October 30, 2001
Yes, my sweet Jenny, At the end of your small huge life you attained the ananda of divine union and I bow to you. I do. Yes, propelled suddenly by shakti, by full moon and brain chemistry and karma, by the grace of the God you so fiercely adored, into the innermost chamber of the Beloved, you danced there, the crazy dance of ecstatic love, while helplessly we watched your hands weaving mudras in the air, your smile so radiant it blasted open our hearts and changed us forever. Yes, as the child bride of God, you became the divine mother. Yes, I believe this to be true and I bow to you. Your most ardent new disciple, I do bow to you.
And also, my sweet Jenny, I am a mother who has lost her child. In the midst of terrible beautiful unbridled mothering I am suddenly childless. I cannot find my way through a world that does not have my girl at its center. I do not understand. I don't get why you did not make it through the hurricane season of adolescence, why the vessel of our love, of our ferociously devoted love, did not carry you safely back to me.
Make space, Oh Life. Open impossibly like the Red Sea and make way for the miracle of this loss. I cannot accommodate it except by magic. I am swallowed and swallowed whole. I am on fire. I am flame. I am broken and I am broken. Even as my child has become perfect.
Yes, my sweet Jenny, the ones who see assure me that you have completed your work on earth for now and forever and that you are dwelling in pure bliss. That you have permanently escaped the wheel of samsara, slipped over the garden gate and are free. That you were called and you answered, flying straight to your beloved, and that your chariot could not come back. I saw your face when your empty body was brought to me. It was luminous with rapture. I could see that you did not suffer and I give thanks for this.
Yes, my sweet Jenny, I give thanks, too, for these ten years I was given the grace to be your mommy. In a lifetime of spiritual questing that began when I was exactly your age, you have been my single greatest teacher. Badmash. Rascal. Uncompromisingly direct and tenderly loving teacher. The most intense relationship of my life. The human being who has most radically challenged me and most richly rewarded me. The single soul I have loved most passionately, most unconditionally and at the highest possible cost.
And yes, my sweet Jenny, I melt in the fire of this terrifying loss. You were only 14, filled with the fury and beauty of blossoming, angry and brilliant, stubborn and hilarious, radically independent and intensely determined to be original, your exquisite woman’s body unfolding before our eyes like a flower mistakenly thought to be extinct, your child’s spirit still vulnerable and soft. You wanted to be a doctor, to heal people with your clear intuition and sharp analytical skillfulness. You were picking out colleges, choosing tropical landscapes, falling in love with boys on beaches, reading excellent literature, developing a unique and outrageous style, cultivating spiritual practice, expressing yourself with brutal honesty, bestowing your compassion carefully and with unutterable tenderness. Your sense of humor was quirky and bright, your intellect exceptional. You were on the verge of becoming a remarkable woman with hopes of helping to save this troubled planet, a woman I was so much looking forward to knowing.
Yes, my sweet Jenny, I will celebrate you and I will mourn you for the rest of my life.
And I will tell your story.
Eulogy written by Jenny’s mother, Mirabai Starr
October 30, 2002
Since you left this world all four seasons have turned again The full moon chariot that took you away came back empty
Since you went away our country has tried to take over the world You would have been outraged You would have tried to stop them from hurting each other
Since you went away I have said yes to love at all costs and married the only father you ever had in a ceremony of blowing sun and storm cloud You were everywhere, everywhere that day
Since you went away your sisters’ lives have been transfigured in your memory One has carved a castle out of chaos The other has understood the architecture of the cosmos
Since you went away the bright fire of who you were has cooled and turned into something else Into everything, everything else
Since you went away I have been exalted Your death a flaming sword cutting through the illusion of separation I have fallen in love with all sentient beings
Since you went away I have plummeted to the depths of bitterness forgetting every sacred teaching I ever thought I knew Blaming myself for breathing
Since you went away I have lost you, found you again and again in dream, in meditation at breakfast, at my computer You have been elusive and all-pervading
Since you went away I have lost myself, found myself again and again the woman who was your mother who will never be your mother again who will always be your mother and someone else I am, someone bigger than that
Since you left this world its beauty astonishes me the direct gaze of an infant a little boy telling a dream a double rainbow after months of drought drought itself
Since you left this world I too have left retreating to an interior cave where no one could touch me with their love I have followed you to the underworld in my tiny boat dipping my oars into darkness, into silence trying to get to where you are Defeated, I have headed back
Since you left this world whatever was temporarily wounded between us heals effortlessly and what was always whole and beautiful is blossoming, blossoming
I love you, my sweet Jenny.
On the first anniversary