Our dear, sweet Arlene passed away on Thursday night, August 4, 2011, at 7:52 pm. Her husband Jeff and their close friend Donna Stewart, along with a very kind and loving doctor, were at her side.
Arlene had had a near-death experience some ten years ago, and had been told by Baba, “You must return; your work isn’t finished.” Recently Baba gave her the knowing that her work was over. She had been in the hospital since last Saturday, and died from pneumonia. Hospice had been helping in recent days, and Jeff and Donna had been by her side most of the time.
For many years Arlene had given tours at Meher Center in Myrtle Beach, Meher Baba’s Home in the West, and was once asked by Jane Haynes to collect the many stories that she told about incidents that occurred during the tours. Not long ago, Donna spent time with Arlene recording those stories, along with numerous accounts of Arlene’s own experiences of the Mandali, Meher Center, and her personal and inner experiences of Meher Baba. Donna transcribed the recordings, which were then lightly edited and made into a short book, LIVING WITH MEHER BABA, which which is viewable at the Mischievous Peeps web site HERE. Later, Donna plans to publish it as a print booklet.
A memorial is planned for Sunday, Sept. 4, at the Myrtle Beach Funeral Home, 4505 Highway 17 Bypass South, from 2 to 4 pm.
We will miss you, Arlene. Thank you for your beautiful love in Baba. We know you are happy with Him now!
[The above was adapted by Kendra from a notice prepared by Carolyn Ball and friends.]
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If you have photos of Arlene as jpegs that you can share, please send them to Kendra at mehery[at]gmail.com.
“I Remember — I Remember”
by Arlene Stearns and Eileen Williams
from Our Constant Companion, compiled by Bal Natu
My husband Jeff and I (Arlene) had heard of Baba from different people in 1975 before we met each other. I was very fascinated when I first heard of Him and purchased God Speaks: The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose, by Meher Baba.
In 1980 my husband and I started talking about Baba and contacted Kitty Davy at the Meher Center in Myrtle Beach to order some books. When the box of books came, The Perfect Master, a biography of Meher Baba, was at the top of the box face up. As soon as Jeff got the box opened for me, I saw Baba’s picture on the cover and experienced His beautiful love. Remembering was so sweet, I cried and cried. After a while I could talk and said to Jeff, “I remember, I remember.”
I called my twin sister Eileen and told her I had something to show her. She came over right away and when I handed her the book, she too said, “I remember knowing Him.” Now a flood of thoughts came pouring in. The memory of the summer of 1937: little seven-year-old twin sisters standing in their playhouse, the first visit from their beautiful play companion.
As Eileen recalls, “Our friend was standing across the room in His white robe and sandals, looking radiant and happy. Our little hearts jumped with joy. And we said, “You will play with us now, you will play with us now.” He nodded His head, smiled happily and put His arms out to welcome us. We ran to Him, to receive His warm embrace. It felt just like we were melting into Him.
“Such wonderful visits we remember, like the time we put our mother’s big hats on His head. And with each hat we put on, He would make a funny face.
“We remember how much He loved to look in our play purses and always seemed surprised at what He found. How we laughed together. Our most cherished remembrance was serving tea.”
Reminiscing about the days we had tea with Baba is always special. Baba sitting and looking so sweetly with saucer and tea cup in His beautiful hands. A feeling of something very special seemed to come over us. As we lifted our cups to our lips, Baba’s eyes seemed to water and shine with a glow that made our little hearts seem to know He was saying, “I love you, my little ones.”
On one visit, Baba put His hands palms up and we knew to put our hands in His. He closed His hands over ours and held our hands in His as He drew us over to Himself. We stood looking into His beautiful face, for a long time it seemed, enjoying every minute.
He showed us a mischievous side of Himself. We would play a game of slipping our fingers into His. He would pretend He couldn’t catch them. Then just as we thought we were winning, He would close His fingers and catch us every time. How that made us laugh with excitement.
We played hide and seek with Baba. We would put scarves over our heads and he would pull them off, one by one. The expression of joy that would come over His face as He found us hiding under the last one — words cannot describe His beautiful face.
Eileen remembers with delight, “We enjoyed playing that we were actresses on stage. We asked our mother if she would help us fix up a stage setting. She drew a rope across our summer kitchen (that’s a small room off the main kitchen). That is where Baba always appeared to us. She hung old drapes over the rope and we took many an extra curtain call there for our playmate, Baba.
“When we came into the summer kitchen one summer morning to play actresses, we saw Baba sitting on the stage. He looked very natural sitting there. As we performed our tap dance and singing and a little play, He would clap and clap. He made us feel so happy and uninhibited. He always made us feel we were pleasing Him. He never spoke but we never noticed or were affected by His silence. His love was so full and everything we did was so pleasing to Him that we only wanted to do more and more. We were never embarrassed even though we were very shy.
“There was one thing He would never let us do and that was touch His feet. He insisted on obedience but he was so loving with it. We never questioned Him, never thought of doing so.
“The last time He appeared to us, He was standing and He said, ‘You have seen me for a little while, and in a little while I will come again and you will know me. Now I must go and you will not remember these times.’ Then His body split into two — two of Him. He went away very quickly into both of us at the same time. Right into us, and from that moment until 43 years later, when my sister opened the box and saw Baba’s picture on The Perfect Master, she hadn’t remembered that he had appeared to us. Neither had I until my sister called me over to her house and I saw His picture and suddenly recalled that He had been with us so long ago. But in Baba’s time, it was only a little while.”
This is the end of our story, but a delightful beginning of our lives renewed in His love, the Love of the Eternal Perfect Master, Meher Baba.