Is With Me"
Lewis became a devotee of Avatar Adi Da Samraj in 1974 when she was in her
early twenties. For two decades, she served Adi Da as a missionary and cultural
leader. She was well-known for her devotional relationship with Avatar Adi Da,
and she inspired many others in their practice of Adidam. Cathy, her intimate
partner, Jack, and their daughter, Sukey (who was twelve at the time of Cathy's
death), lived and practiced the Way of Adidam in the northern California region
Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary. They contribute in the telling of this
story, along with Jack's mother, Eileen, who is
also Adi Da's devotee.
Throughout her life, Cathy suffered from narcolepsy (a condition characterized
by sudden brief attacks of deep sleep), but had otherwise never shown signs of
In December 1993, Cathy had a series of seizures and was
admitted to the hospital. She was diagnosed with a virus infection in the brain,
and it was thought that it would clear up within weeks. However, further testing
indicated there was a tumor and that surgery would be necessary. In February 1994,
Cathy underwent brain surgery and the tumor was found to be worse than expected.
The doctors gave her six months to live (without treatment) and perhaps three
to five years with chemotherapy and radiation.
Jack describes the early
period of Cathy's illness:
vision of my intimate having such a struggle physically just broke my heart, over
and over again. For me there was always the impulse to try to do something about
it while at the same time I knew there was nothing I could do, that I had no means,
ultimately, to be able to do anything — but still I tried to do whatever I could.
Avatar Adi Da was notified of Cathy's situation early on,
and we received Instruction from Him about what to do and what not to do. Avatar
Adi Da's Instruction to Cathy was essentially that she should prepare for her
death and release everything to the Divine, including any expectations about how
long she might live. He said that the acceptance of the inevitability of death
is fundamental to the practice of the Way of Adidam, and that she should surrender
her concern and live a real life of retreat for the remainder of her life. Beloved
Adi Da also Asked the devotee physicians advising Cathy to make sure that they
kept in mind the quality of her life altogether, and not simply get into a desperate
search for bodily survival at any cost.
I saw in Cathy a growing
resort to Him that was really heart-breaking. Cathy took Beloved Adi Da's Words
to heart, but she was also still very hopeful, especially at the beginning of
the year, that something was going to work — that there was going to be a miracle
and everything was going to turn out all right. But it became clear that something
else was occurring, and she more and more came to terms with the process of the
body dying. It wasn't just that the body was dying, but that its functions were
falling away: the capability to remember, to speak, to walk and maintain balance.
She had to watch and experience her functional being disintegrate. But while all
this was going on, she was becoming increasingly surrendered at the heart and
loving to everyone who came to see her. She continually gave love and energy to
people — it blew my mind.
Many alternatives to conventional
treatment were investigated, and Cathy spent time in Texas at a clinic that employed
an experimental method of treatment with a more impressive success rate than chemotherapy
and none of the side effects.
Place Of Happiness