27 April 2007


Our dear Readers, our Sisters and Brothers,

This is Suni. I have not written here for some time, but this is a very special day for Mai and I wanted to write an introduction for her. One year ago tonight, she died twice. The person she is now is both the person she was and someone new. All that the good that was in her is still there. She also still has her faults, but they are less pronounced. The person she is now is deeper than the person she was before. I hadn't seen her for twenty years before this happened, but now we are closer than ever. We are sisters and will remain sisters. Now I'll let her talk.

Love to all,


Today is a landmark day for me. One year ago tonight, I died. Twice. Two times. I had a major stroke and was not expected to live. But I am alive. And this has changed me. I had died twice before, once during surgery in 1983 and once in Delhi. The first time I was just glad to be with my husband and son. The second time I was furiously angry not to be with my husband and son.

I want to say one thing about dying. It is easy. It is nothing to dread or to fear. It is not painful or difficult. In fact, in my experience, it isn't anything. I saw no bright lights, no family, I remember no meeting with God. Death is nothing to fear. I feel I have the knowledge and experience to say that. 'Been there, done that.'

Four times in this lifetime I have died a physical death. Twice now, I have drank death from a bowl.* The second time was much deeper and sweeter than than first. I feel cleaner, more real, more alive than I have ever been before.

(*Scroll down to the entry of April 5, 2007. Please go to this link.)

The question, then is WHY am I alive? Everything has a purpose, including my continued existence in this partly functioning body. The cause and the reason are two different things entirely. To me, there can be no debate as to the cause: it is the hukam of Waheguru. S/he has decreed that I shall be alive in this form. And so I am.

But for what reason? I believe, after much ardaas and simran, that I am here to serve in whatever way I can find. This blog is a large part of that. I have learned that some of you have been inspired in various ways through it. I know this because you have written me, and I do appreciate the beautiful correspondence I have with you. It gives joy and meaning to my life. Some of you have suggested that I write a book. Perhaps someday, to be published after my death. But I could not accept any money for it. Then it would cease to be sewa and become just another money-making venture.

My physical recovery has been the fight of my life, a sustained battle against and with my own body. I can, with few exceptions, do everything I did before. I walk and talk and cook and write and knit, not as quickly or as well as before, but that will come with time. I am determined to continue working toward a total recovery. My doctors tell me that that is impossible, but I don't buy it. They also told my husband that I'd never do any of the things I do now, including breathe.

I have not regained my languages other than English. I have been struggling to relearn Gurmukhi, with very little success. This is incredibly frustrating, but I don't give up. I'll keep working on it. English, by the way, is my second language, just by a hair; French was my first. And the French is gone, too. Or rather, I have not yet been able to access those memory banks. I have hope that one day, I'll find the key and the languages will return.

My other daily problem is my hair. The electricity from the defibrillator that saved my life also destroyed my hair. No, that's a little too dramatic. I'm not bald!! But most of it has fallen out and what is left has broken off. So I have a kes that reaches, thinly, only to the middle of my back. And I can't tie it at all. I can wash it and comb it, but I have to rely on others, primarily my husband, to keep it tied and up and out of my mouth. One day try doing that yourself with one hand.

I was upset about the condition of my hair one day - what is left has the texture of lifeless straw - and was whining to my husband about it. (Confession: I don't whine often, but on occasion, I do.) He got annoyed with me and asked, 'What is more important, your hair or your life?' I thought of Bhai Taru, and didn't answer.

Now, please indulge me a bit longer and let me be a bit preachy. I direct this to those of you who are Sikhs.

We have been given a great treasure that we call the Sikh Panth. It is ours to guard, protect, love and, most of all, to live. It is written in our Guru Ji, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. We need him. We need to study and learn and love daily. We need to pass it on to our children.

We need to live lives of courage and conviction. We need to be people that others can look at with admiration. We must never conduct ourselves as objects of ridicule or accept being treated as laughing-stocks. That dishonours us as individuals and also dishonours our Gurus and our shaheeds. This is just my opinion, but I strongly believe that this is correct.

I have rambled on long enough. I still have some time, I think, to add anything I may have forgotten.

I will close with a big heart-felt THANK YOU to all of you for making this past year so rich and full and happy.

Peace, love and blessings,