Valli: Hello. My earliest memories of Hilda are from when I was a toddler. In my mind's eye, I can see glimpses of myself in a walker, rolling down the hallway, chasing after Hilda and having Hilda and Shanti laughing hysterically. Hilda has retold this story to me many, many times. To this day, I'm unsure whether the memory is in fact hers or mine. All of those sensations and feelings of those early days are so real to me now. I can close my eyes, and Hilda, I can feel the warmth that you exuded and the calm that always surrounded you. I can even smell the sweet scent of a mix of incense and perfume that always went with you everywhere and stayed with everything you touched. These were only slightly betrayed by the strength of your hand and the lilt in your walk, which suggested and reminded us of the more forceful side of you, the one that I knew so well.
I can remember you explaining everything to me. There were the mundane things, like how to use the washing machine. And then there were the times when you would sit me down when I was crying, and you would explain to me why I was here on this planet that seems so foreign, and that some day soon I would begin to understand it more, when I reacquainted myself here. These two worlds you've bridged so well came together for me in you, in your person, body and great soul.
As I stood there, by your bedside, I found myself wondering what this planet, the one that you introduced me to, would be like without your presence. But I had to remember there was the other side, the real you, that would not disappear. I remember a story you told me of your father's passing and how all those years ago, you had nothing to comfort you because you had not yet come into understanding of this other life. I also remember how you told us that the Masters instructed you to let your own mother go and how she had released you.
It is hard for me now, Hilda, to put this into words, because you were and are everything to me. You were my mother, my teacher and yes, even my pupil, as you told me when I came home from school at five years of age, so proud when I taught you some French words I'd learned that day. I still can feel the surprise I felt when I found out you didn't know everything. But as I grew older, I came to truly understand how much you knew in comparison to me and most everyone else.
I remember walking down the street with you, holding your hand which was warm and soft. We'd take off briskly on a cold winter's morning before I began school, and your fuzzy cotton coat would rub against my cheek. I also remember those private moments when we would meditate, sometimes just you and I together, and we would go off for hours. Those other worlds, you introduced those to me also. And it's true, as I grew older we didn't always see eye to eye, but there's this part of my heart, Hilda, and there I know I cannot completely belong to anyone else the way I belong to you.
And so here I was, standing by your bedside, and I remembered the last time I saw you, just recently before you passed. You took me into your room and you sat me down on your lap, and you said, "I'm so glad I have my little girl again." I think that if I could have had my way, I would have had time stop. I would have wished that we could stay that way forever. But as usual, you had a surprise up your sleeve, and that wasn't how it was meant to be.
And so, as I leaned over to kiss you good night for the last time, as I'd done all my life, I think I came to an understanding. I had to let you go, because you were not mine and you were not ours to hold, but you were so much more. I knew that some day in the future, I would be with you again, close. Until then, I ask you, Hilda, to keep watch over me and all of us, and if you see us going a little bit wrong, just sort of nudge us back over. I just want you to know that we and I love you now and always. Thank you!
Shanti: Valli is better at words than I am, and she's managed to put into those words a lot of the feelings about Hilda that I've been feeling over the past couple of weeks. Hilda was the one who taught me to meditate. She was the one who taught me to love God. She was the one who kissed my teddy bear at night. She was the one whose bed I would jump into if I was scared. So, to avoid speaking, I decided that the best way I could express my feelings for Hilda was through singing, since that's what I usually did. I usually sang for her. I chose these songs that she has had me sing time and time again, here and at home and just forever. I sang them for her again on Christmas. So I'll sing them for you once again, Hilda.
It had been a tradition, at the final class of every year, that candles were distributed to each person, and, in celebration of the holidays, Hilda would take the white candle on the altar and light the candles of the people in the front of the room. In the darkened room, they in turn would light the candles of those behind them until all the candles in the room had been lit from the one flame. Then all would hold their candles high and sing. It was always an experience where one could feel the holy light of God and all present as one.
Ingrid: In this moment, let us light our candles and hold them, brightly shining, with Hilda, our Lord Jesus and the Masters of the Great White Lodge.
Everyone sings "Silent Night"
Hilda, we raise our candles in tribute to you and offer our gratitude and thank you for all that you have given us.