By Sue Lindsay
Even though it was expected, when the call from my brother came early in the morning of January 2nd, I felt like I had received a punch to my stomach. Our mother of 96 years was gone from us. No more visits to “Nana”, no more laughter, no more memories shared, it was all gone. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I went downstairs. It was still dark, and that made me feel even more lonely. My husband had gone back to bed at my request. It was an odd feeling. I wanted to share my grief, yet I also wanted to be alone.
After the sun had been in the sky for an hour or so, I decided it was time to call our two grown sons. I first called our younger son, Doug. We acknowledged our sadness and then he told me that since Nana had been in failing health for a while, he had been preparing himself for this call. We shared some remembrances and talked a little about funeral arrangement possibilities.
When I called Mike, I was in for a surprise. Mike had an especially close relationship with his Nana. He called her almost every week and shared his life and love with her in a special way. When he answered the phone, he told me he knew why I was calling. He said that Nana had “come to him” in the night. That he woke up (about the time of her passing) and sensed her presence in the room. He said that he knew it was her, and that she was happy, joyful and wanted all to know this. I was shocked! This – coming from my common sense, rational, no nonsense and skeptical son – was amazing! The fact that I had also had other-worldly experiences, only confirmed to me that what he had told me was true.
Practical matters lay ahead, yet miracles were also happening. As I packed and prepared to travel the five hours for the family gathering and funeral, I became increasingly aware that my level of joy was increasing. I packed effortlessly. I gave no thought to the decisions made. It was as though decisions were being made on a higher level. As I was traveling and got closer to my destination, my joy increased so that my very being felt light and spacious. Nothing bothered me. I was being carried on a cloud.
The day of the funeral arrived. I felt a sense of “reunion” with the people assembled there. Some in attendance had been the focus of humor in our family for their quirkiness, oddness or particular way of being. In my elevated state that day all I knew was radiance, love, and truth. All that existed was the present moment. My mind was fixed, unable to go into the past or the future because truth existed only in the now. This was not intellectual truth but rather, Truth of Being, Truth of Life – Eternal Life – Truth that God is All and that the source of All is ever surrounding, unfolding and expressing itself in every present moment.
My joy was present throughout the service. Although those in attendance remained the same in human appearance, a shared heavenly Love had united us all in a way that no earthly experience could do. I loved everyone with intense love, and they seemed to love me in the same way. As I write this now, I realize that it is impossible to describe this in any meaningful manner with just words. We were all Love, made of Love, and living Love. A Love beyond description. A living, breathing, palpable Love that infused everyone and everything.
After the luncheon that followed the service, people gathered in the room where the casket was placed. I became aware that the body in the casket held no meaning for me. I had no attachment to it at all. In fact, none of the “bodies” around me seemed real. I saw the people, but I knew their bodies held no significance. I sat down next to my sister and, every once in a while, looked over at the casket. I started to giggle to myself. The laughter arose within me but was not a laughter of the commonplace. This laughter had a joy of the everlasting. More and more I became aware of the total insanity of the whole scene! The laughter of the absurd came upon me! The Truth was all around. I knew it. I felt it. I lived it. Life is life and death is but a bad joke that has lost its humor. Life is joy, love, union and always in the ever-present now.
The funeral truly seemed like a scene from a movie, everyone playing a part, a role, unaware of what was truly going on! For some reason, I had been given the script – the screenplay – and could see that it was nothing more than that! Not real – just a play, a movie! And just like people “die” in movies, they “die” in this movie, too.
How I wish I could reach back and grab that awareness, hold onto it and live in that state constantly. My sense of being “carried on a cloud” remained with me for several days, but then slowly faded. My “normal” awareness has returned, but never without the memory of when Truth made its home in me.
“God’s peace and joy are yours. Today we will accept them, knowing they belong to us.” (W-105.1:1-2)
“He cannot give through loss, nor can His Son. Receive His gift of joy and peace today, and He will thank you for your gift to Him.” (W-105.6:4-5)
Quotations from A Course in Miracles are from the Complete and Annotated Edition, published by the Circle of Atonement.