Winter Solstice Liberation: Mahasamadhi, The Last Asana

December 21, Winter Solstice 2013

Some of you may have read this story before. This week, I received a letter from a friend who had just read it for the first time.

He wrote: “You have no idea what a joy it was to stumble across your account of Ruth’s passing. As you may recall, my wife and I were best friends with Ruth for many years. We lived in her apartment; she took us in when times were tough, and later on we lived across the street from her. She wrote to us sporadically after we left Ojai. We found out about her death and its manner through a third party. So many memories of Ruth return with reading your account. She had told us years earlier that this was the way she’d probably die.”

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Winter Solstice Liberation: Mahasamadhi, the Last Asana

December 1987

In the end—and it will end—your life will seem to have sped by like a fleeting dream.

—Doris “Granny D” Haddock

The Winter Solstice is upon us. It was at this time of year, many years ago, that I rode my bicycle over to Eucalyptus Street, as I often did, to see my old friend Ruth. It was a crisp, sunny day after a long rain, and I was not really in the mood to be stuck indoors, but Ruth had called to say she had something important to tell me.

The moment I stepped inside, I could sense that something was up. Shirley, the next-door neighbor who checked on Ruth twice a day, was in the kitchen dumping oatmeal into the garbage disposal. She didn’t waste any words telling me what was going on. 

Ruth says she’s going to…

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