To the Editor:
Billy Joel sings, “only the good die young.” I don’t know about that, but I do know there are some very nasty old people still walking around causing other people a great deal of suffering, while one of the kindest and best people I have ever known is no longer here.
It was with shock and a deep sense of loss that I read in the paper that MJ Delekta had died on September 29. I had just sent her an email wishing her a happy birthday, and a year filled with health and joy. I was looking forward to editing more of her blog and had been looking through her class offerings for this fall, trying to decide which one to fit into my schedule. I was sad that she chose to be buried in a private ceremony before most of us even knew that she had died. Funerals, I now realize, are not for the dead — they are for the living. They allow a community to share its grief at the passing of someone who was dearly loved. I would have liked to see some of the people whom I met in her classes one last time, to be able to share memories and to express appreciation for what she gave us and to note the huge void MJ’s passing has left in our community.
She probably saved my life, literally. When I first came to her studio three years ago, I was in a very serious depression. Her kindness, her sense of joy, her calm voice teaching me how to do i-Rest yoga nidra meditation were so healing and just what I needed to get me through that terrible winter. I used to click on her website just to see the picture of her studio, which became a haven of peace for me. I came to class early and left late. I listened to the CDs she gave us of the guided relaxation meditations she conducted in her classes: in the car on the way home on the ferry after visiting my daughter, in my living room in the middle of the night, whenever I found time and the need to soothe my soul.
Her generosity of spirit and the joy radiating from her face are things I had never experienced before. Her encouragement and her kind words and cheery smile, at every step in my healing, are something I will treasure in memory. I wish I had known she would not be here for many years to come.
I did tell her that it was a joy to read her blog every time she sent it to me to edit, and that I appreciated the privilege of smoothing her thoughts into words that would make them more accessible to others.
I saw a sign the other day which said “Be kinder than you need to be.” I thought to myself “How kind do you need to be? How do you know how much is enough? How can you be kinder than you need to be?” I still don’t know the answers to those questions, but MJ was extremely kind, and it made a huge difference to a whole lot of people. She leaves a big hole in the heart of anyone who knew her. She will be missed.
Ellen T. Miller