel floating in the sky, or in Amma’s arms. For many, there is a need to know that we have “faith” in Amma, that we see all this as part of a divine plan. I do not see these concepts in the Indian Scriptures. I have always felt that the universe and destiny are a lot more flexible than we understand. People want and seem to need the emotional and mental security of separate worlds and spiritual compartments. I do not feel these things exist. It is like telling a child that there is “santa claus”. It is like ;looking at the clouds in the sky, and saying ‘there is a dragon, a fish, or a lady ‘ in their shapes. It is like naming and grouping the stars into constellations – Orion’s Belt, the big dipper’ when each one is really a solar system unto itself. Our minds cannot conceive of Reality. We cannot conceive of or imagine even, infinite space. My darling baby is no longer contained in a form. And was she or is any of us contained and restricted to a single form? Our only consolation now, is that we too will leave this experience called ‘life’. Amma has said to emulate the qualities of the Great Ones who have left us. We intend to do just that. We feel a great need to promote and live by the sweet song of her life, which is our family song. It is our way to keep her with us. As a family, we have always worked on projects together. To make something a little more clean or beautiful, to make things to honor our Amma, or make music. Our next family project is to create a music CD out of the music that we have done together for Amma. We hope that many of you will be able to help us with your talents and voices. Our dear Karthu in Mumbai will head the project.

For us, Anni will always be part of us. As ever. That cannot change. And in understanding this, we understand that there is only Oneness, everywhere, for everything and everyone is part of the One, and everything is right here. We are actually, all, bodiless. As Amma has said, it’s a rented house.

We want to burst our delusions, and serve Reality. For us, this is known in Truth and not fanciful imaginations. Death is the greatest teacher, whether or not we like to know it. The Reality of Anni now, is the one we have to live with, is the one we will merge into, is the one that we will serve with our lives. We can only accept it. No consolation is possible, although it makes us glad to know you loved and love her, or that you too, will seek to serve the truth of our existence more clearly with your lives.

Loving you,
Kamala Aunty

No Responses to “Reality Check”

  • nirali udeshi says:

    dear kamala aunty n link,
    this has been one most disbelievin event havinh occured in my life.never in my life have i felt so much void n sadnes.
    i spent just 1 day of my life with anni,but that day has changed me as a person.we sang n laughed n had soo much fun..all that while anni,without my knowledge,anni taught me so many thing…she did the smallest task with such enthusiasm…she moved at the venue like a beautiful butterfly in a garden…giving happiness to all around her…
    while we were sittin on the stage waiting for our turn to sing,i was feeelin very cold.anni saw me shivering n alittle later i saw anni on the other side of tse stage strugglin to pull something out from under the huge pile of ‘gaddis’.her long plait movin as she did this job..
    n then i closed my eyes to pray…n i suddenly felt somethin over my shoulders..n as i opened my eyes i saw anni tryin to cover me with a bed sheet!!i love u anni…there are so many subtle things about her that can never b said only felt!
    anni has put greatest ideals in d sweetest way possible..
    anni is still very much here,in her beautiful songs,in her sweet melodies,in the happiness that she gave to others..kamala aunty,we all will make annis album…she has inspired me th most n many others..with this album she will inspire many more lives to live n to love!
    kamala aunty we know what pain you are goin thru rite now.we pray to amma to give you n link immense strength n faith.

  • Shirley Tice says:

    Kamala and Link

    I am sorry to read this. Somehou I beleived as you did that just being near AMMA, would help Anni and that she would be able to complete the tour with Amma.

    I love you and Link and have no words to tell you how I feel after reading this.

    Shirley Tice

  • Mary (Feierabend) Girard says:

    My dearest Kamala,

    I have just heard about your great loss and have just read your heart cry song. I am moved beyond words and filled with sorrow.

    It was so long ago that we swam the ocean together with your two lovely children and mine, which was the last time I think we saw each other. You have journeyed far and I can barely connect with what you are expressing here. But I know that while the views of Reality and our object of love and faith may differ in expression that the mother-heart, sister-heart and the great sorrow felt is where we are one.

    You know also that the one I follow, the Lord Jesus, shared Anni’s pain and death, and shares also your great sorrow and loss. This terrible death and suffering is inevitable for all of us, and we who long for purpose and usefulness cannot grasp why such things happen, especially to one so lovely and so young. The Great Lover of Creation for some reason picked this flower so early and so delicate. May we treasure not only the flower, but the sweet and tender love trying to be expressed by the Lover.

    Thank you for sharing the meaning and expression of her suffering and loss, and yours. It helps me appreciate and smell the wonderful aroma. And I too will meditate and wonder at what it means for me so far away in body, but so close in spirit. Anni’s death is as sweet as her life you and I thank you for sharing it with us.

    I will pray for your journey through this great sorrow and loss, and may it lead you to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    With my fond love for you,
    Mary Beti

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