By noon, I got outside of my mind and engaged in my volunteering job at a meal providing spot. Spending time clearing dishes and preparing them for the dishwasher brightened my mood. Then a moment of enlightenment appeared, when I realized everything said, written, or discoursed concerning death has been presented by those who have not experienced their final leave taking. Consequently, attending those preparing to die is as close as we get to the other side. The final closing of the veil obscures seeing beyond this world.
My first experience with attending a passing came when I sat with my Dad on his final day. I sat on one side of the bed and my sister Karen on the other. We spent the day holding his hands and assuring him it was going to be alright. His state was quite toxic and he was not coherent. All day he kept mumbling a phrase that was unintelligible. I kept squeezing his hand. He could not let go of repeating that last phrase. It was after we left his presence did he finally decide to leave us.
Several months later, while visiting Karen, she dreamed that day occurring again. In the morning she disclosed that in her dream state his final words became intelligible. What he muttered was, “I’m afraid.” That was my first instance that something had come back from the beyond.
I took that experience with me as I began attending the passing of two people very close to me. Then and now I am ever grateful to be blessed and honored to be able to sit near the brink as folks are preparing to take their ultimate journey. I get the benefit of relating these stories from a distance when I have had the chance to breath in their meaning and significance beyond their initial emotional impact. The essence of that concluding embarkation is typified by a Buddhist nun who ends her dharma talk with the phrase, “One of us is next.”