Wed, 03 Jun 2020

Silvia Swinden

02 Apr 2020, 05:27 GMT+10

I met her when we were very young, an intelligent Argentinean woman who lived in Barcelona during the years of the dictatorship. She was a psychiatrist, specializing in very serious cases, and moved to London to practice medicine, where she worked until she retired.

Now I have to say goodbye to her, more than four decades later.

Life allowed her to develop her virtues widely, not only in the field of work but also as an activist for peace and nonviolence. She leaves behind books, monographs, papers and an enormous number of journalistic articles that give an account of her lucid view of this world and contemporary human beings. She has also been involved in development and social reconciliation projects in Israel and Palestine, in small towns in Colombia, in Argentinean schools, in Kenyan communities in Africa and in several English organizations. She leaves behind affections and deep friendships marked by her impeccable wit and sharp sense of humour.

But perhaps the most remarkable teaching that I draw from this friend with whom I shared journeys, ceremonies, joys and studies, is her attitude towards the irremediable diagnosis of a terminal illness. Facing death, she made up her mind, asked for help, and set to work to integrate all that was pending, to reconcile, to modify her attitudes and base climates until she experienced certain peace. Then, since the same illness receded in an apparent postponement that destiny was giving her, she decided to resume her work in Pressenza writing without delay about all the subjects that she was passionate about. At the same time she set to work on meditation routines that transported her to the deepest regions of the mind, transcending the impulses of her body and her psychism, aiming to leave the material behind. Every day a step further into the world and also one more article to be published. Of the illness, she hardly spoke whenever we saw each other, it was a fact of the cause.

Every afternoon for the last three years she did ceremonies mobilizing her energy and orienting her towards well-being, with those of us who virtually accompanied her from a distance, joining those in London who looked after her with great affection.

A few months ago, she turned seventy-one. She celebrated life, as she always did. From the English hospital where she died early this morning, she was accompanied in her luminous journey by her partner. I want to remember her with joy and gratitude, with her fortitude and great courage, as a very beautiful light.

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