I have been visiting the hospital to sit with a friend of thirty years who is dying. I have been reciting Hebrew prayers and blessings for her. Her name is Junitta and years ago she started one of the world’s first peace chambers. It was situated in central Victoria and built in the design of a kiva. Junitta gathered a few people together and they made every mud brick by hand and laid every stone with a prayer for world peace. It was an amazing achievement and it still stands today on land that has been regenerated for wild life. The Native American medicine man Joseph Rael came to open the kiva and it became one of many around the world working towards global harmony.
Junitta was a beautiful young woman with a vision and a gentle soul. She did not have much time for modern technology, instead she preferred the simple rustic lifestyle close to the land. Junitta’s soul is still gentle and giving, but her body is emaciated, just thin skin stretched over a tiny and fragile skeleton. I held her hands that were barely warm and so weak, it brought tears to my eyes. Her mind is alert, albeit with a little wandering, but the body is a vision of degeneration and it makes life seem so cruel.
Junitta is taking it all in her stride. She is a woman of faith and she is incredibly brave. Indeed, she told me that the Native America Indians believe the skin of the body wrinkles so it is made ready to join the earth when the time for burial arrives. The Mother Earth, according to Junitta, recognizes every person who is returned to her primal womb.
My friend has maintained her humour and she is not afraid to die. She just wants to be out of the hospital and back at her beloved property on the top of a mountain that overlooks the spectacular southern coastline.
Junitta plans to be buried in an upright position so her head is still close to the stars and so she is remembered by the sun every morning when it moves across the horizon.
Junitta was always very upright, forthright and the first to speak out against social injustice. She was a friend of the Aboriginal people and an advocate for indigenous land rights. She loved the red centre of the Australian country and she made numerous pilgrimages to it for spiritual guidance.
Junitta is resigned to her fate, but I am going to miss her a lot, she has been a wonderful friend, a dedicated teacher of wisdom and an excellent craft’s person and artist. She will continue to live in my sanctuary through the small painting of Squeaky Beach which she gave to me some years ago and which sits on the wall of my library. Today, will be my last visit to Junitta as she is being moved to another facility. I am left to wonder if I will ever see her again before she passes.