I was listening to the radio this morning and heard that Jack Layton, a Canadian politician had succumbed to cancer.He wrote a letter to Canadians and it was a great final gesture.Thinking of him and his family and all of the people out there suffering through this disease I decided to put this chapter up on my blog, inspired to share it by Mr. Layton's graceful exit, and hopefully this chapter, like the rest of my book, find the people who need it. With respect to Mr. Layton, his family and all of you out there going through tough times, I give you Chapter 23 of the Bad Times Bible and a big huge hug..
Chapter 23 The End: A Magnificent Departure This chapter is for those people who feel like the body isn’t going to make it and are starting to think about the exit strategy. I might not know you but this is what I hope for you whether you are my friend or not. As you might have figured out by reading this book I am a huge cheerleader for life and even though I don’t know (or remember) what it is like to leave the body for good, I try to meet thoughts of my unknown future with as much light and hope as I can muster, but if your physical death is near, I would like to say a few things to you. First of all, speaking of light, I hope you have found the light in your existence, especially when met with the fear and grief of those that love you and don’t want to let you go. I hope you burn bright and show others how to go out. I hope when people look into your eyes they are met with compassion and wisdom. I hope that when people come to say goodbye and comfort you they are left feeling like it was them who received comfort and a gift not only through your friendship and love, but in having the honor and privilege of bearing witness to a great exit. I hope you have found some sort of peace within you. I hope you have found a way to let go of the anger and the frustration and the fear and disappointment and whatever else may make your exit frustrating or hurtful to yourself and those who love you. I hope you have found a way to let love into your heart and your life and I hope you found a way to share it. I hope you have something that you can’t put into words, but shines out of your eyes that gives you strength and comfort. Whatever that is, I hope it fills you and surrounds you and those you love. I hope you have friends and family that are courageous and loving enough to let you go. I hope their love is given freely and often and without judgment or resentment. I hope you laugh often and are open and optimistic about the next stage of this trip we call life. For the record I’m not sure death is anything but a door to something else. I hope you are met with awe and wonder when confronted with those thoughts and I hope you find inspiration in the fact that we don’t know what happens once we leave our bodies. I hope you don’t feel a lot of pain and I hope when it is time you are not alone in any sense of the word. I hope you have the courage to let people be with you when you go. I hope that you are removed from the human trappings of ego and that all of that shit burns away from you like tiles off of a space shuttle upon re entry, or in this case, like fuel tanks falling off a rocket on its way into the vast universe… I hope and wish for you that lady grace wraps herself around you like a cloak and calms you and prepares you to bust loose from here. I hope you have prepared your place, whatever that means to you, wherever that is, but for sure in your heart and in your imagination and guts. I hope you have said what you have wanted to say to those you wanted to say it to. If letters need to be written, or apologies need to be made to allow someone to forgive you, I hope they are done so from the heart and that they become the cherished gifts of love they deserve and are meant to be. If thoughts of a future that no longer seems possible come over you, I hope that somehow, you find a way to focus on, and express in the here and now, the love in your heart that can never be taken away from you or those that it is meant to comfort and embrace. Don’t be surprised or embarrassed if people show up to see you off and they sit beside your bed and cry. Receive this raw gift of love with an open heart. Share your own tears, tell those friends what they mean to you. Sometimes you will sit in silence with loved ones and just stare at each other without saying a word. Marinate in the simplicity and perfection of those moments. I hope there is a window where you can see the sun rise and sun set and I hope you realize you are one and the same and understand the simple message behind this beautiful act of nature. We all know that the end can be unpleasant as the body enters its final stages of failure. Know that it is your body falling apart. I hope that when you enter this stage you are far away from the meatsuit and well on your way to whatever awaits. Don’t worry about this part, you won’t be there to see it and you will have already said your goodbyes. I hope you have someone or a bunch of people who are commited to see you through the veil. I hope they are there when you turn to light and energy and streak across the universe like the beautiful, incredible miracle that you are. Speaking of failure, I hope you have realized that you have not “lost” anything but your physical vessel. I hope you realize the futility of beating yourself up with angry thoughts. I hope you don’t blame yourself or spend whatever time you have left with your heart wrapped in anger and regret. Most of all I hope you forgive yourself and anyone in your life who may need it. Realize the gift you will be giving someone and what a powerful position you are in. Forgive and let go of all those life draining negative energies. They will no longer serve you (if they ever did at all.) I hope that you realize and take comfort in the fact that by living you have made an impact on people’s lives. You have no idea that what you have said and done in this life hasn’t set wheels in motion for events that may change the world. Even in your physical death you have the opportunity to change people forever. Through your actions now, you can influence someone’s opinion about life and how to live it and leave it. That is a one time opportunity my friend, unless you are Buddhist. Speaking about religion, if you are religious I hope that you are strong in your faith and have the support that you need. If you aren’t religious but are suddenly worried about God or judgment or any of that stuff don’t be. I’m pretty sure if there is an energy called “God” that it has a sense of humor and lets face it, “god” has a lot more to answer for than you do, don’t you think? If you are afraid, remember this. A wise person once asked me, (when we were talking about death ) what I was thinking just before being born into this life. He asked me if I was scared then, or nervous or excited. I told him with a laugh, I didn’t remember what I was feeling. He told me laughing, not to worry about death then either. I hope that people come to the celebration of your life and gather together to share stories and laugh and cry and really send your meatsuit off right. I hope that the food is as good as the lies and stories that are being told about you and I hope your friends linger in the parking lot for a long time after the formalities are finished, remembering you, loving you and connecting with each other through your magnificent departure. Congratulations, you are now myth and legend. You no longer need a body as you will be forever carried in the hearts of those who knew and loved you. Yes, they will miss your physical body, but their grief is their love turned up real loud and eventually they will realize that you are only a memory away and that the love they feel is real and the best part of you that they get to keep until it is their turn to go. I hope you know how much people love you and I hope you weren’t afraid to love them back. Love is energy and energy cannot be destroyed. Wherever you go, I hope you are fucking kicking ass and burning bright. I might not have known you, but I wish these things for you. If you don’t feel the same, that’s cool. From the bottom of my heart I sincerely hope you get what you need. My unmet friend, If one day we do meet somewhere far from here, don’t be afraid to say hello, introduce yourself, and I’ll buy you a cosmic beer.