I am extremely sad today and it is hard to write. We found out last week that one of our dearest friends, aged 50, collapsed and died on the street in San Francisco. What is so shocking is that he has always been very active, happily married, an amazing father and a guy I pictured living a long and healthy life. Dennis is one of those guys whom everyone loved. He was kind, thoughtful, sincere, and always a gentleman. What helps me with my grief is that I don’t believe there is death of the soul. I feel the beautiful loving energy which is our spirit lives forever. A few years ago I wrote an story about my unique experiences with life and death. I hope you will take the time to read it.
LIFE AND DEATH
When does the spirit inhabit the body? Millions of people strongly believe that it is at the time of conception. Metaphysicians have written that a soul chooses the exact time of birth to enter the body, its vehicle of expression, hence, the importance of the astrological configuration which is a map of the current incarnation. Until recently the consensus was, “We are our bodies, not our spirit.” It has been a common belief that when our physical being dies, we are gone forever. This has placed great stress on families struggling with the moral issues of keeping their loved ones alive with mechanical devices and/or feeding tubes when the person has been declared brain dead, yet the heart beats on. When does the soul depart? I have had a few remarkable experiences which have answered these questions for me.
In the autumn of 1991 my dear friend Debra was due to deliver her second child the end of September. Because she and I were extremely close, she included me in much of the excitement surrounding the birth of her baby, as she had with the arrival of her daughter three years earlier. Debra and her husband invited me to wait with her parents while she was in the delivery room. They said they would call me when they were ready to leave for the hospital at the first signs of labor.
When the due date approached I realized I didn’t have directions to the hospital which was over an hour away and I hadn’t heard from Debra in a few days. I called her house and was told by her mother, who was there baby-sitting, that she was at the hospital and had been in labor for several hours. Just as I hung up the receiver, the telephone rang. “If you are coming, you had better leave quickly to avoid the rush hour traffic on the Bay Bridge,” said her husband. I looked down at the pile of mail I had just brought in moments earlier and was relieved to see, right on top, an envelop from Debra with directions to the hospital. I grabbed the map, called my husband Bryan and said, “Debra is about to give birth. I won’t be home for dinner.”
I remember talking to myself as I drove the 40 miles to my destination in Vallejo. “Calm down, think clearly, drive carefully.” I was “beside myself” with anticipation. “Will I get there in time to see the baby’s father carry his son to his family in the waiting room?” I was picturing what would happen from several movies I had seen. I had no trouble with the directions and arrived safely. I ran across the parking lot, charged the elevator and pressed the button leading to the maturity floor.
As I stepped out of the elevator, directly ahead of me, I saw the nurse’s station. A woman dressed in a colorful uniform said, “May I help you?”
“I am here to wait while my girlfriend gives birth.”
“What is her name?’
I happened to see her name on the white board and pointed to it with a shaky finger.
“Go into that room to the left.”
To my surprise she had guided me into the labor room. The atmosphere was surreal. One small lamp illuminated the tight space where Debra lay panting. My friend had decided to give birth naturally without drugs. She and her husband had practiced Lamaze. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. There were no words spoken, just an electric energy which pulsated with sound and color. I wasn’t hallucinating. I actually heard a gentle crackling and observed a pale pink hue which permeated the room. I looked up and saw a large round clock which read 5:00. I blurted, “The baby will come at 7:00.” That comment came out of nowhere.
I seemed to know exactly what to do; how to assist Debra. She made it clear she didn’t want any small talk or fussing with her body. Both her husband and I began to coach Debra with words of encouragement and she seemed to be appreciative of the cool wet cloths I dabbed on her brow. I was in awe of her strength and determination as she diligently exerted the power from within to liberate her unborn child. There was an astounding sense of peace and calm as each contraction accelerated.
Soon it was time to move next door to the delivery room. The stocky female physician greeted the three of us politely. She didn’t ask who I was, nor did she seem to care. It felt natural, as though we all were going to be a part of something extraordinary. The doctor motioned for me to stand near Debra’s feet. The anticipation intensified as the baby’s head began to crown. It felt as though I was in a magnificent dream, the whole experience had an ethereal quality. The gentle crackling sound, that was still present, grew to a more energetic buzz and the color of the atmosphere was now a deep rose. After several minutes of rhythmical pushing, the doctor pulled the baby from Debra’s birth canal. As she placed the magnificent newborn on Debra’s stomach the highly charged energy in the room coalesced. It seemed as though the universal life force was hovering like a halo over the infant. At the moment the umbilical cord was severed, with a swish, the atmospheric cloud clearly funneled into the body of Debra’s son. I was witness to a sensory phenomenon and profound spiritual experience; the miracle of birth. The time was 7:00 pm.
The same month Debra’s son entered the world to begin his cycle of life, my dear Aunt Letha, who was like a mother to me, began to decline in health. She was 86 years old and of sound mind, but I noticed she appeared frail and sluggish. She said to me, “It is odd Kay, I feel as alive in spirit as I ever have, but the body parts are wearing out.” It was becoming increasingly difficult for her to manipulate the “walker” she had used for many years.
My aunt and I had a strong bond. For the next few weeks and during the holiday season we attempted to converse as deeply as we could about death and dying. She spoke honestly about her wishes for cremation. We had no unfinished business; our moments together were poignant and meaningful.
Early in February, 1992 I got a call from her retirement home that they had taken her to the hospital. I rushed to see her and her words were, “I tried to walk and my legs just wouldn’t carry me.” There was no talk about trying to “fix” anything. We both knew it was time for her transition. Aunt Letha wanted only my company and told her friends not to visit. She began to lose control of all her bodily functions, but that didn’t stop us from having heartfelt communication, revisiting many of our shared experiences. We enjoyed going back in time often laughing at ourselves. I found it amazing we weren’t crying. Although I did plenty of that with my husband, she and I were content just to be together. She said to me, “I am not afraid of dying but I don’t want to leave you alone.”
“I’m not alone Aunt Letha. For the first time I am in a balanced relationship and have a loving husband. I am happy and healthy. I’ll be okay.” This must have satisfied her because it wasn’t long before she began sleeping more and talking less. The doctor informed me she had just a few days to go.
As her breathing became more labored I asked for a cot to sleep in her room. Late in the afternoon as the nurses were attending her, they pulled back the covers, and I was shocked to see how wasted her body had become. Her entire torso was misshapen and filled with fluid. The change was dramatic. It seemed to be in a state of decay and she had only been in the hospital six days. I knew her death was imminent.
I was looking out the hospital window into the distance as the sun was setting .I had a sense of the vastness of the universe. I knew my aunt and I were both a part of the continuing spectrum of life. I would walk out of the hospital with my coat (body) on while she would leave hers behind. But neither of us would truly “die;” our essence would survive forever. I felt an overwhelming sensation of peace.
Slowly the energy of the room began to change. What had been overcast and gloomy was “alive” with the “sound” of heat. The space tingled with a warm rosy glow. Again, I was aware of the presence of a universal life force. This time the power was guiding my Aunt Letha home. Several times during the night she would call out to me. Repeatedly I coached her, “All your loved ones are awaiting your arrival. You’ll be fine. Enjoy the ride.”
The finale to this “thing” called death was astonishing. I was watching her chest expand and contract. With each breath my aunt was fading in time. All at once the energy in the room began to swirl like a cyclone and was sucked down into her body. The sensation arose from her heart transformed as a magnificent golden light of love. She had taken her last breath and her spirit had left her body.
I do not fear death. I have chosen to “live” my life as if each day could be the last. When it is time for me to go I will say, “I have no regrets.”
I truly believe our dear friend Dennis lived his life that way.