This gallery is for Suseela, daughter of Mamma and sister of Leela.
Suseela was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in June 2004 and given eight months to live. But that's just something that doctors guess at and life has its own timelines. In the end, it turned out to be eleven weeks.
When she called in June with the news, Leela flew to New Zealand to spend three weeks with her. She had moved out to the tranquility of Clarks Beach, an hour's drive from Auckland, where she could watch the tide come in and go out, revealing what seemed like a mile of shallow beach with long lines of white clouds in the low-lying distance. It was very peaceful, very calming.
When Leela left, Suseela promised to call us in time for Leela and me to visit one last time. We spoke often, as we had over the previous year, and she finally called on August 20th to ask us to come down. We made plans to fly over on August 25th but she passed away two days before we were to arrive. We flew down anyway. I recall someone saying why waste the time since there was nothing to be done for her now. I thought about that and decided that you do these things for yourself... and perhaps for others who will continue to carry the love and memory of that person with them.
Suseela was cremated on August 27th after a ceremony attended by more people than will ever assemble to see me off -- by a factor of ten. It was a lovely service and her son and his father spoke eloquently of the woman they loved. Her daughter Leela, named after Suseela's sister Leela, was there with her.
Suseela was an independent lady who lived by herself with a seaview and more books on helping others than I have ever seen outside a library. As a psychotherapist, she dealt with some of the worst human behavior and the people who caused it and she never stopped learning new ways to help both victims and the people who hurt them.
Those trials are over now and in their place is the wish of her friends and sisters and me that if we called, she would still answer. I had hoped to see her again for we were great friends and I liked, loved and respected her. So, farewell, Suseela... you were a good person, but not so good that I might not see you again.
These photos are from the two days we spent in Clarks Beach and Auckland -- just enough time for a glimpse of life there and to make some new friends and to say goodbye.