My father passed away three months ago. Not my favorite words. He left his body they say. His beautiful body.
My heart is hurting more than anticipated.
He was 88 and very ill with a blood disorder. For the past two years he was being kept alive with weekly blood transfusions at a local hospital. Barely alive the last 8 months. Between transfusions he was extremely weak. Holding onto things as he walked. Being held by loved ones when near. He rested on his couch while waiting for his life force to run through his veins.
A week before he passed he fell and hurt his knee. He was in the hospital when I arrived. Very quickly decisions had to be made. He kept saying ..I want to go home with Ethel. I want to go home with Ethel. .his beloved little dog.
Rehab or a nursing home were out of the question for him. He knew what he wanted.
Without being able to stand or walk, home meant no more blood. No more life.
I’m not sure he fully understood that part. A thought that haunts me day and night.
A body cannot live without blood. I knew it wouldn’t be long.
I held him in my arms and heart for four days. Making his transition as beautiful as it could possibly be. Sweet music, soothing oils, cool breezes, and whispers of love. Ethel by his side.
My dad was my best friend. We spoke almost every day since our eyes first met. I told him everything, and he told me. Our hearts vibrated on the same thread. Something rare.
The other day, with a friend I hadn’t seen since his passing, I wept in her arms. I haven’t heard from him. I’m second guessing everything. Did I do the right thing.
Told her how I held his space in safety and grace as he crossed. And that I hoped it was just as beautiful for him. That he was happy and at rest.
And then he came.
My phone on a bench two feet away, lit up with white letters moving across the black screen.
All the words I had just spoken.
..and 16 yr. old Ethel? The hospice nurse adopted her.
She now eats dog food instead of ravioli (my dad the empath Italian)
and, she wears tutus!
.angels and miracles.
This past weekend while at a retreat 200 miles away, my appendix decided it wanted out.
Thursday evening I attended a local talk about high energy sacred sites, in and around my area. Thrilling and fascinating to learn there are many.
Friday morning on the speakers website I found a place called Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center: The Northeast Theosophical Foundation.
On their site was listed a teaching retreat for Therapeutic Touch that was to begin that evening. A cancelation and one spot left when I called.
I’ve been traveling a lot this year so either a bag is still packed or it takes only a few minutes to throw one together. I have a list.
I could shower and find out what Therapeutic Touch was when I got there. The pull was strong.
The center said not to follow the GPS. Not knowing how to read a map, which really frustrates me, I had no choice.
A few wrong turns up windy dirt roads with warning signs saying Turn Around Get Out! ..and gargoyle statues at several bends ..true story,
a half hour longer than expected, I arrived. 5:00 pm just in time for introductions and dinner.
An immediate sense of peace and belonging came through me there. Excitement for how many other wonderful places I have yet to discover.
Living at Ananda Ashram this past fall I was used to and love, the family style of vegetarian food. And sleeping in a big old charming house; with lots of creaks and cracks. It felt like Home.
Too tired to shower ..plenty of time in the morning, I made my bed and went to sleep. Sleep did not come. It felt as though a woman was with me. A spirit.
She kept trying to tell me her name. Ku something and that she wanted me to Know her. Tossing and turning and not wanting to wake my cute roommate (instant love we fell), I found a vacant room. 1:00 am no sleep and a sudden tummy ache. Pain and chills that got worse throughout the night. Feeling Ku girl still right there with me.
No breakfast or TT training in the morning. No shower either. Another thing that happens living on ashrams that i also had to get used to. The unexpected.
Freezing with severe pain, I went back to bed. Like Spain, wearing all my clothes and covered in as many blankets as I could find. It felt like I was dying.
Lunchtime the dearhearts at the hollow wanted to call an ambulance. Something I could not even imagine.
Shaking and trying not to vomit, I drove myself to a local hospital 20 minutes away.
That night, after some morphine and several tests, I had surgery.
No shower, same underwear; that was in fact inside out, all alone, somewhere in Hudson NY
The miracle? everysinglething.
Later on I heard that my spirit friend must have been Dora Kunz. A clairvoyant, theosophist healer, who founded Therapeutic Touch, and lived and taught at Pumpkin Hollow.
It is said that during these teaching retreats her presence is felt.
As the surgeon wheeled me down the hall (didn’t he have people to do that for him?) he saw my mala beads and asked if that was why I was so calm? And if I had a mantra. Taught him Om Namah Shivaya, then asked him if he was tired? and if he knew how to make God laugh?
He said not to worry, he had taken a nap. ..“How do you make God laugh?”
..make a plan.
We both giggled and off we went.
3.25.16… Healing Miraculously. New discoveries and understandings. I was meant to be there ..just not for the retreat. Two more are given this year.
All in Divine order.
We are much stronger, on our own, than we realize. 💛
Never lose hope, my heart, miracles dwell in the invisible.
On this day last year in Viana Spain, I took what I thought to be my last breath.
Still not easy to speak of, but my heart wants to share a most precious Camino miracle.
Three days before, I awoke to bug bites. Inconclusive as to what kind. I believe spider.
Many large oozing, extremely itchy welts covered my body. My limbs and neck swollen to triple in size.
I managed to get creams at a pharmacy and an injection from a doctor. Both pharmacist and physician did not speak English, nor I Spanish. So I do not know what was administered.
On this day, two days after treatment, the itch was unbearable and I became extremely cold. I put on all the clothes I had in my backpack and walked into the village to find warmth. Remembering a church ruins from first arriving, I laid down on a crumbling altar. The warm enfolding of Spain’s sun streamed through the sacred roofless structure.
Within moments I began to loose consciousness. I knew I was dying.
First panic and fear. Realizing there was not time for that, a gentle deep peace washed over and through me. I prepared. Waited. Drifting in and out. Between here and there.
I’m not quite sure how long it was before hearing a voice tell me to get food. Feeling too weak I ignored the first call. It came again stronger.
Something gave me the strength to obey.
Just around the corner I could read a sign Vegetariano and Quinoa. The day before thoughts that it would be wise to start eating clean again. Here in the US I must avoid eating gluten but heard it may be possible in Europe. My stomach was not in pain but I was most likely inflamed. Not good with the infected bites.
After the first taste of quinoa a man came up to look at the menu that was near me.
Not speaking in days, I said “The quinoa is very good”
As I spoke, I remember thinking how odd it was that I was talking to this man.
He asked if I was alright?
Surprised he spoke English, I paused. He asked again. I showed him my hands and legs and said I thought I was dying.
He told me he was a medic in Ireland. Then immediately gave me antibiotics and steroids that he had brought on his journey with him.
I am sad that I was too ill to get name of the man who saved my life. But I think in the not knowing, no future contact. Just the miracle memory. There is Grace.
Much has happen between these two October fifths.
It is early morning as I write this from a tiny little Goddess temple in a closet at Ananda Ashram in NY
Giving thanks with deep deep gratitude for all that is and all that was.
On my way to find sun. One of the most treasured sights I will ever see, feel.
A man whistling Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Holding and swinging his father’s hand.
The last day I was able to walk the Camino it took 12 hours to go a distance of a few miles.
An on and off again rainy day.
Near dusk it started to rain hard. I could see the village up ahead but I couldn’t get there. It seemed to have backed further away with each step.
Maneuvering was difficult using sticks as crutches under my blowing poncho. My pack and front medicine pouch were getting soaked. The weight felt heavier. Tears burned my eyes and blurred my vision.
A man came up beside me.
Snapped the sides of my poncho closed, adjusted my hood, and covered my bags.
He held my hand and said a prayer in Spanish. Told me to pray to Saint James. I nodded.
He then reached in his zippered belt and gave me a prayer card. The Pilgrims’ Prayer.
I turned to place the card my zippered belt. Looked up. And he was gone.
That night in my bunk I overheard two pilgrims talking about a Spanish man Angel that walks the trail.
Along with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentines Day and a few other things, like wedding days, I’d like to abolish birthdays. Or change somehow. The pressure, have to’s, expectation and sadness they can bring. For receiver and giver. What is enough.
Yesterday was my daughter’s and also my good friend’s birthcelebration. I drifted in and out of their day witnessing shifts, rises and falls in emotions.
My daughter and I went to breakfast at a local spa ..a little Epcot France-ish, not really me, but beautiful and different, which made it special. My two girls and I have figured out how to make a memory and an experience pretty inexpensively and possible. We share good food, sip water from pretty glasses, and sit on porches over looking lily padded koi ponds, as the rain gently falls.
After breakfast I went on to my friend’s. She was crying. Not a great birthday so far. It’s not that she had big expectations; a little sweetness or surprise maybe, but an argument with her teenage daughter was not wished for. Although perhaps a gift. Isn’t all pain in some ways a gift. My heart hurt for her. And her daughter. Both had swollen eyes, and that stuck dark feeling you get in your chest from all the mud that’s been stirred up. A whirl of past present and future emotions spun in and through them. Exhaustion.
My birthdate was last month. I let go of every bit of birthday expectation from others, ever since a teen boyfriend gave me a yellow rain suit. The whole rubberized unromantic suit. Jacket and overalls. No jewelry in any of the fourteen pockets. I kept looking for months.
Our day is, Ourday.
Throughout the years my birth ritual has changed, but kind of involves the same things. A sunrise morning prayergratitude walk, something delicious to eat; alone or with a friend, a purchase ..usually a book, woodswalk, and a moonlight walk. The past few years I’ve walked through town giving away cherries. Not the blackred ones but those yellow light red, bigger ones. Rainier. They are a surprise. I love watching the burst, eyes wide, and then offering another.
My mom used to decorated the breakfast table while we slept. Crepe paper ribbons, balloons, and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY! sign, she made. The table was set with polkadot plates and napkins (Batman for my brother), and in the center a pile high of presents. We felt loved and special.
A tradition I continued for my girls but now wondering if it’s things like that, that set up expectation and disappointment.
Just thoughts. Always thoughts.
When my mom passed, for a few years on her day, November 11th; also my other daughter’s birthday, I’d take a photo of a tree. Some years it would be in full autumnal red blaze, some crinkly brown, and some leafless.
Other silent celebrations. In winter. Twig mandalas, candles, and feathers in the snow. Photos snapped with freezing fingers at the time of birth. A nod to the gifts that were received by that incarnation.
At the end of the day my friend was smiling from a reconciliation and family dinner. And my daughter was smiling too. We sat up on her friend’s rooftop porch looking down at summer happenings. Holding hands, giving thanks for our not so traditional mother daughter thing, and that we are friends.
Last year on October 5th I struggled for life on a crumbling altar in a church ruin in Spain.
I haven’t been ready to tell the story yet here.
But I’m thinking of changing my birth day to 10.5.14
No one will know. No gun to the head pressure to prove your love for me. No hotter than hell days.
But, no cherries.
Oh how Id love that rain suit now. Useful, practical, no strings attached.