Death is such a two-sided experience for me. I am human -- I feel the sinking, aching, empty, and wrenching sensations that most of us feel when someone we love dies. But being so connected to the Spirit World, the Other Side, Heaven, or whatever you want to call it, has always played a role in how I process these losses --- which as it turns out, aren't really losses at all. Just transitions. The ones we love stay with us, most times...or at least check in. Some are having way too much fun enjoying their Now-ness without the heaviness of what we call negativity weighing them down, knowing full well that it won't be too long (in their perspective) before you're in each other's full presence again. In fact, it is on the Other Side that we are truly as alive as we can be. Those who are bravest among us here are the those who are able to bring that Heavenly energy down through their bodies, and anchor it into their reality, and sometimes into the collective. And that's actually saying a lot, because we are all brave to have incarnated here in the first place. I have been blessed a number of times now, to witness the soul in its transition Home, and to see how truly beautiful it can be, as I'm sure many of you have as well...
My Great-Aunt Nancy and I -- we had a thing. She was a bit shy, and shrunk herself too much. She had this sad sweetness in her eyes, like she had seen too much. Like she had suffered too much. And for some reason, whenever I saw her, it was like reuniting with an old friend, and her face would light up. And so would mine. She was safe, you know? We would sit in my grandparents' backyard whenever we were gathered there, which is where I usually saw her. When the other adults weren't looking, we would share tobacco together, tell each other the stories of our lives, and laugh in our private haven. I told her things I've never told anyone else in my family. She was safe. She was a soothing element with whom I could truly breathe. And I hope she feels the same.
I didn't see her often, but when I did, we would always enter our safe haven once more, and speak as old friends do. The last time I saw her was in my 20's, when I was visiting California after having moved from Hawai'i. I remember my grandparents wanting to go to Costco, and Great-Aunt Nancy and I waiting in the car so we could talk. Again I shared my secrets at that time with her, and she told me hers. I remember thinking as we parted that we would probably not see each other again in this realm. I tried to ignore it, but I knew deep down that it was true.
About a year and a half later, I got a call from my Mom. She called to explain that Nancy was very ill in her lungs, and that she was being cared for by her daughter; a cousin I had never met, that I could remember. I wept that day, and knew the time was near. I checked in frequently throughout the subsequent weeks, hearing news of little improvements, but mostly a slow and steady decline towards the final curtain.
One afternoon, I was making raw chocolate in our jungle love shack, listening to the sounds of gentle rain on our tin roof, when I heard my name in just above a whisper, from a distance. I looked out the window to see if anyone was walking up the trail towards our home.
"Jewels," the voice said again, only this time clearer.
In my mind's eye, I suddenly saw the image of my Great-Aunt Nancy. She was smiling, and wearing the lavender vest I often saw her wear in the past. She drew a very deliberately deep breath and spoke. "I'm not really in my body much anymore. I'll be heading Home soon. I'm happy about this, I really am. It's so beautiful, Jewels." She pointed behind her to a blue tunnel of light and smiled again. "I'm happy I'll be able to come and visit, and that you'll be able to see me. I'll just be right around the corner. I love you very much."
Tears were streaming down my face, and I had the holy chills all over my body. "I love you, too, Aunt Nancy. And I will miss you."
I hugged her in my mind's eye, and then she was gone, and I was left stirring my tears into the bowl of raw chocolate I had been mixing. I cried hard, followed by a great sigh of relief. Because deep down I knew in my heart that my Great-Aunt Nancy was about to be more joyful than she had ever been in her current lifetime.
The next day, my mom called to check in. She told me that Great-Aunt Nancy was heavily sedated and it wouldn't be long. I told her that I had just connected with her Spirit the day before, and that I knew she was going soon. I was comforted by the sound of my mother's voice as we both processed the impending death of this kind and humble woman. She died very soon thereafter, within days.
The following week, while at a community gathering on the land we lived on, I received a phone call from my Mother. "Jewels, I just found out something incredible. I just got a call from Nancy's daughter. She told me that a few days before she died, while she was heavily sedated, she suddenly woke up and was very alert...and she started saying, 'Jewels...Jewels...Jewels..." Didn't you say you were talking to her Spirit then? I think she heard you!"
The most incredible sensations covered my body, and once again I saw my Great-Aunt Nancy smiling in my mind's eye, radiant. "I made it!" she cried.
"Oh my God, Mom. I don't even know what to say. That's amazing," I wept.
And Great-Aunt Nancy walked away, into the most beautiful, soft light. And I rejoiced to know that these feelings we so often have --- these connections we feel --- these messages we receive --- these things we are so often told are only in our minds. Well, they aren't. They are real. They have meaning. And we are all so much more connected than we know.
I don't often receive visits from Great-Aunt Nancy, but I did as I was writing this. She popped in to say hello, looking like a young woman who was having the time of her life. She was running through a field of flowers, her hair in long golden waves, and having far too much fun to stay and chat for long. She was in her bliss, and breathing in all of the sweetness she could...Just as it should be. And I am happy for her.