Klaziena Margaretha Okken
Born Groningen February 4, 1922
Deceased Zoetermeer August 28, 2005
This morning I was mailed by my brother that my mother is terminal and my ex wife would come and pick me up by car to go and see her in her nursing home in Zoetermeer, one hours drive from Zeist.
When we arrived at 11 a.m. there was a large group of relatives in her room, my own family and the family of my stepfather, about 8-9 people in total. I had always prayed that I could be present when my mother would leave her body, because she was the only member of my family who appreciated my spiritual life. Hours went by and she did not seem to have any intention of leaving her body. A few times my ex and me had her for ourselves, so we could do some chanting in her ear. I was glad to see her mouth was opened wide throughout the dying process, so she was expected to leave her body through her mouth - upwards! My ex was so smart to decorate her 'like a lady', with necklaces including a garland of Tulsī-beads. When my stepfather asked her what beads those were I gave her a bump as a hint not to tell him, so she gave an evasive answer. So far so good. The best was yet to come, because my deepest wish, to chant with her alone while she left her body, was to be fulfilled. After an exhausting 6 hours my relatives and my stepfather and his relatives all went to do different things at different places, and me and my ex were left all alone with her. We were singing hymns like rādhe kṛṣṇa rādhe kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa rādhe rādhe rādhe śyāma rādhe śyāma śyāma śyāma rādhe rādhe, sitting on either side of her. After a while the nurse came in and I decided to take a leak because it was now anyway impossible to keep chanting. When I came back my mother had deceased, but the nurse and my ex both told me that she deceased already when I was still there - all my desires fulfilled!As I realised what had happened, a mixture of feelings rushed through me - joy and sorrow at once, tears and laughter. Joy for being able to chant rādhā-kṛṣṇa nāma in my mother's ears and sorrow for losing her. I could imagine how Mahāprabhu felt when He experienced bhāva śābalya, a mixture of simultaneous contradicting feelings!
After this my mother was bathed and dressed in clothes of my choice - a purple blouse and a black flower dress. She lay in state in such a majestic way, it was indescribable. A real lady. I feel deeply honoured and deeply loved that she chose to leave her body in my presence, with no one else around. I need to explain that my mother was not an ordinary person - though not a fulltime Vaiṣṇava, she was a member of the Theosophical society and had deep interest in spirituality, religion, art, history, politics and literature. She came to Vraja bhūmi twice, in 1986 and 1988 and each time she stayed for three weeks. She took a bath in Rādhākund and spontaneously bowed down before Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī's samādhi, without us telling her to do so. She never forgot the Vraja-experience either.