We are mourning Anjuli (Didi) Woodward

Didi means big sister.  Anjuli stayed with us for ten days in October.  She was born in Kolkata, adopted as an infant from International Mission of Hope (IMH), and loved returning to India to visit and to volunteer.  She loved being in India and she loved being home with her family.  On this trip she bought carefully chosen Christmas presents to bring home to her parents and each of her brothers and sisters.  Anjuli died two days ago, driving to work.  She hit ice, spun out of control, and went into an oncoming truck.  She died instantly.

Our girls and our staff are sad, tears are flowing.  Gibi is especially shaken as Anjuli, like she and others here, were part of the world of IMH.  We have become the unofficial stopping place for adoptees wanting contact with their pasts in Kolkata.  For Gibi, Anjuli was one of her children, as well as a young women she came to know well on this visit.

Our girls have had many losses in their lives.  Last night we talked about that, about holding in your heart the people you loved and who have left.  We have set up a pandal with Anjuli’s picture, flowers from our garden, prasad, candles… and on one side of her picture are Lakshmi and Ganesh.  On the other side is a small lighted picture of Mary and Jesus, a gift from one of our teachers.  We had prayers for her last night.  Tonight Seema will come and read two Bengali poems from a collection I found.  One is about the loss of a mother; the other about the loss of a Didi.  Tomorrow night we will have songs for Anjuli, and then begin our Christmas.

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