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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Radhika's ashes

Dear friends,

I want to share some events of a spiritual nature with you that give me great comfort about Radhika's passing. Being a Hindu, she firmly believed that we live in this world to learn certain lessons so that our spirit can advance. She also believed that death is just an intermediate stage and that we get reborn in another form so that our spirit can continue to grow and have new experiences. All this is beautifully expressed in the verses Mukund read from the Gita which I shared with you in my last post. In the last few months Radhika also told me on a number of occasions that she felt that life as a woman was hard but rewarding (giving birth to Mira), so in her next life she wanted to take some time off and come back as a big fat male sea lion. As such, her plan was to spend the days lazing in the sun at La Jolla's childrens pool, where we could come to visit whenever we wanted to see her.

The healing started for me when her childhood friend Kalika told me after Radhika's passing that one of her spiritual guides had said to her even before the last round of chemo that Radhika had finished all her lessons for this life and was ready to move on to her next life. Also Radhika's mentor Ruth told me that she knew Radhika's spirit was not dwelling on this past life anymore and was roaming freely.

All this brings me to yesterdays events. After dropping Mira off at school and bidding farewell to Radhu and Venki, the house felt quiet as I waited for Ruth. Ruth is very calm and spiritual, and I was happy that she was going to accompany me and Radhika on this final journey for Radhika's empty shell. I should mention at this stage that Radhika was an organ donor, and even though all her organ's had been ravaged by the cancer and were unsuitable, her corneas were accepted for donation. It makes me happy to think that her beautiful eyes continue to live and that their sparkle brings joy to somebody else.

At 9AM Ruth and I discussed the plan for the day and then we went to Vista for the cremation of Radhika's body which started at 9:45. We placed flowers, 2 coins, some rice and a piece of sacred wood on her paper coffin which symbolized joy, prosperity, nourishment and spirituality. It felt very peaceful as the conveyor moved her body into the machine and the burners started without any sound. The plan was to return after 12 to pick up the remains and spread them in a beautiful place that was meaningful to her which meant the ocean either off the coast of Encinitas (a city she loved in this life) or La Jolla (where she wants to spend her next life).

So we went back home to google for Kayak rental places, since Radhika loved kayaking on the few occasions when we tried it. Since the ashes were part of this life we first tried calling in Encinitas, but our calls where either not returned or came up empty. Also Ruth was a bit worried about going out 500 yards from the coast line (as required by the law) since neither of us had ever done any real ocean kayaking. Curiously enough the first place we called in La Jolla said that this wasn't a problem as long as one went out on a calm day like today. After lunch we received a phone call from the crematorium that the remains were ready, so we went in Ruths car to pick them up, and then drove straight along Palomar airport road to the ocean, a drive Radhika and I have done many times. We then went straight south along the coastal highway 101 to Encinitas were we stopped at the meditation gardens so that she could see the ocean off of Encinitas for the last time in this life and we also lingered a bit at one of the koi ponds. We continued our journey on the 101, Radhika's and my favorite road on this planet, until we reached La Jolla.

We easily got to the kayak rental place by 2:30, and Ruth and I set off in a double kayak straight from the launch area. The ocean was beautiful, with no waves, sunny sky, nobody around us anywhere and only the slightest breeze: a gorgeous day for kayaking! Ruth and I really enjoyed it and we hardly got wet. After paddling out for a while Ruth said that she saw something in the water, maybe a dolphin. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a single seal or sea lion. I knew that we were in the exact right place, and that Radhika was indeed ready to move on. After I gave her a short eulogy to thank her for all the good she did in this life for me and the people around her I dispersed her ashes. We enjoyed the beautiful location for another short while and by 3:30 we returned the kayak. The kayak rental place refused any form of payment, but at least I was able to tip them.

After that Ruth dropped me off at home, so that I could go and pick up Mira in order to take her for gymnastics with her friend Cassidy. I chatted with Cassidy's parents Chris and Cindy for the whole 90 minute class, and at the end it struck me how peaceful my day had been. I only teared up once when telling Ruth a story that was particularly gut wrenching for me, but I never shed a tear. Somehow I felt elated and happy for Radhika that she had moved on and was ready to embrace her next life with open arms, just like she had embraced this life with us over all these years.

15 comments:

  1. I love Radhika's choice of the fat male sea lion - it seems just like her. It feels like a gift that she has left for us, to help us think of her with joy, which is how I always felt with Radhika.

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    1. Dear Andre, I was very deeply moved by your previous post. The segment from the Gita was so helpful to me. Reading it moved me to a different place, from despair to hope. Now, reading this post about Radhika's ashes continues and deepens what you wrote two days ago. I am very grateful to you for writing both of these posts and in awe of your ability to do so. Your experience yesterday makes so much sense to me; it seems to put things back into balance. I am really grateful that you and Radhika were on this spiritual journey together and that you could share that and bring us along too now. Vivienne

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    2. Dear Andre- when I read this post this morning it was the first time I felt lighter about Radhika's passing! Your detailed description of scattering her ashes gave me a beautiful picture of the day and of the peaceful transition. Then just after reading your post I saw this quote from Kahil Gibran from "The Prophet" that reads: "For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun?" I hope you can continue to find peaceful moments, you & Mira continue to be in my thoughts. Love, Kristin

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  2. Dear Andre, I am so grateful to you for continuing to share your feelings and stories about Radhika. It comforts us. Amidst tears, I love getting to hear a new hilarious joke that she made in the thick of things. I love that our dear Radhika was able to use her sense of humor as such an important coping mechanism. I am sad to imagine that she's not with us anymore in her old form, but love being able to imagine the many different ways she might return to us. I will be more comforted going to the ocean and imagining her presence there. Thank you for returning her to the earth in the way she most wanted. She was so lucky to have you in life, and also now. You are keeping her memory alive for us and I know for Mira too. Mira is so lucky to have such a wonderful father who will always keep Mom's memory alive. Thank you, Andre. Alyssa

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  3. Astounding and perfect. Thank you for blessing us with her journey, it does lend peace where I've been lost. A magical, sensible and funny choice, all wrapped up with a bow. Just like she.

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    1. Oh Andre after reading your posts, I too feel more at peace with Radhika's passing. Not only was she a remarkable, loving, calm person so are you to have shared all of this with us. Thank you for guiding all of us who also share in your pain and making us feel the spiritual light. Your friend, Carol Gidner

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  4. One of the most moving tributes I have ever read, Andre. Simply amazing, Kim

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  5. How absolutely pure and beautiful. I can see her spirit moving on into a peaceful and joyful journey and I will never see a sea lion again without thinking of her. Love to you and Mira, Janet Powell

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  6. Thank you for sharing this, Andre. I could see Radhika smiling her beautiful smile as I read this.

    Hemanshu

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  7. That was beautiful, Andre. I kept thinking about her this week, about what a blessing she has been to all of us. Her spirit must be with all of us.

    Tao

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  8. Andre--Thank you for writing this account of a day that must have been both difficult for and important to you. I waited to Reply til I had been down to La Jolla, which Joyce and I did today. Visiting one of her favorite places and imagining her there helped me visualize you and Ruth out on one of those kayaks, and seeing the seals all lounging around on the rocks helped me to see why Radhika would like to be a big ol' sea lion with time on his hands on a sunny February day. I believe I'll be going to the La Jolla Cove more often now. It's a beautiful, happy place to spend a Saturday afternoon. Janet McD

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  10. This is so beautiful. It simultaneously brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

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  11. This is so beautiful. It simultaneously brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

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  12. Beautiful. I'm so glad you're able to find some peace and comfort. She would be so glad and grateful.

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