It’s hard to believe that a month has passed since you made your transition from this material life. I miss you so much. You were a good brother. Always keeping tabs on us and sharing all the moments of your life. Joyfully celebrating our good moments. Compassionately commiserating our bad moments.
I miss you, your smile, your hugs, your constant stream of consciousness. I miss your calls. I keep getting that anxious feeling I got when you hadn’t called in a couple of weeks. That feeling comes often now and reminds me that you’ll never call again. As I wipe the tears away, I remind myself that I can talk to you any time, just as I did when I couldn’t be with you every day.
Being away from you during that last week in March was difficult. The day before I left, as I was making calls trying to get you help, I knew you were already suffering. You hadn’t smiled in days, and I could see the agony in your eyes, begging and pleading for some peace of mind. I needed to go, because it was an important step in my path. I had a great week of classes and met a wonderful group of people. Yet every free moment was spent on phone calls about you or pacing and trying to figure out ways to help you. They finally sent you to the hospital. You were caught in a horrible dilemma—too physically sick to be on the mental ward and not sick enough to be on a regular ward. They finally figured out a way to admit you. I constantly prayed that they would figure out how to help you. I paced for hours. I barely slept that whole week. I knew that you were in good hands with our sister, brother and sister-in-law still there for you, but that didn’t stop my feeling guilty for not being there, even though they assured me there was nothing I could do to prevent your continued decline.
On my last night away, I got another upsetting call while I was at dinner with some of my new friends, and I planned to go directly to the hospital from the airport. After dinner, I asked my friends to form a prayer circle with me at the labyrinth. As the tears streamed down my face, we formed a circle holding hands, and I set an intention to pray for whatever was for your best and highest good. One friend suggested that I walk the labyrinth alone, while the four of them prayed from the compass points around me.
I started the labyrinth in a frenzied state of half talking about you and half talking to you in my mind. Then I once again decided to talk to you spirit to spirit as I had done earlier in the week, which had given me some peace. So I began a conversation, focused on what I would say and do if I were standing next to you. First, I would stop all of my frantic worrying and settle into a peaceful state of just being together. I felt you sigh with relief. I had reached you and could feel your energy, your spirit. I felt our connection. So I listened to my still small voice within and was led to sing to you, “You Are My Sunshine,” your favorite song. I sang softly through the tears and sent you love and peace. I also sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” another favorite, before returning to singing “…Sunshine” repeatedly. During that lengthy labyrinth walk, I struggled against the fear and the pain and kept returning to being present with the song while sending you the healing energy of love and peace. By the time I finished, I was much calmer and more peaceful. I felt like I had rocked you to sleep. I also felt and gratefully received all the love and peace you sent me in return.
The next day as I waited for my flight, our sister called with some better news, so I breathed a quick sigh of relief and decided I’d still go directly to the hospital.
When I arrived, you were sound asleep. I didn’t want to disturb your rest, so I sat calmly waiting, allowing myself some peaceful down time. You finally started to stir, so I softly said your name. You opened your eyes and gave me a sweet beautiful smile. For just a moment, your blue eyes were bright and clear, and I saw that you were still in there somewhere. Your sweet beautiful spirit was still in you.
Then you closed your eyes again, and I watched as you fully woke to your current agitated state.
I’ll never forget that last beautiful smile. I like to think you were telling me thanks for sharing the previous night’s conversation and songs, that you felt the connection, too. I also felt that you forgave me for not being there, because you knew I was with you in spirit.
You gave me a pure example of: “Whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name, there is love.” We don’t even have to be physically present. We can gather in Spirit. We can find the essence of love, our bond of Oneness, our connection to God, to each other, to everything, whenever we center in Spirit.
We can rephrase it as: Whenever we center in Spirit, we realize our connection, our bond of unconditional love, the love that is God.
We say that when a loved one dies they live on in our hearts. I truly believe that your spirit still exists, and I just have to center in Spirit to tug my heartstring that connects me to you. Rest easy, my dear sweet Rick, we’ll talk again later.