Dear Vajra Family,

I am finding this so hard to write, but I decided that it was very important to me to do it. So I have decided to follow the advice I have sometimes given others: just blurt it out, there’s no right way to say it. So here goes….

I have got a type of motor neurone disease – bulbar-onset motor neurone disease to be precise, not your common or garden variety. I can’t pronounce Ahhh. I can’t sing the Song of the Vajra. In fact I can’t speak at all anymore, though I can make sounds – vocalisations, they call them – which even my nearest and dearest can rarely make out. It’s very hard to swallow as well. But I can walk along the lane and still climb the stairs. And I’m still able to type.

For a while, long before I was aware of any symptoms, when I was quietly singing the Song of the Vajra in the early morning, sadness would arise in me and tears would flow. I didn’t know why. Sometimes I thought it was because I missed you so much: missed being able to practice and study and live alongside my Vajra Family. Perhaps on some deep level I knew what was coming…..

Right now I am sitting in bed, supported by a pile of pillows. Directly in front of me, Blutacked onto the wardrobe door, is a small picture of Rinpoche in his orange top, leaning slightly to one side showing the great (Tibetan) A in a tigle behind. It comforts me. And it reminds me of my fervent wish that I might continue to follow him after I have died.

To my right is the bedroom window. I am very lucky because I look straight out onto space. Green fields, drystone walls, a low bank of trees in their spring finery, and above them – sky. Beyond the sky – space.

With love,

Helen Storey de Espinoza