It was a week before Christmas, a special birthday celebration and instead of just a few candles we offered 1000 butterlamps. These were lit before the start of the ceremony which concluded with the traditional Happy Birthday song for Rinpoche.
After our shared lunch I walked slowly up the stairs to the Temple. From the bottom of the stairs in the distance I saw a young woman with her two children aged 6 and 8. I greeted her on arrival and she asked if she could light some butter lamps. She looked close to tears, and I asked her, “What’s the matter?”
“I need some help, my son died last week and I need some kind of spiritual help that’s why I came here. Is there a Lama here? I need to talk to someone.” Then the floodgate of tears was unleashed. I put my arm around her and let her cry. Her two young children looked worried. I had some home baking upstairs and asked them to bring it down for a cup of tea.
When we were alone she shared that her 23 year old son had committed suicide. His siblings were told their brother had died. They were too young to understand and she didn’t want to burden them with it. As the children came bounding down the stairs I offered them something to eat and suggested they play outside on the grass where they could still see us whilst I talked with mum. They appeared to be relieved to have another adult to talk to their mum.