Monday, May 26, 2008

Almira

On May 12th Almira, an old friend and former partner of mine, died in a car crash in County Kerry, Ireland. I would like to share a few memories of her.

I met her in Lucknow, in Papaji’s house, in 1992. She had arrived in there a few months before after a long and varied career that included a spell working with the World Bank in South America, and several years as an Osho devotee in Poona and Oregon. In 1991 she found herself in charge of an Osho centre in Hawaii. Part of her job included getting its hall ready for any visiting speakers who had booked it. One day she found herself arranging chairs for a Gangaji satsang there. She had no idea who Gangaji was; it was just her job to get the place ready for her. When she had arranged everything, she stood at the back to make sure that the visiting teacher and her audience had everything they required. She planned to stay for a few minutes, to make sure that everything went smoothly, and then leave. Gangaji walked on stage and found that her chair had been positioned under a large photo of Osho. The audience had already taken their seats, facing her. Gangaji, not wanting to give her satsang in front of an Osho picture, picked up her chair, walked to the back of the hall, placed her chair on the ground, pointing towards the audience, and asked everyone to turn their chairs 180 degrees to face her. She placed a small photo of Papaji on a table next to her and sat quietly for a few minutes. Almira, who had been planning to walk out, suddenly found herself standing in the middle of the front row, with everyone staring at her. Too embarrassed to leave, she sat down and found that Gangaji’s Papaji photo was right in front of her. She had no idea who he was. As she sat there looking at it, it became alive; instead of a static photo, it became a miniature TV, on the screen of which Papaji was laughing manically. He did nothing except laugh for several minutes. She could hear the laughing and see the face moving, but no one else in the hall seemed to notice. Finally, he stopped laughing, looked at her and said, ‘Go to Lucknow’. That’s all she remembers of the meeting.

After Gangaji had left she had to ask who the man in the photo was, and where Lucknow was. She had never heard either name before. When she discovered from the people who had come to the meeting that Papaji was Gangaji’s Guru, and that he lived in Lucknow, she decided she had to go there to see this man who had summoned her in such a dramatic fashion. She arrived in Lucknow early in 1992 and almost immediately had a major experience in Papaji’s presence. Papaji seemed to be quite impressed with her. He invited her back to his house for lunch the same day and made her a member of his household. In those days that was a very small contingent. About three or four people either lived there, or spent most of their time there, at Papaji’s invitation. They looked after Papaji, maintained the house and cooked the food that was served to Papaji and the various visitors who showed up.


Almira, sitting with Papaji in his living room in summer 1994


Almira had booked a return ticket. I can’t remember how long it was valid for, but it had a fixed expiry date, beyond which it could not be used. She wanted to stay as long as possible, but she knew that if she used the return journey on the ticket, she would have to leave in a few weeks’ time.

She asked Papaji what to do, and he responded by saying, ‘Your ticket has expired’.

‘No, Papaji,’ she said, ‘It’s still valid. It doesn’t run out for several weeks.’

He looked at her again and said, ‘Your ticket has expired’.

She tried again: ‘No Papaji. I can show it to you. It’s still valid and I can use it any time over the next few weeks. What should I do?’

Papaji replied, ‘I don’t want to see it and I don’t need to see it. Your ticket has expired.’

That was the end of the conversation. A couple of weeks later she decided that she wasn’t going to go home at all. She cashed in the return leg of the journey and went to tell Papaji what she had done.

He looked at her and said, ‘I told you that your ticket had expired but you didn’t listen to me’.

He knew that she wasn’t going anywhere. The moment he saw her he knew that it was her destiny to stay in Lucknow. Almira remained with Papaji for the last five years of his life, without once leaving the country.

In early 1993 Papaji planned a big foreign tour. Those who could afford it had booked tickets to follow him around the world. The rest of us, who couldn’t afford the trip, were resigned to staying in Lucknow until he returned. Someone wrote him a letter in satsang, asking him not to abandon the people there and go on a long trip. He looked up and said, ‘If anyone wants me to stay, they can try to persuade me’. Almira was the only one who responded. She ran up to him with tears in her eyes and begged him not to leave. He made no comment at the time, but the following day two Sikh travel agents arrived at his house with twelve round-the-world tickets in their hands, and ear-to-ear grins on their faces. This had been a very profitable booking for them.

He looked at them and said, ‘I’m not going anywhere. Who told you I was going on a trip?’

Their faces dropped. Papaji told one of the people he was having lunch with to tell everyone else that the trip was off. Halls and hotels had been booked all over the world, but the whole trip was cancelled because one devotee had enough devotion to compel him to stay at home.


Almira with Papaji in a forest on the outskirts of Lucknow


Almira had had well-paid jobs in the West, but years of living in Osho communities and traveling to India had exhausted her funds. Needing some means of financing her stay in Lucknow, she rented a house near Papaji’s, furnished it, and then rented out individual rooms to visitors who wanted to live near Papaji to attend his satsangs. Many people who had decided to stay full-time in Lucknow did the same thing. This meant that there was usually an over-supply of rooms. The guest house provided Almira with a minimal living, but there were several occasions when she went into debt. When the debts spiralled out of control, she would go to Papaji and tell him about her money problems. Sometimes he would help her in a mundane way by telling new people that they should go and stay in her guest house. At other times the help bordered on the near-miraculous. After one such plea for help, he showed her a letter that had just come from America.

‘The people who wrote this are looking for a whole house near me for a month,’ he said. ‘Move into your guest house for that period and let them have your own house. You can charge then $1,000 for the month.’

That was an outrageous sum to ask. Most of the guest house rooms went for about $3 a night. The most expensive house in the neighbourhood could have been rented for a small fraction of that amount. Almira obeyed and her tenants, a prosperous-looking yuppie couple, handed over $1,000 on the day they arrived, without demurring in any way. The next morning they went to satsang, had some sort of experience, came home and announced that they were leaving because they had got what they came for. Almira’s spirits sank because she knew that she would have to return almost all of the $1,000 she had collected from them the day before. The couple, though, were too blissed out to quibble over money. They let her keep the whole amount, packed their bags, left, and were never seen again. Almira was back in her house about eighteen hours after she left it, with all her debts paid off.


Me, Papaji and Almira in her house


That outcome of that story could be written off as a fortunate coincidence, but I don’t think the next one can. Before I tell it, I have to give some background information. When Almira was still a prosperous businesswoman, many people were putting their money into antique coins as an investment. Almira decided to do the same and did some research on the matter. She came up with the name of a coin dealer whom everyone said was the most reliable. Unfortunately, she ended up dealing with a man who was also a coin dealer who coincidentally had the same name but a far inferior reputation. He sold her $20,000 worth of coins whose value plummeted over the succeeding years. In addition to the value of the coins diminishing almost to zero, the coins themselves physically disappeared. She had left them in her mother’s house in Boston, but her mother was one of those people who never threw anything away. The coins became misplaced in a basement that was crammed from floor to ceiling with decades of junk. Periodically, Almira would call home from Lucknow and ask her mother to try to find the coins.

I would occasionally hear her pleading on the phone: ‘Please, mum, just go down there and have a look. If you find any of them, sell them and send me the money. I don’t care how much money I have lost on the investment, just sell them for whatever they are worth.’

None of these calls resulted in any of the coins being sold or even discovered. Then, one Deevali, Swami Ramanananda, an old Punjabi devotee, persuaded Papaji to do the traditional Dhanalakshmi puja in his, Papaji’s, house. A picture of Dhanalakshmi was bought from the nearby market, and Papaji personally did a puja it. The next day, as she was cleaning up the house, Almira decided that she liked the picture and asked Papaji if she could take it home with her. Papaji agreed. Now, since Dhanalakshmi is the goddess of wealth, Almira decided to enlist her help in her never-ending financial struggles. She put the picture on a table in her house, decorated it with flowers, and did a ‘puja’ to it. I put the word ‘puja’ in quotation marks because Almira had not the slightest idea how to perform a proper puja. I remember her once celebrating Sivaratri in Papaji’s house by throwing flowers at a statue of Siva while simultaneously singing ‘Happy Sivaratri to you!’ to the tune of ‘Happy birthday to you’. Any watching pujaris would have cringed, but what they would have failed to appreciate was the level of devotion she incorporated into her bizarre and child-like rituals. When Almira sang, the gods listened; if she asked for favours, quite often they would be granted. With her innocence and her devotion, she had a hotline to God.

The first puja she did to Dhanalakshmi was to ask for tenants for her guest house. The next day enough people arrived to fill all the rooms. The following day, while I was in her living room, she told me how Dhanalakshmi had filled her guest house and asked me what else she should ask for.

As a joke I said, ‘Look at the picture; she seems to be in the coin business.’ Dhanalakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is always depicted with an open palm from which is cascading a shower of gold coins. ‘Why don’t you ask her to inspire your mother to go down into her basement and find those coins?’

Almira thought this was a great idea. She collected a huge basket of flowers and some candles and threw petals at the picture while she narrated the story of the coins in a made-up unmusical chant. ‘O Dhanalakshmi, fifteen years ago I bought these coins for $20,000, but now my mum has lost them, Om swaha!’ She would throw in an ‘Om swaha!’ every line or two as a concession to the Hindu nature of the ritual, but the rest consisted of the story she wanted to tell, set to her own spontaneously composed musical chant. It took about ten minutes and a garden full of petals to get the message across.

A few hours later the phone rang; it was her brother calling from America.

‘I was down in the basement, looking for something when I found those coins that you have been asking about. I took them to a coin dealer and asked how much they were worth now. I remember you saying that they were virtually valueless. The dealer said that prices had gone up recently and that your collection is now worth $10,000. What should I do?’

Almira sold them and the money kept her going for a long time.

This idiosyncratic way of approaching God was known to everyone in Lucknow. Towards the end of his life Papaji would encourage people to sing songs in satsang. Some of the people who liked to sing went off and learned bhajans; others would spend hours rehearsing their songs and their instruments. Singing in front of Papaji was quite an ordeal. There would be 200 people behind you listening to your performance, while Papaji would be gazing at you from the front, less than six feet away. Under his mind-stopping gaze many people would forget their words, or even forget that they had come up to sing a song.

Almira had no inhibitions. Though she could rarely manage to hit six right notes consecutively, she never practiced or thought in advance about what she was going to do. Her only preparations would be to bring a large basket of rose petals. When her turn came, she would burst out with sunny, optimistic children’s songs which affirmed that all was well with the world. Her favourite was:

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!

My, oh my, what a wonderful day!

Plenty of sunshine heading my way!

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!

Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder.

It’s the truth, it’s actual

everything is satisfactual.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!

Wonderful feeling, wonderful day!


Closely followed by:


When the red, red, robin

comes bob, bob, bobbin’

along, along,

there’ll be no more sobbin’

when he starts throbbin’

his old sweet song.

Wake up, wake up you sleepy head,

get up, get up, get out of bed,

cheer up, cheer up, the sun is red,

live, love, laugh and be happy.

What if I’ve been blue,

now I’m walking through

fields of flowers,

rain may glisten

but still I listen

for hours and hours.

I’m just a kid again, doing what I did again,

singing a song,

when the red, red, robin

comes bob, bob, bobbin’ along.


The only item in her repertoire that was remotely philosophical was:


Row, row, row your boat

gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

life is but a dream.


All these would be sung with an unselfconscious gusto as she hurled handfuls of petals at Papaji’s feet, or up in the air. Papaji had somehow removed large portions of her intellect, leaving only a child-like jiva who delighted in children’s songs and games. People relate to God in different ways. Almira’s relationship to Papaji was of a small daughter who tried to please her stern and occasionally wrathful daddy with love and children’s songs. People who watched her perform in front of Papaji would have been astounded to learn that she had a PhD, and that for several years in the 1980s she was a financial enforcer for the World Bank. She would go to Latin American countries that had taken loans from the IMF, march into the offices of the military rulers and tell them which government enterprises had to be closed in order to meet the terms of the IMF loan that the country had been granted.

One aspect of the Hindu tradition that she really did relate to was worship of the Guru’s feet. Papaji normally didn’t go for this kind of thing, but there were a few devotees who loved performing this ritual so much, he let them do it. Almira was one of them. Even so, he only let them do it on Guru Poornima. In the mid-90s a British sculptor, Om, came to Lucknow and made a bronze bust of Papaji’s head. He also made a cast of Papaji’s feet which he turned a bronze plate that had an indentation of Papaji’s bare feet on it. I think three bronzes were made of the feet, one of which ended up with Almira. For the rest of her life this bronze casting, mounted on a circular plinth, traveled with her everywhere she went. It would occupy the front passenger seat if she was driving anywhere, and she put it on her knee on plane trips. It was bulky and heavy, but it was always the first chosen item to accompany her on a plane trip. Wherever she set up a new home, and there were many such places in the last decade of her life, the feet would be given pride of place on her Papaji altar.


Papaji resting his bare feet in the bronze casting that was made from them. You can see the indentation under his left big toe.


Papaji had a liking for sweets, fried food, and just about anything that would raise his glucose and cholesterol levels. He was a diabetic with high blood pressure, but he didn’t care what he ate, or what it did to his body. Those who looked after him would try to make him cut back on salt, sugar and fried food, but they were rarely successful for very long. If his diet was being too strictly enforced at home, Papaji would accept invitations to eat in devotees’ houses, where he knew he could be guaranteed a good supply of forbidden foods. He would sometimes take some of us with him, but to make sure that his dietary treat was not curtailed, he would occasionally give us a lecture on what he called ‘Indian customs’.

‘When you are served in homes here, it is not polite to refuse what you are offered. If devotees serve me with love and put food on my plate, I must eat it.’

Of course, he would have arranged in advance for a particular menu to be served, one that usually included all his favourite foods, particularly the ones that the foreign devotees in his own house refused to make for him on health grounds. About ten days before he went into hospital for the last time, he was invited to the house of an ayurvedic doctor for breakfast. He went with Raj Prabhu, one of his old devotees from Karnataka, and Almira was invited to go along to look after Raj’s small daughter while they talked and ate. The doctor, who should have known better, served a gigantic plate of jelabis – sweets fried in liquefied sugar – and Papaji apparently ate them all with great relish. In this period of his life the progression of his late-onset diabetes had reached such a stage, he couldn’t walk without two people supporting him, one on each side. He couldn’t even put his pants on by himself, but that didn’t stop him from trying to indulge in foods that would make his health even worse. As an aside I will say that I am sure that he knew, to the nearest day, when he was going to die. He had no intention of trying to prolong his life by depriving himself of all the things that he enjoyed.

Living in Papaji’s house could sometimes be a bit of a dietary ordeal. Devotees would arrive throughout the day, bearing gifts of sweets and fried foods. These would be distributed as prasad, and everyone there would be expected to eat a portion. When this happened ten times in a day, it was inevitable that the weight of the people who stayed and worked there would increase. It happened to me, and it happened even more to Almira, because she spent almost the whole day there. I worked in Satsang Bhavan for much of the day, writing and researching Nothing Ever Happened, so I escaped the worst bodily effects of the prasad. Almira’s weight ballooned because she could never say ‘no’ to anything that came from Papaji. In the years she was there her weight went from fairly normal to about 50 pounds overweight. This affected her health because the ligaments and tendons in her knees were damaged. The excess weight made it increasingly painful for her to move around.

About two weeks before Papaji passed away Almira was sitting in his bedroom, cross-legged on the floor. Several other people were there. Papaji had been lying down. He sat up, swung his legs off the bed and attempted to put them on the floor, but one of his feet accidentally landed on Almira’s knee. He appeared not to notice and chatted for a few seconds as his foot rested on her knee. Then, removing his foot, he rose up and went to the bathroom. When Almira stood up she realised that she no longer had any pain in either of her knees. Papaji had watched her limp around his house for years, without saying or doing anything, but as a final parting gift he took away the problems that her devoted over-eating had caused.


Almira massaging Papaji's feet in his living room


Around 1994 satsangs had been cancelled for a few days because Papaji had been sick. During this period he suddenly announced that he wanted to have a satsang, and when some people in his house told him that he was too ill to go, he replied, ‘I have to go today. One of my old friends is waiting for me.’

Of course, we all wanted to know who it was, but he didn’t seem to know. He just repeated, ‘I have to go there today because an old friend has come to meet me’.

We all waited for the ‘friend’ to appear and introduce himself, but no one who fitted that category came up to see him. However, as Papaji was entering the satsang hall, he took a detour from his usual route and went to a newly arrived mother who was holding a six-month-old baby in her arms. He spent about a minute with the baby before proceeding to his chair.

Afterwards he told Almira, ‘Make sure this baby comes to satsang every day. If the mother can’t come for some reason, collect the baby and bring him.’

We decided that this baby was Papaji’s ‘old friend’ come back in a new form, but he never confirmed this himself. I forget what the original name of the baby was, but Papaji renamed him Madan. He and his mother, Kranti, were Korean.

Madan was a delightful baby who ate prodigious amounts of food – almost as much as I did, it seemed to me. I never heard him cry in the first year I knew him. The only noise that ever came from his mouth was laughter. His face would crease into a grin and long peals of laughter would erupt and continue for minutes at a time. When he was a year old Papaji performed the traditional head-shaving that Indian children undergo at this age, and afterwards Almira wrapped him in a small orange robe and took a photo of him. The memory of that photo has always remained with me. Madan looked like a laughing baby Buddha.

Almira decided that Papaji had somehow entrusted Madan’s spiritual welfare to her. She took the ‘make sure he comes to satsang’ instruction very seriously, both before and after Papaji passed away. With his mother’s approval Almira became a kind of godmother to Madan. She spent a huge amount of time with him, playing with him, reading to him, and taking him on trips. In recent years she arranged for him to spend two years in a US school where she had taken a job as an administrator. A few years ago both Almira and Madan lived here in Tiruvannamalai. I remember Madan, who at that time was about six or seven years old, coming to the samadhi hall every Monday evening to chant Aksharamanamalai. He would bow to Ramana and then take his seat next to the president of Ramanasramam on the front row of the chanters. He didn’t know the Tamil words, but whenever the refrain ‘Arunachala Siva, Arunachala Siva, Arunachala Siva, Arunachala!’ started, he would sing it loudly, and with great gusto.

A couple of weeks ago Almira was due in London the meet Madan, who was going to fly in from Korea with his mother. They were going to have a holiday together, visiting castles in England. Madan loved castles, and all the battle and siege paraphernalia that went with them. Almira flew first to Ireland, but driving away from the airport she ended up in a collision with a bus. Her body was crushed by the impact and she died instantaneously.

Almira’s body was cremated in Ireland and the ashes will be brought to India to be thrown into the Ganga. Kranti and Madan flew there to attend the ceremony. In an email Kranti sent just before she left to go there, she promised that she and Madan would sing ‘Zip-a-dee-doo-dah’ during the cremation. I know Almira would have loved that. Here in Tiruvannamalai ten people who knew her gathered for a memorial lunch in my house. We all told our stories about Almira, ate the lunch, and then tucked into a huge specially-made chocolate cake that had ‘Hip Hip Hooray!’ written on the top. She would have loved that as well.

20 comments:

arvind said...

Sorry to hear of the passing away of your friend. With her great bhakti as described by you, she would undoubtedly be at the feet of her Guru.

Her mode of departure reminds one of "the glorious transition to a freer life" of the lady "Peace Pilgrim" (her words to describe death) in a head-on collision whilst she was being driven in a car to a speaking engagement, sometime in 1981.

Krishnanand said...

Dear David

Thanks for putting up an excellent and moving account of Almira's devotion to Papaji .Also extremely sorry to hear her sad demise .
You had mentioned that she was first part of the Osho Organization in Pune and Oregon .Can u throw light on what made her shift to Papaji . Was she one of the many devotees of Osho who flocked to Papaji after Osho's death for the reason that they had to be close to a living Master ?Had she met Osho personally and had interaction with him like the way she had with Papaji? If so what difference she felt ?Would be happy if you share these details if you know of the same .

David Godman said...

Krishnanand

I mentioned at the beginning of the post that she was summoned to Lucknow by Papaji himself.

She spent seven years in Pune with Osho, and a year or so in Oregon with him. In Oregon she drove one of the school buses on the Osho ranch since only US citizens were allowed to do that particular job.

I don't think she had much personal contact with Osho in Pune. She attended his daily darshans and talks but she didn't have any one-on-one conversations there. I seem to recollect that one of her main jobs there was stringing the malas that Osho gave out when he initiated new devotees.

Murali said...

Its moving and sad to hear the account of her. However, how lucky and blessed she is for being a spiritual daughter of Papaji. What punyas should we have done to get this.

Regards Murali

Krishnanand said...

David

Thanks for ur prompt reply .I do saw ur account of what attracted Almira to Papaji .But I read somewhere that many of Osho's Western devotees came to Papaji after Osho's death .Did each one have a personal call like Almira or was it a general wave of awakening among many Western devotees of Osho to be closer to a real master i.e Papaji after Osho's death .Kindly treat this question as a general one .

David Godman said...

One or two Osho devotee came to Lucknow in 1991 and had waking up experiences in Papaji's presence. They went back to Pune and started telling the people there what had happened to them. The news spread and within a few months the satsangs went from being in Papaji's living room, with about fifteen people attending, to a hall about a kilometre away where about 150-200 people would show up each day.

So, to answer your question, I would say that for the vast majority of people from Pune it was the prospect of a direct experience that drew them to Lucknow, rather than any personal call from Papaji himself.

Anonymous said...

You've just brought Almira back to life with your excellent, heart-warming post! From being an IMF debt collector to an innocent Papaji devotee..quite a journey! The most hilarious part of the article for me was this: "I remember her once celebrating Sivaratri in Papaji’s house by throwing flowers at a statue of Siva while simultaneously singing ‘Happy Sivaratri to you!’ to the tune of ‘Happy birthday to you’." lol..however what was not hilarious was the devotion with which she conducted her pujas and served Papaji. Reading this post made my day. I'd like to conclude my comment with this:
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!
My, oh my, what a wonderful day!

Bill said...

David, Thank you for sharing this heart-warming information about my sister, Almira, whom I always called Ruthie. It was a shock to learn of her death. My brother, younger sister, and I went to Ireland last week, met Kranti and Madan there, and had her body cremated and then we spread her ashes at a beach Ruthie (Almira) loved near Sneem, Ireland with gentle Irish music playing in the background. She had written in her Will that after her death she wanted her ashes spread in a body of water near where she died, so we followed that guidance, instead of having her ashes spread in the Ganges. She was the devoted, loving, energetic and childlike person you described. We all miss her dearly.
Thank you again, Bill Dickerson, Bethesda, Maryland

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Deeply moved by this account of a truly great devotee, David.
Going by the sheer beauty and depth of her devotion, it is safe to assume that Almira is now and will always be under the care of her Guru.

May all of us be blessed with even a drop of her devotion.

omshamo@gmail.com said...

Thanks David...a beautiful tribute to my sister, my best friend. All is well. A beautiful life with Grace , laughter and freedom. She focused Inward and is Free. When I saw Her a few weeks ago here in New Mexico she said "You know , it's all an illusion".
ma anand shamo

herenow said...

Hey David
Thank You for the beautiful words about Almira.
I had the privilege and joy of spending time as a lodger at your house in Lucknow.
I wish her and you well as this mysterious unfolding continues.

Anonymous said...

There are four lovely memorial videos of Almira here:

http://tinyurl.com/437mvu
http://tinyurl.com/3tjsc6
http://tinyurl.com/45t7kx
http://tinyurl.com/3qw7r2

Arunachala Rama said...

David,

Thanks a ton for posting this. Really moving. Almira had both heart and brain. Indeed rare.

This post really moved me to tears.

Regards
Rama

miriam hard said...

Dear David,
Almira has been on my mind lately which always leaves a smile on my face and a laugh from my heart. What a gift she was in our lives and still feels so close to me. An inspiration through and through.

Miriam

Anonymous said...

Love , Love , Always Love....Almira's closing message on letters. Yes Miriam , she is very present with me lately too ...maybe with Papa's Birthday coming. She is my pathfinder , my Heart , reminder to Go IN. Love. Shamo, aka Janie janieishop@hotmail.com

herenow said...

Hey David
Thank You for the beautiful words about Almira.
I had the privilege and joy of spending time as a lodger at your house in Lucknow.
I wish her and you well as this mysterious unfolding continues.

omshamo@gmail.com said...

Thanks David...a beautiful tribute to my sister, my best friend. All is well. A beautiful life with Grace , laughter and freedom. She focused Inward and is Free. When I saw Her a few weeks ago here in New Mexico she said "You know , it's all an illusion".
ma anand shamo

miriam hard said...

I am thinking of Almira today on her death/birth anniversary. She still inspires me and makes me laugh and reminds me it is all a dream.

Bill said...

Dear David, Miriam, and others,
I am deeply touched to read or re-read your comments on my sister, Ruth (Almira), on this the 3rd anniversary of our loss. We are still blessed with the memories of her joy and love.
Bill Dickerson, Bethesda, MD

Anonymous said...

Thank you Miriam. I met with Jahanavie in Santa Fe to celebrate Almira on May 12, 2011 .We had a puja at the Buddha Stupa and it was lovely. We had incense , candles , food, water , photos , jewelry , Papa .She had even a brought a photo of Almira and You. Love. Shamo
janiebishop@hotmail.com