My friend David died on Saturday.
His life, and his dying process were an incredible gift to me, and to many others. David had been a spiritual seeker for many years. He had been studying/participating in many aspects of spirituality. I first met him at Dances of Universal Peace, and our paths had crossed time and again over the years.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a Celebration for him. He decided he’d like to be at his party, instead of missing it when he’s dead.
It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.
There were people there I’ve known for years, from lots of different spiritual groups. When I got there, a little late because I had to work, the celebration was already underway. They were just getting ready to do some dances. David sat in his chair in the center of the 3 circles (pretty big crowd). The third dance was “shalom” where that’s the only word, and you move around the circle, clasping hands with the next person, looking deeply in their eyes, and singing “shalom”. There was so much love in that room! There were many tears, and you could almost feel hearts bursting open. It was a huge realization that we were all connected, all one! The concerns of the world seemed to fade away, and there was only this love radiating everywhere.
A lovely pot-luck meal followed, and afterwards people could go one at a time to see David in a side room. He was lying there on a couch, so present, not saying much, little energy, but SO present! I felt like I was with a great spiritual master and received a HUGE blessing – could barely talk for a couple of days. It was profound!
He was needing 24/7 care at that point, but was still pretty lucid. I volunteered for a few hours with him recently – and I feel blessed again. We had some lovely conversation between his naps – he’s still talking about celebrating – and about what’s really important (as opposed to what he used to think was important!). He said the most important and best question to him now is, “How can I be more loving and kind to you?”, which he kept repeating. Clearly the “you” was generic.
He had had the time to process so much, and it seemed like all his other concerns had fallen away and he had gotten to the essence of truth. We were talking about how hard it is to be unable to do things for yourself that you have always taken for granted. David said that he had realized from that that you’re still useful even when your body doesn’t work anymore.
This man used his dying process as an incredible gift to so many people! I guess that’s one good thing about cancer – you get time to put your affairs in order and an opportunity to give of yourself and leave people with something wonderful (if you’re not totally freaked out and can just “be” with it.)
My friend Pearl, a Buddhist, did something similar before she died earlier this year. There was no party, but she wanted people to be able to come and sit with her. She was so present and compassionate. All her judgments about people’s annoying and draining personalities, and what was unfair about the world had vanished, dropped away.
And again, what was left was love.
That is how/where I want to live every day! Such an affirmation of life!
Copyright © 2009 by Sara Wolfe