Honoring Death and Dying
by Guru Rattana, Ph.D. - Issue #132 - May 13, 2007
My Journey with Mom/Ruth
A shimmering brown butterfly with gold tipped wings greets me now when I come into the yard. Mom loved butterflies. She said she would visit us in this form. She is telling me that she is free now. She is delighting in her new adventures and enthusiastically engaged in her next mission.
Below I share with you some special things about my mother Ruth's life, and her process of dying. I hope that some of our experiences will help you when you are in similar situations, and inspire you to higher states of consciousness and gratitude for your lives. My mother's life and death reminds me how important it is to choose our values carefully. For what we value determines how we live our lives. How we choose to live determines our level of satisfaction, both while we are in physical form and when our soul leaves our physical body. The process of death and dying is a potent tool to teach us about life itself. Ruth valued her friends and people in general. It seemed as though she reached out to make everyone her friend.
Her Choice - Die or Change her Lifestyle
I returned to Coronado May 8th after being with my mother in Evansville, Indiana for five weeks. Ruth made her transition May 4th. Her life celebration was May 6th. Ruth was 91 years old. She would have been 92 on June 23rd. She died of old age. She had no disease. With her rosy cheeks, Ruth seemed so vital and was so upbeat about life, we all thought she would live to 100 but, as she said, her gene pool had worn out. In fact, she often talked about how she had totally outlived her gene pool.
Ruth's mother died of colon cancer at the age of 73. Ruth's sister Beulah died of colon cancer at the age of 53 (when Ruth was 60). In her early 50s Ruth was very ill. She had severe migraine headaches and other serious health problems resulting from a blocked colon. We learned only a few months before she died that she had been diagnosed with cancer at that time. She refused to believe it, and she told absolutely no one. She said she went to several doctors who only gave her pills and that didn't make her feel any better. So in her words, I figured I could die or change my life style. So I decided to change my life style. I didn't see a regular doctor for another 30 years.
Ruth had a whole series of colonics with a naturopathic doctor, who also did some very painful procedures to unblock her colon. With a combination of yoga, help from the naturopathic doctor, becoming a vegetarian and radically changing her diet, her migraines went away and her total health began to improve. Ruth diligently learned about health and healing for the rest of her life. She was always trying new things so she could better take care of herself, and help others do so as well.
Guess What I Discovered? Yoga!
When I came home for Christmas vacation in 1968 (at the age of 24 and my first year in grad school), Mom eagerly greeted me, "Guess what I discovered? YOGA!" In 1967 she found a book on yoga at the Unitarian Church. She and her dear friend Isabel began teaching themselves yoga from the book. When I arrived, they had acquired Richard Hittlemans audio tapes, with several basic Hatha postures, including cobra and locust. Mother became my first yoga teacher. Wow! I had never felt so good! She sent me back to Bologna, Italy with an audio cassette, which I used for my daily practice.
I had my final exams two weeks after my return to Italy. My new yoga practice made me feel so good. I remember dancing and singing through the covered arches that line the Italian streets on my way home from school. My fellow students asked me why I was so happy during such a tense time. Yoga!
Ruth expanded her knowledge of yoga by traveling to study with the teachers who were available at that time. Every time I came home for a visit I got another yoga lesson. Mom was my sole yoga teacher for the 8 years before I was introduced to Kundalini Yoga. I remember Mom teaching me some of the basics of Iyengar yoga. We called it straight back yoga.
A New Life after 50
In 1970, at the age of 55, Ruth (and Isabel at 54) became Evansvilles first yoga teachers. Ruth taught at the Unitarian Church, the YWCA and the University of Evansville. In 1976, at the age of 61, she started the Self Awareness Center, the first center of this kind in the Midwest. Dad bought her a beautiful old house, which she and her friends transformed into a vibrant, innovative institution. She brought yoga, meditation, Reike, Feldenkrais, rebirthing and many other alternate activities to Evansville for the very first time. What is mainstream now, was a new world and the cutting edge in the seventies.
One of the salesmen who worked for Dad's music store for a short while, told him that Mom was possessed by the devil because she taught yoga and meditation. In Dads loving Pisces spirit he was simply amused. It was a daring feat of fearlessness to do what Mom did in Bible belt southern Indiana, but Mom knew no fear, and she always had an eager crew of collaborators, supporters and followers.
At the beginning of one semester, I was home while Mom was signing up students for her new class series. She taught 12 classes a week. I asked her, "How many students do you have so far?" She said, 189. Wow, that sounded good to me, bBut she was not satisfied. She wanted at least 200. And sure enough, she enrolled 225.
Dad was about Contribution Too
Dad Hetz was Mom's greatest supporter. He didn't do the practices, but he was delighted that she did. He wanted her to do her own thing, to be happy, and to make a contribution. Actually, Hetz paid attention to the principles that Ruth was teaching, and applied many of them to his business. Dad started H&H Music Service with a partner in 1955. (Our family moved to Evansville at this time.) I remember Dad changing all the florescent lighting in his store to full spectrum lighting. He delightfully reported that the whole atmosphere and everyone's moods changed almost immediately.
Community contribution was Ruth and Hetz's common theme. Dad not only sold musical instruments, he helped many young people start their own bands. I thought Dad and his partner focused mainly on public school bands, but one day I was in the repair shop of his store and noticed about 40-50 glossy black and white pictures of 4-7 person bands. I asked "What are those?" The head repairman replied, "Those are all bands your dad started. They have all sent pictures thanking your dad for his help".
I learned only at my last visit that Dad had helped one of these young men start his own music store in Evansville, which is still vibrant and serves the younger generation. H&H is also still a thriving business serving the tri-state area. It is run by the daughter and husband of Hetz's second partner, who bought Dad out when he retired.
Beginning of the End
One thing that Mom did not like was for people to tell her she was lucky to be so healthy. This is not luck! This is the result of hard work! She worked diligently at maintaining her health throughout the years. She even did weight bearing exercises with a private trainer at The Pit in her eighties. But after her 90th birthday, she realized that her body was getting old, and there were things she just would never be able to do again.
In her late 80s Ruth had heart arrhythmia and high blood pressure, which she managed with low doses of medication and the practice of Heart Math - regulating her breath and her mood, but the condition that took her down was spinal stenosis. Several vertebrae in her spine simply gave out. In September 2006, at the age of 91, a pain doctor did a procedure which should not be done on anyone over 70, causing more degeneration of the spinal discs. Because of her good health, both the doctor and Mom believed this procedure would help. Before and after the procedure, whenever she put any pressure on her spine through walking or sitting, she would have pain in her left leg. She finally had to simply stay in bed. With no pressure, the good news was that she had no pain.
The bad news was that she was bored, her body deteriorated, and she went down to below 80 pounds. At this time, she realized that this was the beginning of the end. It took her about 4-6 weeks for her to reconcile to the fact that she would not get better, and that her active life was over.
Ruth was always an active person. Even during the four years she lived in her one-bedroom apartment in the Holiday Retirement Village, she was out and about. When the weather was bad and she couldn't get out, she would walk the halls and climb the stairs to get exercise. She liked telling jokes to the people she met in the halls.
All of us 4 kids - myself, Bob, George and Kirin - visited her 3 final times - in September/October 2006, February/March 2007 and April/May 2007. Bob and his family also came for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was with her for a total of 10 weeks.
It is Hard to Die when You are Healthy
On a regular basis, Mom would say, Today I am going to die. Also, on a regular basis she would also tell us, I don't know how to die. At a certain point, this became a topic that we used to keep things light. Humor is certainly an uplifting and productive way to use your emotional energy. Despite the sadness we all felt, it is tiring and unproductive to be sad all the time. I arrived to be with her for the last time, a few days before Easter. I told her that Easter would be a good day. She could go out with Jesus. She remarked, Yes, Jesus would be very good company. HA HA! Mom knew how to spice her humor with a touch of irreverence without being disrespectful.
Mom had this idea that she could just die when she was ready, but the reality is that it is hard to die when you are healthy. (Sometimes it is hard to die even if you are unhealthy). We found out that even as you gradually waste away a healthy body will keep going, even if you have lost all your muscle mass, can barely eat, and your brain functions start to disappear. Mom had no disease like Cancer eating her away.
During one of her last conversations, Ruth told her friend, "They said if I would just do this I would last longer. If I would do that I would last longer. And sure enough. Here I am. I am lasting longer." She lasted longer than she consciously wished to, but she was funny until the end. Her mind did gradually go. In the last weeks she asked us, "Please think for me. It is hard for me to think clearly any more".
Enrolled in Hospice - Funny until the End
Ruth was enrolled in Hospice in late February, a bit more than two months before she died. She wanted to be enrolled in October, but according to the rules, one has to have a fatal disease. As her friend Isabel retorted, "What about old age. Old age is fatal!" And in fact, it was old age that finally won.
When the Hospice nurses came to enroll her, she demonstrated her perspective on the dying process. They seemed too serious for her, So she asked them to leave the room for a moment. When they came back she was wearing her clown nose! She told them not to take this all too seriously. They all laughed.
Mom kept her humor until the end. It was amazing how she adopted her humor to her condition.
She could no longer tell stories. She could barely talk much of the time, so she had to specialize in one-liners. She told her chiropractor friend who visited 10 days before her exit, I am so grateful to have my daughters with me, and I am so happy to be surrounded by happy people.
It was hard for everyone to believe that Ruth's time had come. She had, of course, slowed down in the last few years, but her spirit was always strong. She looked very healthy and she was mentally alert. Her doctor, who she loved because he brilliantly integrated holistic concepts with the best of modern medicine, told us he cited Ruth as an example to his patients, on taking care of themselves. Because of patient confidentiality he would never mention her name, but they always knew who he was talking about. He told us during his visit to her, the day before she died, that she was one of his best patients, because she actively participated in her own care.
The Body no longer Wants Food
The Hospice nurses came 2 times a week until the last week, when they came daily. Each time they took her vital signs and gave us the report. Mom was ready to die and eagerly awaited the news of weakening vital signs. Yet every week, the nurses reported the bad news - her vital signs were normal. She weighted 80 pounds (down from 115). She was eating at most a cup of broth 2 times a day, and a miniscule amount of quick oats with maple syrup. She could barely move, had to be lifted to the bedside commode, spent most of her time sleeping, and had almost no voice. Yet her heart, pulse, blood pressure and breath remained strong.
Mom was good natured, but she was understandably depressed that her body just wouldn't give up. The Hospice nurses told her that the only way she could die was to stop eating. So with her will of steel, she stopped eating just over 4 weeks before she died. Actually her body could barely tolerate any food at this stage. Her digestive and elimination systems had almost totally shut down already, so it wasn't like her body wanted food. In fact, at the final stages of dying, the body is more comfortable without food. It is unfortunate that people don't know this or try to feed the dying ones intravenously just to prolong their lives.
Actually Ruth had stopped eating for a few days at the end of March, before we all arrived for our next to the last visit. It was really hard for her body to digest and eliminate food, yet she rallied when she learned that we were all coming to see her for the last time. I know we all gave her energy that revitalized her. George figured out the magic chicken broth formula. Kirin and I made her simple grain and vegetable dishes, soups and salads that she loved, even in miniscule amounts.
I offered detailed instructions to her caregivers about food for her, but when we were all gone, she faded fast. She could barely eat, and started needing someone there around the clock. For several months she had had caregivers 9 am to 9 pm and the Holiday staff checked on her during the night, but she became so weak, she needed someone to be there if she needed a drink or to go to the bathroom.
Important Things to Know
Mother made sure that the Do not Resuscitate legal form was visibly on the wall by her bed. No one was supposed to call 911, which legally must do what they can to revive those who call for help. This is all important to know.
It is also important to know that when someone is close to death, it can be very uncomfortable to be in the body. Hospice provided two liquid medications that could be given orally without the need to swallow. One helps decrease anxiety, and promotes relaxation and sleep (although it is not a sleeping medication). The other reduces pain and assists in overall comfort. It contains morphine.
I found out during this whole process, that there really isn't any medication for intense pain that does not include some narcotics. Ruth's system was so pure that she had bad reactions to strong medications, and especially narcotics. Also, she did not like the effect on her mind. Until the last few weeks, she took mainly Bufferin for pain. In her words, the heavy medications made her feel goofy, and she did not like that at all!
In the last 3-4 weeks however, very low doses of the medications helped her mood. When she seemed unsettled, anxious or depressed, we would ask her what she wanted, and she would ask us, what the effects would be. We said that the medications would make her happy. She told us, "Shoot me the happy stuff. HA HA!" It worked. Her mood changed within a few minutes. I personally feel that it is very important to reduce, as much as possible, both the physical and psychological suffering at the end.
The Last Four Weeks
It took Mom 4½ weeks after she stopped eating to let go of her body. Hospice says it usually takes between 3 to 4 weeks. 3½ weeks after no food and barely any water, her vital signs started to slow down. Two days later on Friday April 27th, she was breathing the dying breath, seemingly gasping for air. Her hands and feet had turned purple. Hospice said it would be 2 to 24 hours. Mom, this is your big day, you get to leave your body!
Saturday morning Ruth was till breathing. Sunday still breathing. Sunday our two brothers and their wives and four grandchildren scheduled to come on Wednesday and Thursday. Monday still breathing. Tuesday still breathing. Wednesday, she turned pink again and her vital signs had slightly improved. Hospice was amazed. (So were we!) They had never seen anything like this. They said there was no physical reason she was still alive. Her vital signs did not support life in the physical body.
Plus, the few bed sores that she had gotten only in the last week or so, would heal when we turned her to her to another side. From almost open wounds, they would revert to what looked like a dark pink bruise. I had the hospice nurse turn her so I could see after she had died. The 3 sores where just purple, but not open wounds. She was healing with the Light.
(FYI Hospice and medical supply stores rent air mattresses that help reduce the pressure from the bed that causes bed sores. We had one for about 2 weeks. I wish we had asked for one sooner.)
The Last Few Days
In her life Mom was always in the Center Ring, so we weren't surprised that she would exhibit some kind of special phenomenon. Hospice stopped predicting on Monday. They said maybe there is someone she still wished to see. Wednesday my brother Bob arrived. He had spent a lot of time with her and took care of all her business and finances since Dad died in 1988. Mom was more peaceful when she felt Bob's presence. Thursday her doctor came to see her and I am sure she was pleased. Thursday all but one granddaughter arrived, and we encircled her bed.
Hospice says the dying person can't see, but they can hear. (I think they may be looking at the Light.) So we each said our names and how we loved her and were with her. We gave her permission again to leave. George put on Circus music and she seemed to smile. (Her father was a clown for almost 20 years before he got married and had kids. He took her to many circus events, taught her tricks, and gave her a good sense of humor.)
Friday afternoon at 5:00 pm, Ruth took her last breath. We were present just before, but she must have wanted to go alone. We left the room for a few minutes. When we came back she was gone. She had had no wrinkles on her face for many months. She had light around her and she was very peaceful. There were many, many angels in the room to take her away.
Several hours later it stormed with extremely loud clacks of thunder and blinding lightening. Mom had arrived in the Light and just wanted to let us know. Good job, Mom. You are Home!
We Work on Evolving until Our Last Breath
Mom and her two dear friends, Isabel 90 and Adele 91 (who started the first health food store in Evansville), talked much about conscious dying. They wanted to be examples of conscious dying. Mom was the first to go, so they supported her in her transition. Her biggest frustration was that she did not know how to die. She thought she could will her death, but alas the strong will that she used to create her life was not much use in leaving her body.
Before Kirin and I arrived April 4th, Bob sat at her bedside for two weeks, working on his computer. He told us that one afternoon, she awakened from her sleep and said, "Call the Hospice nurse and ask her what are the chances I can die consciously". She added, "Death is simply changing states of consciousness". Then she went back into her out-of-the-body state. We did ask and the nurse said it is rather rare, but some people are very conscious at their death. Mom retained a thread of consciousness, but did not share with us about her transformation at the very end. It was her journey, and she was attentive to where she was going.
After Mom went through the mini death process, her breath settled down to a very shallow breath every minute or so. We kept thinking that she was gone, but then another breath. She was working at this time to transmute her emotional body into her subtle body. We only take our subtle body with us. In order to merge with the Light we have to heal our emotional body, so old wounds are not enmeshed in our subtle body. I felt that this is what she was doing during her last days and weeks.
We work on upgrading our consciousness until the end. The last few months, weeks, days and even minutes can be very important in terms of our evolutionary transformation. We need to give up our control trips, accept the dying process, and surrender to Spirit. We are simply not in charge. Most of us have a lot to learn in the arena of surrender. Physical death is an opportune time to give up resisting the inevitable.
Working with the Light
Kirin noticed that Mom was learning to transfer her source of energy from her breath to Light. Out of the body when the breath is gone, pure Light feeds us. I have read that people at the end, who seem to be staring into space, are actually looking at the Light. They are connecting with and absorbing Light energy to facilitate their transition.
Carolyn Myss tells a very interesting story about an elderly woman and the Light. (Carolyn was one of Moms favorite authors. Mom once gave her a container of Sai Baba ash during the break of one of Carolyns seminars). Carolyn recounts that she was working at a senior home, and was asked to try to help socialize a woman who was considered to be very negative, because she refused to participate in any group activities. She just sat in her rocker and stared into space.
Instead of trying to convince this lady to do something, Carolyn sat with her and finally asked her, "What are you looking at?" The lady responded, "I am looking at the Light. It is so bright and beautiful. It makes me feel so peaceful". Once Carolyn had entered this lady's world, and related to what she was experiencing, the lady actually became less negative and socialized more.
Mother never said, but when her eyes were open and she was in another state of consciousness, it seemed as though she was looking at the Light.
Helping Mom Merge
Most of the time when Mom was sleeping we did not interrupt her process. We played and chanted mantras especially the last weeks. The CDs that we played that were the most soothing were the Crimson Series by Singh Kaur. Longing to Belong and Circle of Light by Gurudass were uplifting and excellent during the day to keep the energy high. We also got a CD of the Dali Lama chanting for someone dying. It is beautiful.
We massaged her gently, sometimes with and sometimes without lotion. We reminded her to leave out the top of her head. (In March when I massaged the top of her head, she told me not to mess up her coiffure. :+) One of her friends used waving movements of her hands to sweep energy above her body from her feet out the top of her head. This seemed very soothing to Mom. We did the same the following days.
Mom connected with Sai Baba while she was in India. She kept his picture on her dresser with his holy ash, which we sprinkled on her periodically. We also chanted Sai Babas mantra SAI RAM. She liked that.
Mom was so grateful that my sister Kirin and I were with her for the weeks at the end. She kept thanking us for coming. She was also grateful that brother Bob spent so much time with her and organized so many things. She appreciated that brother George visited and arranged things, that her grandchildren visited many times, and that her nieces and nephew came to see her, and she was grateful for the visits from all of her friends. She was surrounded by so much love. She said so many times, "We have so much to be grateful for".
(P.S., if you know someone who is dying and is alone, visit them even once. It means so much to be cared for and remembered. Evoke light and love in any way that you can a prayer, a joke or a story. Your presence could provide the energy they need to slip out on the Light.)
Our Role at the End
Our role at the end is to maintain the highest vibration possible for our loved ones. The vibration that we go out on is what determines where we go, and the nature of our next journey. In retrospect, I know that the most important role that my sister Kirin and I played was to maintain a space of love.
Of course, we had many chores to keep Mom comfortable, and to make sure that everything was attended to. We did have the presence of an angelic caregiver, Michelle, for several hours a day, so we could go for walks and take care of ourselves. I did my Kundalini Yoga and Meditation practice every day. It was critical that I feel good to stay balanced and centered. Equally important, I could maintain a high vibration, so that Mom could use it to do her final work. To all caregivers - be sure to take good care of yourselves!!
I share my story with you, so that you may appreciate the value of the love that you share with those dying, and with those still living. In the end, it was not about what we did, but the love we shared, the compassion with which we did our little chores, and the humor that we used to uplift us all. It is about a state of consciousness which knows that Spirit is real. Something is different now. I feel more love, more relaxed, and more compassionate. I see the incalculable value of both kindness and detachment. In the end, only Spirit goes with us. In the meantime, there is only kindness that speaks to and connects every heart.
I know we had a soul agreement. Mom started me on my spiritual path by introducing me and my sister to yoga. My sister and I helped her leave in way that she could merge in the Light. She needed us. We were there for her. I am very grateful that I could serve my mother in this way.
I realize that, as souls we come into this world to play certain roles, and to assist each other in various ways. In the end, we are not just mother, daughter, father, son, husband, wife or whatever relation. We are soul friends learning together, and helping each other along the way. We are both teachers and students. We are both friends and family. In every situation there is growth and evolution. In every completion there is a new beginning for all of us.
Connecting at the soul level provides us with invaluable knowledge, that is the source of deep understanding and forgiveness, and the catalyst for profound healing, transformation and love.
The Answer is Our State of Consciousness
About ten days before Mom left, her chiropractor friend Tom came to see her. She was sleeping most of the time now. We were sure he could just say a few words to her, and hoped that she would hear. We were talking to him in the living room and I said, Mom has so much light, she looks like an angel. He stood up and said, Ruth an angel, I have to see this! He walked into her room and Mom rose to the occasion and had her last chat. She could barely talk. They would exchange a few words, Tom doing most of the talking.
Tom and Mom had known each other for forty years, and explored many things together. They were both seekers and adventurers. Tom asked Mom if she would come back and tell him the answers to some of the questions they had been searching for. (No response) At one point, Mom said, "Tom, have we solved anything yet?" We all laughed. Later she said, "Tom I agree with you. You are right! What did you say?" We all laughed again.
After Tom left, we asked her a question and she said, "According to Tom's and my philosophy, which I can't remember. I don't know. HA HA!" Again she was entertaining us. Then she said "I have the answer". She stopped talking. I thought, Mom, please don't stop now before you let us know. Then she finally got it out. "We are unconscious. That is why we don't know. If we were conscious, we would know". And there we have it!
A Few More Stories
Ruth took a phone call about 6 weeks before she left. It was National Public Radio - Your membership is expiring. Her answer was "So am I. HA HA!" She told me, the lady on the other end didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Mom and I laughed.
Ruth would go in and out of consciousness. We knew she was going to the other side to meet with people and check things out. One time I was talking to her and she said, "Just a minute, I will be right back". She left, and sure enough, about a minute later she was back talking to me again. She didn't tell me where she went. She just said it was hard to keep all these different experiences separate. Sometimes she would wake-up and be surprised to be in this reality. One time she asked several times, "Where is Hetz?" until she reoriented herself to the Earth plane.
She awakened briefly while brother Bob was sitting by her bedside and announced, "I am going to give you kids orders until the day I die. Then no one can fault your upbringing". We all laughed at this one.
Just before a group of her friends arrived, a glass of water spilled all over her and the bed. When the friends arrived, she announced, "I have just been baptized". Of course, they all laughed.
One day she told me, "I will take all the attention I can get. I will never be this sick again". Then she added, "I am getting more attention than you kids got". Mom was very blessed. She got lots of attention, not only from us, but from her friends. She sure did have a lot of friends!
The lady who runs the retirement home where she had her apartment said, "Your mom is an icon in Evansville". She was also a pioneer in so many ways. She taught and inspired many, many people. In her early eighties she took Toastmasters to learn how to tell jokes better. She was invited to give inspirational presentations about getting old gracefully, and with humor.
Live Life Now - Earlier Ruth Stories
In the late 60s and 70s, Ruth's crusade was civil rights. She was active in open housing and in integrating Evansville. A few weeks before her departure, Mom recounted a story we had not heard before. In the early 70s she invited 4 black women to stay at our house for a few days while they were visiting Evansville crusading. Mom reminded us that these were the days where whites did not have black guests, but not defiant Mom. "I treated them like queens". She made her fresh bread and served great meals.
One morning, Ruth and the four black ladies were sitting in the living room having fresh rolls and coffee. One of Ruth's conservative friends stopped by. She was shocked and there was a hush in the room. Mom filled the silence with "Come on in and meet my friends!" This lady was very taken back, but Mom proceeded to introduce her new friends, and to keep the conversation going. This was Mom. Always pushing the envelope and enjoying herself during the process.
When Ruth was 65, she took $1800 that she earned from teaching yoga, and went to India with 3 friends and a back pack. Over the years she visited 21 countries, many with our father. She taught us that we are never too old to have new adventures, and to make another contribution that could help change people's lives
A Few Reflections
This is the first time I have been this close to the process of leaving the body. I feel we can be more at peace if we learn to accept and surrender to the death and dying process. How we deal with death impacts our own consciousness. I wanted to be uplifted and to upgrade my own consciousness. I feel in a more peaceful and graceful state now.
I talked to Mom about leaving content. I told her the most important thing was to leave feeling satisfied. I reminded her of all the wonderful things she had done in her life, and all the people she had helped. She said she was very satisfied with her life. I know it was true. Ruth taught us how precious life is, and to live every moment fully. In the end, she was very happy to have lived such a rich and contributory life.
We need to give our loved one's permission to leave, and let go ourselves. It is a delicate balance, between giving them energy that maintains their earthly connection and letting them go. Their survival instincts will grab onto your energy and use it to hold on. Ruth's close friends were constantly trying to evaluate if they were keeping her here, or supporting her in leaving.
We learned, and so did Mom, that it is hard to die if you are healthy. The good news is that we have this time to be peaceful and to do our inner work, so we can leave at a higher vibration. I know Mom was bored lying in bed for those months, but it gave her time to make her transition, connect with the other side, and to make spiritual advances. She is certainly pleased now to be merged in the Light. Her eight month process also gave her family and friends time to accept the situation and let go.
The last birthday card I got from Mom had a picture of a kid skate boarding, with a cake in one hand and a chocolate sundae in the other. The front read, No matter how old we get, we still have an appetite for life. Inside read, Especially the dessert part! Besides great meals, Mom always made us fresh desserts every night. We came home to fresh baked bread, cookies, cakes and pies. Mom was a Cancer, dad had a Cancer moon (The food sign of the Zodiac). We always had good food, and enjoyed talking and telling jokes at the dinner table.
I guess we were lucky that Mom didn't know about health food when we were young, but there was so much zesty love in our food, the good vibes nourished us. Also, for years we got fresh beef (no hormones) shipped to us from Dad's father's farm in Ohio. It came frozen, and filled up our freezer in the basement.
Moms last weeks inspired me even more to really live life to the max, and to appreciate every day. I also want to perfect my sense of humor. One of Mom's favorite quotes is, If you don't live life on the edge, you are taking up too much space. HA HA!
Organize and Celebrate Your Life
Ruth was an organizer. She had given away lots of things, and everything in her apartment was perfectly organized. In March, during a visit, her Gemini friend Adele remarked how cleaned out and organized everything was. (Adeles house is filled with books and papers about health, health food, spirituality, etc. She admits that she must clean out). Mom told Adele, "That is why I am ready to go and you aren't ready yet". We all laughed!
Ruth wrote her own obituary, which she dictated to her friend Diane in March. (In her eighties, Mom's practices included Buddhist meditation and Feldenkrais body awareness training. Mom absolutely loved the classes she took from Diane, who Mom considered to be one of the best Feldenkrais teachers. Diane reminded me a few weeks ago that Mom, who studied with Feldenkrais himself, was her first teacher.) Ruth leaves a legacy of Light Workers, who she taught and helped inspire to their own greatness.
Ruth had her cremation and burial arrangements made and paid for years ago. She absolutely refused to have a funeral at a funeral home. How about a life celebration for your friends? Better yet, how about a party? Yes, a party would be fine. So we had a party at the Unitarian-Universalist Church (she was a member since 1955). The room was packed. We told lots of funny stories. One friend passed out clown noses. One lady from Mom's retirement home said "I expected to cry, but I laughed so hard and was uplifted by all your funny stories". Mom would have been pleased.
Hi, Mom. I love you! As they said in the circus, See you down the road.
Check out Yogi Bhajan's excellent book on death and dying - Merging with the Infinite and his 2 DVD set - Crossing the Hour.
"Death is a process where your consciousness does not exist within the control of your ego". It is also a subject in which interest increases with age.
Merging with the Infinite taps into the rich wisdom of Yogi Bhajan in order to enlighten the inquiring reader, and lift the veil from a process with which we are all inevitably linked.
See also Crossing the Hour - complementary 2 DVD set.
Smile - Some of Ruth's Favorite Quotes
Finally, as my sister-in-law Mary (Bob's wife) said, "One thing we must all remember is that Ruth has now significantly enlarged her sphere of influence. We can count on blessings coming from the Cosmic Center Ring to filter down to us earthlings. Let's be watching for sightings in daylight and in dreams".
If you see a clown, it may just be Ruth reminding you that Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
If you find yourself in a dilemma, Ruth would advise you, If you must choose between two evils, pick the one youve never tried before.
If you are searching for happiness, Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile. - Sir Wilfred Grenfell
When you are making life choices, dare to do something different because
If you think what you have always thought, you will feel what you have always felt.
If you feel what you have always felt, you will do what you have always done.
If you do what you have always done, you will be what you have always been. - Aristotle
On her refrigerator door she displayed the bumper sticker, Don't believe everything you think!
A rare secret cremation mantra and meditation is available on Page 174 of my book Sexuality and Spirituality, 2nd Edition. Try it! It has the power to develop the ability to command our lower consciousness to higher consciousness.
Chant in a monotone the following mantra 3 times on one breath.
HARI NAM TAT SAT
TAT SAT HARI
TAT SAT means "That which is".
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