Chapa Plant for Our Tuni – The Work of Moving On

Flowering Chapa Planted for Tuni

Flowering Chapa Planted for Tuni

It’s been a week since I bathed in the Ganges.  I’ve been living in two places at once.  I am enclosed in some misty and mystical place with Tuni and memories.  I also attend to our life at Shishur Sevay, with our 14 other children.  It’s a cliche, but Tuni’s death has brought us closer, and if ever the girls and staff doubted my sincerity, I think they understand.

Sunday: I organized pictures of Tuni by date because I want to write the story, or maybe I just needed to organize the pictures.  I wrote a report for the government with pictures and with text… I made copies of her medical papers and the death certificate.   I played with Archi in a tub of water.  I cut the hair of two of the girls.

Monday;  Purba and I took the report to the CWC (Child Welfare Committee).  We then stopped by the home of our  President, Judge S.S. Ganguly (retd.) to bring him up to date on Tuni’s death.  Then we went to the Directorate of Social Welfare to leave a report there, and to hand in our papers for license renewal.

Tuesday:  It rained all night Monday and the roads were flooded by morning.  It was like snow days in the US.  Some staff could make it through, others not.  There is a special cozy feeling to such days.  I cleaned my office.  I really did.  The girls cleaned the metal grilles… grounding work for all of us, and time to be together.

Wednesday:  More rain… school closed until Monday.  I slept a lot.  Things fine here…. we are all recovering.  We talk about Tuni.   In our evening prayers we pray for her safe journey

Thursday:  Met with some people who want to help us raise the funds for an elevator.  Estimates had come in by email that morning. This is exciting

Friday:  I remembered in the night that the men at the burial ground had told us we could bring a plant.  I wasn’t sure exactly where it would go or what it was for, but it was unfinished business.   They wanted a Chapa Plant with fragrant white flowers.  We had planted a small Chapa in 2006 and now it towers over the house.  Bijoy and I went out and bought two plants, about 4 ft high, and a neem tree sapling for our house. Then we drove out to the burial ground where we were warmly received.  We planted the trees in the rain.  It was good.  I’ll write more about this at another time.

Planting a tree is not part of any specific tradition, but I needed to do it.  It was a marker…. a third marker.  The first was her death; the second was that I bathed in the Ganges; the third was that I planted a tree.

Back at home, life was continuing as usual.  I took this picture of Barnani reading to Kalpana and Ganga.

Barnani reading to Kalpana and Ganga from her frvorite story book.

Barnani reading to Kalpana and Ganga from her frvorite story book.

Another haiku from years ago

Practicing winter

Does not blunt the icy shards,

Mother’s heart is pierced.


Good night from Shishur Sevay in Panchabatitala, where New Alipore meets Behala in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, South Asia, Planet Earth, The Milky Way Galaxy, in the Universe.


Today I Bathed in the Ganges

Tuni at Rest.

Tuni at Rest.

Today I bathed in the Ganges.  Tuni Harrison died on the 14th of August 2013.  She had heart surgery the day before, but her heart gave out.  Today, three days after her death, Bijoy and I went to the river, with a Priest, and gave rites to send her on her journey.  We offered clothes, food, milk, flowers, incense, and so many prayers.  And then we immersed ourselves in the river three times, and pushed water out into the river three times, and I cried because I want her journey to be wonderful while I also want her back in my arms.  I accept, but I am bereft.  Even as I send her off to be with the Gods, I also call for her to come back soon.  I’ll be looking for her.  I will always be looking for her.  When she came into my life I felt as if I’d always been looking for her.  When she died I felt that I’d lost someone I’d always known.

Souls sang to my heart,

The winds taking them afar,

My nestlings flourished.

Yes this is true.  My children, my nestlings, flourished.  And when they were grown, I went looking for where the winds had taken the others.  Tuni came home to me, and now she is gone… Like a little God, she came and filled our hearts, and the hearts of so many around the world, and then she left….. with the slightest smile on her sleeping face.

I am raw.  My life is raw.  I am immersed, as if in the Ganges.  Tuni came for a purpose, a light and a gift, but I think we are only at the beginning of her impact in our lives.

In the days ahead I will write and post pictures of the last seven days.  It was just a week ago that I took her for an evaluation and the doctors decided we could not wait for surgery as her blue spells were increasing, and medication was not helping.  Here at Shishur Sevay we arranged for an oxygen concentrator and bought a pulse oxymeter.  It was frightening when she would turn blue, and cry and then go limp…..

Today I bathed in the Ganges.

Coming out from the Ganges

August 2013
%d bloggers like this: