By: Saylor Pitts

So far I have not seen a single baby cry. I’ve seen them fall and tumble down hills, but still, no crying. Strength and resilience are key to survival here. These run through everyone’s veins. Life versus death is not something that scares people.

At home, I don’t think we are as tough as we seem. I came to India knowing someone very close to me was going to leave this Earth, and I had to say goodbye. Not a see you later, but a goodbye. I’m the biggest baby I’ve seen so far in India. In the beginning, I turned this beautiful place into my crying spot, until I saw the beauty of these people’s beliefs about life after death.

Here in Agora, death isn’t a goodbye. It is a see you later.

My grandmother was the most hardworking, loving, beautiful lady I’ve had in my life. She turned me into the person I always hoped I’d be, and she reminds me of the women in Agora. They grow their gardens with so much love and happiness just like she did. Each weed pulled and each flower grown has a meaning behind it.

Being around the women of Agora the last few days has brought me a piece of my grandma. Whenever I see a beautiful yellow mustard seed flower, I see her. And being in the Himalayas, up so high, I feel closer to her than I ever have before.

After spending time with Ma, who was my host, I saw what real strength is. After a while of convincing, she let me help her carry cow manure up the mountain. With the weight on my back and the thin ropes digging into my shoulders, I felt this woman’s strength and resilience feeding into my own veins. Moving forward, I know I will come home and have both my grandma and Agora on my shoulders like little angels.

9 responses to “Angels on My Shoulders”

  1. jrhomer Avatar

    Dear Saylor,
    I am so very sorry for your loss. What courage it must have taken for you to follow through with your trip. Your essay is a beautiful tribute to your grandmother, and the photo of you in the mustard seed flowers with a dog in your lap is my favorite of all the pictures I’ve seen so far from the trip. Perhaps there was more at play here than courage. Perhaps your trip was providence. Your angels must be very proud of you. –Mrs. Homer

  2. Kristin Kiland Avatar
    Kristin Kiland

    Dear Saylor,
    This is exactly what I needed to hear tonight. I have a new angel, too, and this has been a very challenging week. I am so proud of you, and thank you for reminding me that we are strong and resilient! Hugs from the other side of this earth,
    Mrs. Kiland

  3. Sibby Wilson Avatar
    Sibby Wilson

    What a beautiful post Saylor. Losing grandparents is so hard. It sounds like you made a brave choice and one that will enrich your life for years to come.
    Thinking of you.
    Sibby Wilson (Margaret Wilson’s mom)

  4. A Showalter Avatar

    Really beautiful, Saylor. I lost a beloved aunt last week, and I’m seeing her in spring wildflowers and feel her presence when I dig in my garden. We are all lucky to have strong, resilient people who have gone before us–whether blood relatives or chosen family, or people we have just met. Ma is certainly one of the strong, resilient teachers. I’m very glad you had the chance to meet her and learn from her. Thanks for sharing these important ideas.

  5. Gracie Avatar


    What a beautiful post! You are strong and beautiful just like your grandma. You are a wonderful legacy that she has left behind. I’m so glad Agora was just what you needed at just the right time.

  6. jbyersccs Avatar

    What a powerful and intense reflection. Thank you so much, Saylor.The women of Agora are so strong and steady that you might think life is predictable. But that is because they stand ready, always, to serve their community–whatever happens. Safe travels and thanks for you insights.

  7. Dave's Mom Avatar
    Dave’s Mom

    Saylor – One strong wonderful woman begat another strong wonderful woman who was influenced by another strong wonderful woman from the other side of the world! Isn’t it amazing?! I’m feeling you’ve been twice blessed. Your post was beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing with us. My sympathy to you and your family. Grandmas are very special people.

  8. Cheryl Crupi (Emmett’s mom) Avatar
    Cheryl Crupi (Emmett’s mom)

    Saylor, what a beautiful post. My grandmother has been gone many years. I think of her … and the kind, generous and wise things she taught me … frequently. Your angels will always be with you!

  9. Mom Avatar


    This is absolutely beautiful! You have always been the apple of her eye & have always made her proud. She will forever been watching over you & protecting you. We love you.

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