Personal Stories & Insights From Avatar Students
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Dear Avra, Harry and Miken,

What a blessing to have 8 days of Wizards under my belt when I got the call Monday night, the 23rd, that my mom had suddenly passed away. My roommates were wonderful and got me off the next morning. We've stayed connected, and Beth W., Marilyn, Trudy and Joanie have also accompanied me on this journey. I am grateful for my sanga.

What an amazing transition. Momar was painting up a storm for the previous 2 months (7 paintings) and was having a great time at her former retirement facility for four days prior, returning home Monday afternoon to get a good night's sleep to be ready for her painting class on Tuesday. She was eating dinner, watching CNN... Kevin, her very favorite helper (a darling young man with whom she had a precious connection) looked over the kitchen counter, smiled and waved. She smiled and waved back. A few minutes later he looked again. She was slumped over and gone. No sound. No struggle. No pain. She just stopped. Wow!

How grateful I am to have been especially close these last two years, to have had her in my life for an amazing 96 years, and that she transitioned quickly and without suffering. I also know for certain that without Avatar, I would not have chosen nor had the ability to tend her these last 23 months, mostly and increasingly with great appreciation, love and care. Although she was fiercely independent (fired many a helper who had the gall to treat her as an old person), there were times she traveled almost full circle to needing me, her "mommy", as I had once needed her. As I've wandered our home these last 10 days, I've realized how deeply connected we were (and are) and how many small (occasionally big) ways I contributed to every aspect of her daily life. When she left the hospital and we first moved in together, I put a second bed in her room so I could get up with her at night. She got stronger quite quickly but I continued to be her roommate. In the last two months another deepening occurred. One morning I awakened early and heard her moan in her sleep. I climbed in her bed and we spooned and soon both fell back to sleep. Very sweet. After that, any morning I awakened early and didn't have to get going, I climbed in with her. She so loved it (me too). What a shame that we isolate elders in our society in the way we do. The comfort of touch is so universal and so basic.

The day before she passed, at Wizards, I'd done some work around "letting go". While it applied to all areas and levels in my life, I was conscious of experiencing a shift, a letting go around Momar. Since I knew that she was having a wonderful time at her old retirement facility, I thought she might be moving back there and I was ready to let her go. It turned out the change was a bit bigger than that. I have no doubt the work I did was a factor in her decision (albeit not conscious) to transition. Her creativity and spirit had been high, she had been living it up... a final fling, yet her 96 year old body was clearly wearing out. That her painting (see attachment) became more and more beautiful and much more impressionistic as her macular degeneration advanced is a tribute to the "seeing" possible when whole body feel its and inspiration are allowed to lead.

Thank you for the boost with Wizards (in many ways), and for your continuing love and support. I felt so much joy the first day back, along with the tears. I knew I was not alone in every way, including my sanga holding me/raising me with their/your love. My heart continues to feel the full range but joy and gratitude are the strongest. How lucky I am to know to just let whatever's there flow. I'm slowly letting go of the trappings of my life with Momar but plan on taking some time to feel into what's next. I know Avatar will be an important part.

Lots of love and thank you,
nancy young