(24 May '00)
24 May 2000, Amritapuri
Amma left for Her summer tour of Japan and the United States on the 24th of May. It was a sunny morning, and visitors and ashram residents stood in the garden beneath Her room waiting for a last glimpse of their beloved Amma. Shortly before 11 a.m., radiant in Her white sari, She descended the steps and immediately went to Ram who was tethered to the tree beside Her room. Looking beautiful with his black body decorated with the auspicious markings of ash and kumkum, he received Amma tenderly as She fed him with bananas. But suddenly he became very restless. Amma said he was sad, and called to him, loudly “Son, Ram! Ram, Ram,” to console him. Those who were standing close to Ram were touched, watching the tears rolling from his eyes. The brahmachari looking after Ram also tried to console him, caressing his swaying head, saying that Amma would be back soon.
Amma moved towards the waiting car, and giving some last minute instructions to some brahmacharis and brahmacharinis, She asked all Her children to give their blessings for the tour. She raised Her hands, palms joined, above Her head and with this final salutation, calling, “Children, children,” disappeared from view into the car. The driver carefully edged his way through the tight throng of residents who lined the route hoping to catch yet another glimpse of Amma as She passed by.
Before boarding Her flight, Amma gave darshan for an hour to devotees who had gathered to bid Her farewell. Now, the ashram wears a desolate look after Her departure. This was evident in even the newest member of the family, Ram. He did not have proper food for the next 2 days.