Vaisnavananda das (ACBSP): Whenever someone passes away, it becomes a cause for bereavement and lamentation. However, when a Vaisnava or Vaisnavi passes, it is a jubilant and glorious occasion. This was highly exemplified by the passing of my former wife, Bhaktin Edna Galicia.
Bhaktin Edna passed away blissfully on March 1, 2011 surrounded by family and dear friends. I‚Äôd like to share some details about her life and passing for the benefit of other devotees. Although Edna never received formal initiation, she accepted Krsna consciousness wholeheartedly. She raised her children as devotees and participated in many temple functions; including the Women‚Äôs Mela held annually back in the 80‚Äôs and 90‚Äôs at Murari Sevak, the Tennessee farm community.
About ten years ago, Edna discovered that she had a liver disease. She did not share the doctor‚Äôs findings with her family or anyone else in order to spare them any anxiety. Over the years, her body gradually deteriorated and soon she required a liver transplant to survive. Shortly before the transplant was to be administered, she suffered a stroke. The doctors stated that as a result of the stroke she was no longer eligible to receive the transplant. Edna at this point realized this was her time, and refused to accept any further treatment or medications and bravely chose to peacefully meet her impending demise.
The family supported her in this decision and came together to help prepare her for this trying event. Her son, Atmarama and Nehda, his fianc√©e sat by her bedside for eight consecutive days chanting Hare Krsna, hardly ever leaving her side only for ablutions and to take short naps. The Govidam prayers played on continuously while her daughters, Sita and Lila Krsna took alternate turns to read to her from the Krsna book. Edna chanted Hare Krsna nonstop before going into a coma.
I regret not having the opportunity to be with her at this final moment of her life, however, I was able to speak on the phone with her shortly before her passing.
When I state that her passing was glorious is because Edna in and out of her coma spoke only of Krsna, calling out his name, ‚ÄúOh Krsna, Oh Gopala, everything is love, everything is so beautiful, the water, the trees, other people…‚ÄĚ she mentioned that she had seen others known to her who had passed, and that they did not look the same but she could recognize them. At first, I thought that she was delirious, but as I further analyzed the content of her statements (and please forgive my conjecture) I ventured to think that possibly Edna was having glimpses of higher spiritual planes, who can say? However, the fact remains that she was continuously chanting the holy name right before her passing; she spoke only of Krsna and exhibited absolutely no fear and fully accepted that this was her time to meet her maker, Lord Krsna!
We are all naturally sad that she has passed and has gone beyond our mortal vision, however, we also deem this occasion to be jubilant, because Edna, we are confident, as stated in Bhagavad Gita 8.6. has gone to a better place.
Edna was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and most importantly a sincere follower of His Divine Grace, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
All glories to Bhaktin Edna Galicia!
Vaisnavananda das (ACBSP)