Letter to a Friend Following the Death of Her Father
Blessings to your Dad, who has completed his journey in this realm and passed beyond the limits of our present knowing. And blessings to you as well, because the death of one's father is no small thing. No doubt some part of you feels his passing as a profound loss and rightly so, while another part remains connected forever to his essence, certain of his undying nature. It's not an easy thing, my friend, to hold two such disparate parts of oneself in their fullness at the very same time. Yet making the effort to do so is as important as anything you've ever done, for it will carve out space in your heart for a deeper knowing of what it is to be human, and that is a gift your father would want you to have, I'm sure.
All my blessings,
Letter to a Dying Friend
Hi my old friend,
I just received a call about all that has been happening. My heart goes immediately out to you, reminding me of what a soul sister you are. I'm glad to hear that you are in a very caring situation, with beauty surrounding you, and the competent caring hands of Hospice addressing your body's needs, and most of all being held in a circle of love by the ones who are dearest to you. I'm not surprised that your life -- the life you've lived with such passion and dedication -- is shaping the last of your time into a final period of peace, rich with gifts of gratitude and intimacy and healing. This is truly what you deserve. You have been such a spiritual and human warrior, and you've used your life to the fullest. I can certainly raise my voice in testimony to that! Whatever wasn't perfect now ceases to matter and is absorbed into the forgiveness that our souls are waiting to offer us. I'm sorry not to be able to see you one last time, but please know that I'm very much with you, and that I'm bowing my head with reverence as I feel how your soul is gathering you up in its arms for the return journey to the realm of spirit that is our true home. May all the days that remain for you be filled with blessing as you increasingly feel the presence of the sacred mystery that life truly is.
All my love to you, dear friend!
Letter to two Friends About the Approach of Death
Charles and I have been thinking very much about the two of you. Despite the physical distance that lies between us, we continue to feel connected with you in the journey you're both on.
This is especially true now, as you enter this new part of your journey, where the hope of finding a cure -- or at least of being able to hold the cancer at bay for a good long time -- has faded. My heart goes out to you as you make this major shift. It's a huge challenge to let go of the empowering sense of hope that has been giving you the strength you've needed to endure the intense ups and downs of these preceding many months. Truly, that hope has been your good friend and something to be grateful for.
But now, I promise you, you are going to find, or perhaps are already finding, something else that will support you on your journey. It is a new source of strength that doesn't come fully into view until you've let go of the fight to prolong what has been a very wonderful and precious life. I've seen how this happens with many people, and I have no doubt that is going to happen for you. The love that has always woven through your life is going to enfold you and care for you more fully than ever before. It will be there for you completely, because, in reality, it is the foundation of all that has ever mattered to you.
Although the unwinding of the physical body that we inhabit during life can have its unpleasant and even painful moments at times, it can usually be managed with the help of experienced hospice workers. With their care and guidance, you should be able to navigate the path before you with the same fortitude and grace that you've brought to the other challenges and adventures in your life. And what happens from this point forward will not be determined so much by what you do and whether you're doing it right. Rather, things will emerge naturally from who you are. And since you are two of the most beautiful people I know (even if old habits of thought make it hard for you to accept that!), I suspect that things from here on will unfold more easily that you might have imagined.
"This extraordinary book reminds us of the preciousness of life and the mystery of death. Written by a clinician whose humanity shines through every word, Dr. MacGregor gives us a view of living, illness, dying and death remarkable in its hopefulness and wisdom."
~ ROSHI JOAN HALIFAX, Founding Abbot, Upaya Zen Center
I truly wish I could be there on Whidbey to be part of your journey. I know that every person connected to the two of you is sharing in a powerful process of love and sorrow and blessing. This is a hard but important gift that we humans can give to each other -- one too often overlooked or obscured in this modern culture of ours -- and I know that with you it's going to be very precious.
Charles and I send all our blessings and many angels to deliver them.