Mother, there are things I will never forget. It was in 1975 and I went back to Trinidad on an invitation to teach meditation to a group of nuns. While I was there, I was interviewed on a talk show and it was all about meditation. I remember when I walked into the living room after the show and you looked at me and said, “son, that was so impressive, I want you to teach me”. The family arranged to rent a cottage on a beach in Tobago and there in the peaceful environment with the sounds of sea and breeze in the coconut trees, I taught you. In the afternoon we took you down to the sea for a swim.
You said that this holiday was giving you an extra 10 years of life. Ten years later I went back to visit and this time you were in a nursing home. As soon as I walked in the door, you sat up in bed like a Yogi. You were so skinny at the time as you greeted me, “Rolph, lets meditate” and I replied, “But I just arrived” and you said, “That’s all right”. “Do you remember your mantra?” I asked, “Of course I do”. And so we meditated and it was maybe the last time we did so together..
You passed away some two years later and the nurse told my family, “her life went out as peacefully as a candle”. I could not come to the funeral being here in a community in Montreal. Some few days after, I had a dream in which you appeared to me, more beautiful than ever, and you said that you were then going to visit my sister Jacqueline who lived some 45 mins away. I said to you, “don’t go mom, she will be scared” and you replied, “I only have three days to visit” and then you were gone and I awoke. I phoned home that afternoon and my sister said “It is timely that you should phone. We just came back from the funeral”. It was 3 days since you had passed. They had kept back the services and burial as one of my brothers who was away, insisted that they wait.
There are many things you taught us and one especially I will never forget, “Don’t damn the bridge after you cross it!” I take this seriously and it has helped me to move on in many a circumstance while yet holding respect for the past. Although it is a metaphor, I do recall being in Sarejevo at the end of the war and with an international group of friars on a peace mission, where we were going to a meeting with a religious leader. He was actually the Islamic leader of the place. The van took us to a spot and told us to get down as they could not go over the bridge so we had to walk over. It was terrible as this bridge was bombed and as we walked we could see the waters below through its many holes. It was an uncomfortable feeling but it got us across. Could not curse it then, because we had to come back over it again. Could not curse it on our way out either,.because I remembered what you said….lesson brought home!
You taught me about “God, church, is in the heart”. You taught us how and why we should have respect for the table and for food. You said often too, “half a loaf is better than none”. I remember a day which was very sacred to you and on which you took special time off to go and pray and meditate. It was on “Holy Thursday”. You wanted to spend time with him in prayer in the garden. I guess you remember when he said “come and pray with me for a while.”And one day when I was quiet young, I overheard you telling a neighbor, “I could not live without faith” and I wondered, what was your ‘faith’ and in a way, I still do but I know that one day you will tell me. Of course you were, are, my first guru..