Symbols of the world's religions



Elizabeth Patterson

On June 15, 1957, Norina Matchabelli died at Youpon Dunes in Myrtle Beach. Meher Baba sent the following cable:


Eight days later, Elizabeth wrote a letter to Mehera and Mani in India with details about Norina's final days.

Dear Mehera and Mani,

Norina sleepeth.

We received Baba's cable and know that she is with Him forever. So we know that she has awakened in Him.

Also, I have a feeling that Baba has already put her to work in this life continuous.

Certainly our activity has been increased and since Norina has left us it has been one continuous motion around us.

Kitty I am sure wrote you how we came home from the town Saturday morning June 15th, and just at that time was the ending of Norina's long struggle to keep going. She had had her breakfast as usual quite early, all liquids for recently she felt she couldn't take solids, so had egg in milk, etc. Then at 11:15 A. M. she had her juice as usual, having rested up to that time. At 11:20 she opened her eyes and asked Sadie, "What time is it?" Sadie replied "11:20, soon you will have lunch, will you eat a good lunch today?"

There was no reply and Sadie went over to check Norina's pulse that she (and of course, the doctor) knew had been weak in the last three days, she found it low and called to Kitty to telephone Dr. Chapman to come. Fortunately he had not left his office, he usually stays only a half day on Saturday, and he came up to the house in very little time. He could barely feel a pulse and as he was listening with his stethoscope the heart stopped. He turned to us and told us she had gone; it was then just about a half hour before noon or about ten minute since Norina had asked in a clear voice, "What time is it?"

Dr. Chapman said he did not believe that she could have lasted through so much since 8 yrs. he attended her, it was very remarkable. Sadie said afterwards that in all her hospital nursing she had never seen a death like hers without a struggle, when the end came she just slipped away, it was as if she knew her time had come and she consciously asked, "What time is it?"

On course Kitty has been writing you about Norina's condition. Her weakness started about the end of March and she didn't feel like going out in the car for her usual drives that she never liked to miss, it was her only contact with the outside world, not that she enjoyed it but it broke the long day. She had felt useful when we could send Sadie for an errand when they were out or going to pick up Kitty at the Center and take her home.

The very last drive was with me on a Sunday afternoon, it was the day Sadie usually had off, and I took some potted plants that I had purchased, one was a magnolia, and Norina told me where they should be placed [at the Center]. We left them in their pots for Frank to plant the next day. They can now be seen across the little road by the kitchen building and we will take special care of them. This was the last time that she went out, as she didn't feel able....

Everyone who saw Norina's earthly remains, after she passed away, remarked how peaceful she looked. Knowing that Norina never wanted to be sent any place, we placed her body down stairs, moving everything out of the dining room, and the mortician brought a couchlike affair for her to rest on. Asked what we want to dress her in, I fortunately remembered that she had years ago told me that when she passed away to put on Baba's Sadra that he had once given her, which was done, and then we found a Bedouin coat of golden yellow among Norina's effects which seemed to be the best thing to wear over Baba's Sadra because it did not completely cover it.

Then we had to think of a service, not that Norina would have thought it necessary, but because those who did know her at Myrtle Beach expected a service to come to as a religious parting ceremony; and three from New York were coming down for the funeral. Good, faithful John, Ella and Michael Kohanow arrived about noon on Monday and the funeral was held in the afternoon at 5:30, [and] immediately after she was taken on a stretcher in an ambulance-hearse to a distant city, Winston-Salem, N.C., the nearest Crematory and her ashes were brought back the next day. We have Baba's instructions to bring these ashes when we come to India. It is exactly what Norina had hoped, because we found today among her papers, in her own handwriting that it was her wish....

Love to the One and all,

Norina's ashes were interred close by Meher Baba's Tomb on Meherabad Hill, near Ahmednagar, in India. Her grave marker bears the following inscription:



NORINA'S GIFT, pp. 43-47, Christopher Wilson and Charles Haynes
1997 © EliNor Publications, Inc.


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