‘May I write a blog on you” I asked Carole Viegas when she visited me a month ago. Her immediate response was, ” I’d rather you don’t ” More like, I enjoy being the person who I am, and do not want any publicity.
On Friday 19th July 2019, I had attended the Eucharist and was due to visit the housebound with Holy Communion. As I commenced on my rounds, I thought of a few questions I would ask Carole on my visit to her home. …mainly for the intended blog on her,
the neighbourhood and realized something was amiss at the Viegas household. I
went up to her home. The silent group of people assembled with her husband Gerry,
was enough to signal that Carole had already departed to her heavenly
Carole was always more concerned about Gerry’s health, both being cancer survivors. However she displayed tremendous courage and joie de vivre. Her daughter Gayle mentioned “ Mum was quite upset when first diagnosed; but I encouraged her to be brave and battle it out. And she did heed that advice to be positive, and outgoing as before. In fact her peaceful departure while asleep, was certainly a victory for her. It was more heart related , rather than the cancer.”
Two days before her demise , I met her in the neighbourhood. She was returning from the Bombay Institute for the Deaf and Dumb , where she worked to get donors involved.Her initial involvement was with the Board of the Institute. It was also her 75th birthday the previous week and I was so happy to wish her well. She lived life to the fullest.
In our Village of Matharpacady, she was one of the most active residents. She was President of the Holy Cross Committee. We did not realise that The Holy Cross Feast on 1st May 2019 would be her last. We will miss the Meetings at her home before and after the feast. She also served as an animator of the Parish Zone 8 and earlier on the Parish Council of Rosary Church. But her notable contribution in the Church was her passion to sing in the choir. You could never miss seeing Carole for the mass choir, specially at the main feasts of Christmas and Easter. Most of all when people needed a choir for a funeral, it did not matter who it was..she would always pitch in to help in the matter.
attribute was to be an ‘Encourager’. I say special, as she made it a point to
find something good to say about any service done by people. Being a beneficiary of it myself, I know how she has
impacted many. Carole was very loving and
had no malice. She always strove for unity and went out of her way to
overcome any differences. She could connect with people of all ages. At
meetings she shared her opinion without ruffling feathers .
I remember the early family days, when Carole’s home was full of life. There were parties, and songs floated into the night. She and Gerry were good dancers. I think their jive was so relaxed that it looked as easy as ever. An important event earlier was the celebration of their Golden Wedding . It was a very joyous occassion and well attended. Yes indeed , she was richly blest.
I was amazed to see the church filled beyond capacity at her funeral mass. She had touched the lives of so many, who came specially to bid her farewell . Carole’s granddaughter Keira sang a beautiful hymn ‘Be Not Afraid’ , to reiterate that spirit of courage. Eulogies flowed from her children , grandchildren , and extended family. Her grandchildren Maya and Neel, recalled how she told them stories of the yesteryears and always encouraged them in their endeavours. Ignatius read out a message from her cousin Rosalind. Jordana her godchild, spoke lovingly about Carole. Even her former office colleague Marisa, shared some beautiful memories of her.
Her son Garth mentioned that this was a celebration of her life well lived. Yes , and the family did followup with this emotion at the end of the day. They bid her farewell that night the way she would have wanted , with joy and song.
dear Carole…… May you rest in eternal peace with our Heavenly Father.
Have you entered a home with 22 dogs barking their welcome to you .
It’s a home on the slope of a hill giving you a distant and picturesque view of Goa with rivers lakes and lush greenery .
We were received by Alcina,into the spacious home, for our meeting with Suzette. My daughter Annalize had been called for the trial of her wedding gown.
“When a client walks in, a human being walks in first, and before I lend them my hands I win their hearts . “
This is the motto of Suzette as Designer. For Annalize , the lace and material for her gown was just right ; the designing and fit most suited for the bride. Suzette works with passion to give her best .
However she is also an artiste, poet, author of short stories and has a non funded NGO for stray and abandoned dogs . But most of all a very compassionate person.
I saw some beautiful paintings, each of which has a meaning. I was surprised to learn that it had taken 2-3 years of deep life experiences , 2 month’s to put down a feature and 2-3 days to paint . In like manner, Suzette writes poetry and short stories .
Her pet project is really the pets she has rescued . When she refers to the universal opinion of the good breed of dogs over stray dogs ….she opines that dogs are just dogs , and love makes a difference in their response . She continues “ But who am I to preach the gospel of universality; idealised I am just an artiste who was designed to create art and not change the policies of the world .”
She has rescued 22 stray and abandoned dogs . The first was named Thomas ; he had fallen off a bridge and fractured his spine. She has nursed him to good health . All 22 pets have been rescued in some way and restored to normalcy… each of them having a name. The most recent pet was named ‘Blue’ as he has blue eyes. He is so affectionate, and kept licking my feet all over.
She also daily feeds 30 stray dogs outside who patiently wait at specific points as she drives on the food trail.
Suzette is a survivor of a serious motor crash , but was at peace even then. She has no regrets of any kind and believes that life is transient . She has a deep sense of spirituality. Her daily discipline includes yoga.
“I am ready for the call when it comes “ says Suzette.
So ended the encounter with a courageous lady of myriad dimensions.
My Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ has been a pillar
of strength and peace, during the past 6 months of a rollercoaster ride. The
storms of life blew over but his presence was enough to see me through this
September and November 2018 , I drove to Goa several times with Anjean, to
prepare for our daughter Annalize’s wedding, Goa being the venue.
November I began to have a throat problem , which did not get cured with
antibiotics . As the problem persisted , I consulted a specialist who observed
a small mass on the tonsil during the oral examination. Subsequently , he
advised that a biopsy be done, which led to the early diagnosis of Non
Hodgekins Lymphoma. Dr Jaquie was very
helpful at the Hinduja Hospital,
from that first instance as well as
during my regular hospital visits for the chemotherapy later.
I also got a shock to know that my investments with our trusted broker were in
jeopordy , as his business had failed. His promise to repay everything , would
remain a promise until he hoped to recover, by merging his company with a bigger firm, in
the near future.
diagnosed on 13th December 2018 , and Annalize’s wedding was scheduled for 27th
December 2018. The doctor calmed us , specially Anjean and Annalize, and mentioned that the early diagnosis was very
helpful and the cancer could be treated and cured ( a blessing indeed). He advised us to celebrate the wedding and
commence my treatment soon after.
to the urgency and financial duress, I was constrained to take loans to meet
with these challenges.
Ralph , was a big help at this stage. He had come down from London for the wedding. All my
family proceeded to Goa which was the
venue . He stayed back to help me with my visits to the hospitals and so much more. I admired his
steadfast approach , not knowing that he was quite upset himself.
celebrations in Goa went off very well.
The Lord had given me a total acceptance of my health condition. I took
part wholeheartedly in the celebrations. My family too got over the initial
shock and all went well .
returned to Mumbai on 1st January 2019
and my treatment commenced on 2nd January 2019.
every session , I was admitted to the
hospital , to be administered the drugs. The specialist doctor and his team,
and the nursing care, was excellent. The after effects of the chemotherapy, were
at times very painful. Surprisingly
during 3 specific occasions Romeo Fernando, leader of the Community of the Good Shepherd, telephoned me.
He prayed fervently with me , pleading of the Lord for my healing ; and with God’s grace I was relieved from pain. His intercessory
group prayed regularly for my healing. I cannot forget my mentor Ken Knoecker ( Elder of the
Servants of the Word) , for all the prayer and support extended to me, during this
time. I also discovered , the aspect of sharing my
suffering with the Lord, and interceding for others.
from my Community (Community of Jesus: Light of the World) and the local Church and Communities ( Sword
of the Spirit Communities) from far and
near prayed for me. There was an
outpouring of love as members regularly telephoned or visited me, and also prayed with me. People who I hardly knew as well as old
friends, assured me that they were
praying for my healing and visited me.
daughter Karen with her family from UK,
specially changed their flight schedule, ( which involved a fresh ticket) to be
with us for the first session. Subsequently my son Ralph took time off , for
one month from his job in London ( while working from home) to be with us in
Mumbai for the next sessions. Annalize too spent more than a month later and
finally Larissa was with us in May.
administered 6 cycles of chemotherapy from January to April, and after the 4th
cycle , the petscan showed that I was clear of cancer. Praise and thanks to
This was a
time of great restoration and renewal. I had plenty of time to pray and read
scripture. Importantly , Ambrose our community member brought Holy Communion
for me daily, which was a source of healing and kept me positive and
willingly took up responsibility to lead the Community of Jesus: Light of the
World , in my absence during these months. His numerous visits were an indication
of a brotherly tie, which I deeply cherish.
I also saw
bonds of brotherhood within my extended family being renewed. My two elder
brothers, Allwyn and Gerald who are doctors, and my niece Joanne (also a
doctor) , reached out to me in significant ways.
cared for me so well . Diet and
medicines were constantly monitored. So I came through these months peacefully.
Dane, a young man from the Youth group ,
was kind enough to drive us to the hospital on several occasions . Some of my
community members also took time off to be with me at the hospital. But Anjean
was my constant companion.
meantime , help poured in from various sources. I am truly overwhelmed at this
me His love , through these brothers and sisters.
assured me that His provision is enough
A few days
ago , when again I experienced a
setback, I was assured by the following words from scripture:
‘Give us this day our daily bread ‘( Matthew 6:11)
further reflection and study, I was led to believe that daily bread is for daily sustenance and not to
accumulate wealth. Bread also signifies the Eucharist ,which is life giving.)
A little further :
‘ No one can be slave of two masters; he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’ ( Matthew 6: 24)
‘ Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you are to eat and what you are to drink, (Matthew 6:25a)………..‘But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.’ ( Matthew 6: 33)
Isaiah 55: 1-3
‘ Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty;
Though you have no money , come!
Buy corn without money, and eat,
and, at no cost , wine and milk.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
your wages on what fails to satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat
and rich food to enjoy.
Pay attention , come to me;
listen, and your soul will live.
listen , and your soul will live.’
(Isaiah 55: 1-3)
The Lord has revealed his love and
care so much more during these days. He is truly my Saviour and Healer and I can trust in his provision
For this I say “Thank you Lord”
And “ thank you” to every person who
has reached out to me.
The date 19th September2018 is very significant.
I was thrilled to get the news of the arrival of my 3rd grandchild on 19th September morning .
I met with my sharing group of our community for our monthly meeting that evening. We shared on the 3rd chapter of Colossians .
The 2 themes were how we look at the old self ,which we were and how we become the new self, literally with new clothes.. how do we discard our old ways ,
Quote: ‘But now you must get rid of all such things- anger , wrath, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:8-10)
and live with lives of compassion.
Quote: ‘As God’s chosen one’s, holy and beloved clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive . Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts , To which indeed you were called in the one body.’(Colossians 3:12-15)
After the round of sharing… we concluded that there were areas where change had taken place and some where we still needed to change. Anger, and patience were some common themes .
But we realised that we are all work in progress , requiring The Master’s help at all times.
One of us beautifully shared that in the end , it is love that helps us to see others in new ways ….
Quote : ‘Love is patient; love is kind; love is not an proud or boastful, arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable, or resentful,; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all thing , believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.’ (1Corinthians 13:4-8)
The inability to love leads to poor relationships and further many more pitfalls to sin .
Jesus came that we may rise to new life ….
We start with a clean slate ,when we acknowledge our sinfulness and the need for forgiveness and to forgive others .
I was thrilled to get the news of the arrival of my 3rd grandchild on 19th September morning .
He is such a chubby and healthy baby boy.
As I was shown his pictures , and was told his name to be given:
This struck me:
1. He is being named Daniel Michael ….surname Jordan
Daniel is my favourite prophet of the biblical times…. why ? Because he was courageous and spoke for the truth .
Michael is the name on both sides of Daniel’s parents family tree….and of course Michael is also the angel to fight against evil .
2. When a child comes into the world, the little one comes with a clean slate….This is new life.
We can also start with a clean slate in life no matter our past failings .
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son , so that everyone who believes in him ,may not perish but may have eternal life.’
Think about it , every day is an opportunity to start afresh……
Years ago I remember reading a comic strip with some humour to it…Slo Jo was a cowboy, who faced the Ketchup Kid…. It was not the usual gunfight however. Here the test was on who could down the burger faster… The Kid finished his burger rapidly….and then watched Slo Jo relishing his burger with Ketchup , taking his own time… the lesson for the Kid… , enjoy the burger…what is the hurry?
I think , many of us are immersed in work, and have a problem of time… we become busy, stressed and worry about work to be done…
I am sure we all had coffee/tea breaks..but was it like the Ketchup Kid or like Slo Jo
Often the best moments are when one actually savours the moments either alone or with friends.
I have tried coffee from roasted coffee beans ground and filtered…. with a dash Sheridan .
……slowly like Slo Jo…while I smell the coffee, savour the taste ..and appreciate the situation around me… my friends, colleagues, family or just connecting with nature …
Time passes by… I see some of my good friends who have worked hard and done well in their careers. One case stands out. Today he has been overwhelmed with multiple health problems. And worse still he has fractured his hip, and now compelled to bed rest.
I wonder at such traumatic changes. Does it really matter, how much I have achieved?
Have I savoured the times I enjoyed with family and friends.
Importantly have I looked at my eventual goal in life?
This will not be easily accepted. We plan for holidays and so much more.
“Do you know where you are going?” These are famous words asked by the renowned basketball player Pete Mavarich, also called ‘Pistol Pete’, because of his brilliance in the game. He continued “ I know where I am going, and am preparing for it” A week later he died.
Our lives change when we are aware of our destination.
I too am aware where I am going, and I will certainly ensure that I prepare for it every day.
Yet often when I even mention this, my family does not like to hear any of it.
But is not death certain? Do you fear it?
There is no need to fear. Life does not end , but only changes.
‘If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most unfortunate of all people.
But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead , the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. (1Corinthians 15:19,20)
When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death where is your victory? Death where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. So let us thank God for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Are you afraid?
Then remember these words of Jesus ‘ I am the living bread which comes down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the whole world.’ (John 5:51)
Jesus also assures us ‘ And know that I am with you always: yes to the end of time.’ (Matthew 28:20b)
So it certainly does not matter, how high or how fast one paces one’s life. Reality strikes, when one is faced with the inevitable. Reflective moments are necessary; so when you next take a coffee break, take time to smell the coffee and let your thoughts flow.