When I think of our daughter, Lynn, a mosaic of bright images comes to mind... Lynn, the child of whimsy improviser of games and stories which delighted her friends. As one of them would later say, "Wherever Lynn was, there was laughter." ...Lynn, the true Bal Vikas pupil who loved to show reverence for her parents ...serving me breakfast on "Mother's Day" and tenderly caring for her father as he recovered from surgery ...Lynn, the honor student, who loved school,... Lynn, the child who at 14 when other girls of her age talk about boys preferred to sing Bhajans and yes, climb trees... and most of all, a Lynn who loved Baba with a devotion which would awaken an introspective quality in her and a desire for solitude in which to write poems and thoughts of Baba in her diary. Indeed, her intensity of devotion would draw her two younger brothers and her parents closer to God.
Lynn and Holy Company
It was in the winter of 1974 that I prayed for holy company. I know now it was Baba who answered my prayer; for, soon afterwards, through a dear friend, we learned about Him, and Lynn and I began coming to Bhajans at our Santa Barbara Sai Baba Centre.
It was Lynn, who, after seeing our first Baba film at the centre, said, "Mummy, we must have our own meditation corner." She promptly removed all the books from a recessed book case in our back hall, and thenceforth it was our altar where we meditate daily.
My hopes and unspoken prayers for the children's spiritual education were quickly answered by Baba, when, shortly after joining the Sai family, our head of centre formed a Bal Vikas class. Thus, at Thursday, evening Bhajans and again on Sunday at Bal Vikas Class, Lynn's devotion had precious opportunities to grow and to flower.
Indeed, she was the only child present at the daily celebration of Dasara and was proud and happy when asked to participate in the reading of the Chandi, on the culminating evening of Dasara that fall of 1975 I remember seeing tears of joy in Lynn's eyes as she offered a flower to the Mother. And, at Shivaratri, some six weeks before her passing, while many adults were too tired to continue, Lynn's ardor sustained her (as it had the previous year) through the night long vigil of meditation, prayer and Bhajan.
At times like these my pride in her devotion was tempered by occasional thoughts that perhaps her zeal was being guided tenderly by our Lord and prepared for the culmination of her short life.
Lynn seeks the Lamp of God
It was Thursday afternoon, ten days before Easter, the all important date on the Christian calendar which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. School had finished for the day. Lynn had gone to the park, and I knew she was heading for the tall pine, her favourite climbing tree. I remember watching from the kitchen window as she darted off, calling in her sweet voice for our dog, Jupiter, to follow.
Only 45 minutes later a neighbour came to tell me that Lynn had a fall. In her haste to help her brother, David, who had been bitten by a strange dog and was crying, she had stepped on a broken branch and fallen some 12 feet to the ground.
As I ran, I heard Lynn call, "Mommy!" Mommy!" And as I reached her side she seemed to know that I was with her. She lay quietly and did not seem to be in pain; though I had no idea she was so near death. I prayed earnestly as I held her hand, "Baba, please be with Lynn, please be with Lynn..." An hour later, in the Catholic hospital nearby, a priest was administering the last rite's as she quietly passed on.
Numb with grief, I asked Baba for reassurance. The first thought that came was: Why, it is Thursday, Baba's day. Indeed, two short hours after Lynn's passing, Bhajans and prayers of our Santa Barbara centre were lifting her spirit. That night I could not sleep. I was tormented by the knowledge that Lynn, stunned by her fall, had perhaps been unable to think of Baba at the time of her going. The next morning when I went into her room, Baba had already answered my anguish. There on Lynn's desk were her last words, written just before going to the park. They were a fateful synthesis of the morning prayers: "O, Lord, I rise now from the womb of slumber. Before I plunge again into the daily routine, Let me pray most earnestly to Thee, omniscient Self, and SEEK THY LAP, which confers on me restful sleep and blesses me with eternal peace and everlasting bliss."
To be Continued...