Friday, September 21, 2007


This morning, my good friend Anne left her body after a 9-month battle with leukemia. It was and is, in every sense, a true birth process for this 54-year-old angel. I just realized that Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, begins tonight at sundown. Anne was not Jewish, but I was/am (born into this faith, and for years have celebrated being what one enlightened young man termed "Jewniversal": embracing all paths with acceptance and joy), and this awareness helps settle my grief just a little.

Since learning of her transition, I have walked, cried, and meditated on the nature of life and death; for all that I've written about death as a doorway, as an intrinsic part of life here on Earth, it is incalulably harder to hold these truths with equanimity when the pain hits so close to home.

Anne was my first friend when I moved to Sonoma County after my 3+ year healing hegira in rural NY State and in New Mexico. She had one of the warmest hearts of anyone I know; her own heart had been broken open to compassion years earlier by the death of her beloved sister to lupus, later by divorce, and through facing life's ongoing challenges. I can't count the number of times I did my laundry at her house over the years, or slept there during one of my many, many cycles of nomadhood on my exceedingly odd journey.

As I walked this afternoon, I felt that I had not been nearly as good a friend to her as I might have been. She has such a wide circle of friends, relatives and loved ones, I almost feel superfluous, if this makes sense. And yet I could have reached out more than I did, both before and during her illness. I asked her to forgive me for my failing—not yet aware that we're on the cusp of the greatest Day of Forgiveness for the Jewish people.

We are also on the cusp of the Equinox, when the veils between worlds are thin, and day and night are in equal measure. I feel, again, there is no accident in her timing to leave now. I'm sure she is helping to bring this much-needed balance back to our beloved Home, and to each of our Spirits.

Her life partner, Dennis, a loving soul whom I had the pleasure of meeting only once in person so far, has been keeping everyone up to date with her odyssey on the blog her son Owen started when this adventure began last winter. Anne and Dennis connected in the spring of 2006; it crossed my mind that they had approximately equal measures of joy and sorrow, all wrapped up in a breathtaking blanket of Love during the short Earth journey they shared: a birth process to surrender to Love, and then to dive as deeply into the heart of healing together as two people can in a lifetime. Since we are living in accelerated times, they completed a 50-year journey in 18 months. They are an inspiration to us all to love when Love presents itself, to release our fears and defenses when it's clear our partner has arrived, and to travel onward in grace from there. I sense that Anne and Dennis made this journey, in joy, in fullness, in surrender, in peace, and in abiding Love.

So now those of us who grieve do so as the ones left behind. While Anne did say repeatedly that her illness was part of path of her enlightenment, all I can think about now is her 18-year-old daughter and 22 year-old son, bereft of their Mom, not to mention the legions of friends and relatives who will miss her. I know in my heart she left because she completed her journey here, and in the process brought many of us to compassion, openheartedness and grace. The hardest part about death in the third dimension is the pain those of us left behind feel...

I wrote about reimagining Death in my e-newsletter, What Shines, several years ago. If you'd like me to send you that issue, please request WS #47, and I'll get it right out to you.

Blessings, love, forgiveness and grace to you during this incredible portal of transformation and opportunity.

1 comment:

Meryl Ann said...

What a special story, Amara! I danced between the veils this weekend too, below is my entry for Sept 22..
Hugs, Meryl Ann

Sept 22, 2007
Mom’s birthday

I had just spread a thin layer of honey on my face and begun to answer emails while my honey facial worked its magic on my skin.

I had been looking forward to mom’s birthday, today, for many months. Her passage into the next world had been an amazing and graceful journey, and I was honored to be by her side during the last month of her life. In awe, I experienced the deep sacred quality of the journey, and was privileged to witness her angelic visitation.

But just after mom died, my sister got to the valuables first, and there was nothing left for me. Even requests from my dad to return something - anything - fell on deaf ears.

And after two years of believing I would never have a piece of jewelry to remember mom by, I finally stumbled upon a solution. I decided that I would buy myself a special piece of jewelry on mom’s birthday, and that way it would always remind me of her. A check was scheduled to arrive the month before, so it seemed like perfect timing.

I window-shopped for jewelry during the spring and summer, in stores and online. I even found a lovely pansy ring that caught my eye. Pansies were mom’s favorite flower. And one website listed the meanings of the flowers – pansies are for "remembrance"!

But as it turned out, the expected monies ended up being only expectation, and so I had wistfully resigned myself to the fact that my little dream would have to wait another year, and that was that.

And then I opened the email from Gail. We hadn’t ever met in person, and had only known each other over the internet for several weeks, as part of a business relationship, but we had gotten very friendly. Still, it was a complete surprise when I read her email. I didn’t know that she was a beading artist, and she was writing to tell me that she had been inspired to make me a gift of a piece of beaded jewelry, and what color beads did I like?

In that moment, I realized that my dream wasn’t waiting at all! Tears rolled down my cheeks, and the bittersweet flavor of the salt mixed with the honey danced on my tongue.

And I knew that mom must have whispered in Gail’s ear, and I marveled at how much more miraculous this lovely synchronicity felt, compared to a mundane trip to the jewelry store with a check.

And now Gail’s beaded jewelry will forever remind me of mom and miracles and how the universe indeed can delight and surprise me in such unexpected ways!