With a maelstrom of emotions, I have to announce that our beloved friend, mentor and inspiration Dr Holly passed away today, Thursday 28th April, at around 2:30 pm.
Holly had a sudden and rapid cancer, but died peacefully with little discomfort. It seems to have been based in the large intestine, but by the time it was diagnosed, it had spread to most of the adjacent organs. No course of treatment was offered as practical.
Dr Holly started this Little Bangkok Sangha project with me in 2007, and was always a stable supporter for all our activities, and a very loved figure everyone could relate to.
With an email 10 days ago on April 18 titled “Tough news I have to share” she wrote,
Although I have told no one until now, I’ve been going through a series of icky tests at BUMrungrad and the results are very bad. indeed. I would like to see you to give you the Little Bangkok Sangha funds and to say goodbye. You know, I’m not sure I want to have to say goodbye to everyone, so please keep it quiet for now. We can talk about how to do something.
As it is, I am grateful that I didn’t feel worse before now, because I have a cancer that looks like a whirling globe of fire, burning everything next to it. If they colored up the CAT scan, it could be psychodellic. It’s the power of denial that has fed my delusion that I am a healthy person. And enabled me to ignore quite a number of symptoms. Not that I wouldn’t die. The terminal aspect of the diagnosis is a great comfort in many ways. I am prepared (to my amazement).
She certainly was ready. Her final practise was ‘EQUANIMITY’ and she certainly kept this up, taking care to comfort those of us around her who seemed to find it more difficult to deal with than she. She looked me right in the eye, said she’d appreciated knowing me, and asked if I had a last message for her!
We really wanted to give people chance to send her a last message, but it was so swift … Still she knew how people thought of her. She had chance to be mindful, prepared and sort through finances and funeral arrangements. Holly was definitely ready, and faced her last days with the same toughness and joy as she had lived her life by. She had relatively few symptoms and died clear minded without discomfort. She was 70 years old.
Her sister Heather was with her in the final week, her nephew and a couple of others.
My sincere apologies for informing those of you who new and loved her this way. I’d like to have given you special notice … but its pretty hard on me too, losing my dearest friend.
The funeral will be at Wat Taht Thong, on Ekkamai BTS station (map below). She will be in
Sala 10 Sala 2 on Saturday, and then Sala 3 every day following. Everyone is welcome to go and pay respects. Some of the evenings, around 7pm there might be some chanting, and we will try to arrange the funeral for Friday 6th or Saturday 7th have arrranged the funeral for Saturday 7th, at 10 am. Full schedule of funeral events is here.
If you can, do leave a message in the comments below – it will be nice to let her relatives in the US know how much she was loved and valued here in Bangkok.
All the photos of Holly (if you have more send them and we will add to the folder)
According to her wishes discussed several days before she passed away, we held the funeral Thai style here in Bangkok. This included being taken to Wat Taht Tong, which is conveniently located for people to come and pay their last respects. Chanting ceremonies were held nightly for over a week, until the final funeral on Saturday 7th May 2011.
Be at peace Holly, with all our good wishes.
Here’s the last video recording of our great friend: