Gabrielle Kearney August 20,1954 – February 10, 2014
Written by Oni McKinstry
Gabrielle met Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in London in 1979. She was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand in a Catholic family. In her own words, she described herself as a beatnik bohemian. She knew she had to find a Teacher so she traveled from New Zealand to England to look for Masters. She bought TimeOut magazine, which was a weekly publication of events going on in London, to see where the ‘spiritual’ talks were being held, but she had stiff knees and could not sit for long so she used to freak out about the pain.
She first learned how to meditate at the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order center in Bethnal Green. After she met Rinpoche, the rest as they say is history. Gabrielle met her husband Mario in 1983 at Merigar. They returned to New Zealand in 1987 and their son Emmanuel was born there on August 22,1987.
I met her in Auckland in 2000. I had just been to my first retreat with Rinpoche in Namgyalgar. I remember that she was very excited that some new ‘blood’ had joined the New Zealand Community and she said it made her feel renewed and she wanted to become more involved again. We kept in touch over the years as I traveled here and there. I returned to New Zealand mid-2012 and when she came to a Yantra Yoga course in February last year, she was in good spirits but had mentioned that she had been unwell and her doctor had diagnosed possible pleurisy. Scans done a few weeks later showed an 8 cm tumor on her right kidney and a shadow on her left lung. Surgery followed by chemotherapy began to affect her drastically and her physical health steadily declined.
When it became obvious that she was no longer able to go back to work or drive herself, her vast network of friends, and neighbors and Vajra Family rallied around to help. Jonathan and I used to drive four hours to stay with her every few weeks, to shop, cook and clean for her as well as be entertained by her many life stories. She had an astounding memory and seemed to recall every single event in her life. She used to lay on her couch during the day as it was painful for her to move, receiving endless visitors, like ‘lady Muck’- her words! She loved to practice Yantra Yoga and often reported to me how far she got with the Lungsang, doing it in her mind.
Gabrielle did not complain even once, she only said to me: ‘The pain and nausea is unimaginable!’. She told me that she was not afraid of dying, and that it wasn’t the fuss she thought it would be. She said the Guru, our master was already always in her heart. Gabrielle was attended at the end by her son Emmanuel Franchini, her brothers and DCNZ Community members.