By Lynn Pax
As I sat at my father’s bedside toward the end of his passing, I saw him take an invisible (at least I couldn’t see it) glass from someone (who I also couldn’t see), bring it to his lips, drink and smiling, hand it back. He pointed to the wall behind me. There was no one there. I had studied the process of dying and realized that he had visitors, loved ones who had already passed, stepping across dimensions to help him with his transition.
He seemed happy to see them but also shocked. When he looked back to me, he seemed shocked again. I had a huge smile but it was covered in a waterfall of tears. I wish that I had had the wherewithal to ask him who had come but I was too in awe of what I was witnessing and too devastated. I had to accept that he already had one foot on the other side. I could not imagine my life without him. It is said that dying is much easier then borning. I take comfort that he was not alone.
Since then, I occasionally catch a glimpse of him, his grey hair or his walk, in a crowd, or on a bus. It is never him of course, but for a split second I “see” him. I began to feel that he is letting me know that he is with me or thinking about me, and I say “Hi dad” when he jumps into my consciousness like that.
This same phenomena has happened with other lost loved ones so I set up an ancestor altar. On the altar I keep water, an electric candle, and pictures of people and pets who have passed. Occasionally I offer food that someone loved, especially if I have friends and family over for a meal. This way those whom I will always love and will always miss are still part of my life.
A recent loss inspired this essay. Too young, too talented and too loved for his picture to be added to my altar, yet there he is. I think “Thats it—not room for one more.” But, there always is.
I stand before the altar and say their names, paying attention to any thoughts that pop into my head during this time. At times I tell them things that they would find interesting and ask for help when I need it. Lately I have been asking for guidance and protection for loved ones during this pandemic. I pray for the evolution of all our souls and send hugs. I end with gratitude for “the gifts of life and love for all my grandmothers all the way back to Eve.” I find solace here and I can’t help but wonder who will come for me when it is my time. Until then.
Addressing suicide: Suicide survivors say that things do get better. Suicide Prevention Hot Line: 800-273-8255. Veteran’s Crisis Line: 800-273-8255, press 1.