August 18, 2008

I’ll Never Forget Her Spirit

I crossed paths with Debra for nine days only back in March 2001, when I met her at a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. When I embarked on this trip I felt nervous and shy, going with a group of people I did not really know. Debra was one of the first people I met before we even left San Francisco on the flight. I was immediately struck by her beauty and energy. She had such a unique fashion sense that she wore so well. But mostly, she was just so nice! I don’t know how it got decided that we would be hut-mates once we arrived, but I was glad to share the living quarters with her. She made this shy, invisible person feel important and interesting. She wanted to know about me; she wanted to know about everyone she met, and she listened intently when you spoke to her.

She moved around so athletically and gracefully and was a wonderful yogini—with a little baby on board. She took photos of everything, everybody, capturing moments in time in this beautiful environment. I sat back, closed off a little, reserved but wanting to come out of my shell. And she epitomized what I wanted to be—a free spirit! But one thing I never forgot—something she did for me that was just from a place of love and true compassion.

One night, I had a real scare when I passed out after becoming dehydrated. I was in and out of consciousness for a long time, and people were trying to bring me back to earth. I truly felt I could have died at any time, but the strength of people around me brought me back, and I came to…slowly and weakly.
When I went back to the hut, Debra came too. She talked to me for a long time about anything/nothing important and I didn’t want her to stop because it made me know I was alive. I told her I was scared to go to sleep- scared I wouldn’t wake up. So she offered to have me sleep next to her, and she spoke to me until I drifted off, calmly resting. I’ll never forget her kindness and nurturing towards me- someone she’d just met a few days prior. And I’ll never forget her spirit which inspired me to come out of my shell a little, through her influence. It’s like she was an angel, demonstrating how to truly live and love and appreciate all in every moment. All this from nine days of knowing someone. I can understand how much she impacted those who knew her longer, and my heart goes out to you. I’m sure we will all carry a little piece of what she left us in memory and spirit forever.


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