Impact of Ammaji's Passing on the Ashram Family - 19 Dec 12

19 Dec 2012  Vrindavan, India

Category: Ashram

Ammaji preparing Garam Masala

Ammaji preparing Garam Masala

Obviously, Ammaji’s sudden passing has had a big effect on us, the closest members of the family, but it does not stop there by far. The whole Ashram family and the complete Ashram life is affected and we are still feeling the impact of the shock that this was for the Ashram.

Ammaji was not only our mother, but a mother for all. For years she has given her motherly love to the boys who are living at the Ashram, who come from families who could not afford raising them. Ammaji was mother to a big number of these boys and currently it is six of them who live here and who have been mourning her loss with us. She practically raised Jaysingh and Pawan, who have been with us several years now.

Several members of our staff knew Ammaji for years, too. There is Mamta and her family, who joined us eight or nine years ago. There are Gopal and Babu, who have been at the Ashram for three and a half years. There are Rajaram, Rampal, Devaki, Rukmani and Varsha who have known Ammaji for years, too and then there are so many more who joined more recently. Several of our staff members live at the Ashram or close-by. All of them are working here but the Ashram is more than just a workplace, it is a family. They daily talked to Ammaji, asked her about their tasks, listened to her instructions and did everything with her, obviously also sharing about their lives. All of them were shocked and saddened and they realized how much the Ashram had to change because of her passing.

They all have to do their tasks on their own now, without Ammaji’s guiding hand. She is the one who trained all our kitchen staff from zero. Now they cannot ask her anymore if there should be a bit more of some spice or if the dish should now be on high or low heat – they have to do it by themselves. They have to remember to make yoghurt and ghee because Ammaji is not there anymore to remind them. They need to keep an order in the store and see themselves what is there and what is not, what has to be bought and what will still last.

Without Ammaji, everything is different but I have to praise our staff, too, at this point. Ammaji has trained them well and they do their best to keep life as similar to before as possible. They have prepared her recipes, we even had Gajar ka Halwa, and yes, it is the same recipe. When they made Doodh Bhat, they even remembered to make a separate bowl for Ramona without cardamom, which she does not like. Of course, for me, I am missing the taste of her hands, her love in the food. I now think we could have five or six cooks to prepare our food but still my mother won’t be there to feed us so it won’t be the same. Nevertheless, our staff members do the best they can and they do great, remembering her with what they are doing.

Of course, she is just on everyone’s tongue. On the second day after Ammaji’s death, Ramona was in Ammaji’s room – which will always stay ‘Ammaji’s room’ – and sent Jaysingh to call me over, too. He came in and as usual said ‘Ammaji bola rahi hai’, Ammaji is calling. He was shocked himself about how easily her name came over his tongue and immediately corrected himself but he and we had already become sad about the fact that she would never call us again.

So she was everywhere and is still in our thoughts everywhere. I want to close today’s diary with the words of one of our guests, who was here when she passed away:

What a great person a woman was who leaves such a big hole when she died. And she herself just always saw herself as a simple woman! But the family is strong in their unity and together life will go on, with Ammaji as a shining example in the minds and hearts.

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Tags:: Ashram, Family, Sadness, Change, Ammaji

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Posted By Swami Balendu

Swami Balendu

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