"She Is With Me"

Cathy 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 near the 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 serious illness.

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:

The 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.


Next: The Place Of Happiness

Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
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