“I had seen birth and death but had thought they were different.” T. S. Eliot
“ Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me . . .” 23rd Psalm
This column is dedicated to my sister:
Patricia Louise Brown Fillmore
October 6, 1949 – November 27, 2013
Went to the Light on December 1, 2013
When someone close to us dies, we all walk through “the . . . valley of the shadow of death,” for it is a time when we all, if we are honest, confront our own mortality, the indisputable fact, that our time will come, either quickly or perhaps more slowly, and so, we deal not only with our personal loss but also with some essential piece of ourselves, with our own understanding of what it means to be human and subject to death and dying.
Now, there are those who can only go so far and who will insist to the bitter end that it is simply ‘ashes to ashes and dust to dust.’ Oh, that it were that simple. And, it is certainly true of our physical bodies which succumb first to all sorts of maladies of age and decomposition.
Now, the first person I lost was, by far, the most difficult. He died by suicide so it was sudden and so painful I almost did not make it myself. I drank my way through a great deal of it; ended up in the ER the night of the funeral with an alcohol level which would have killed a ‘non-alcoholic’ and only thirteen months later confronted my addiction to both alcohol and pills.
Now, almost 21 years later, and sober, each person I have subsequently lost, whether by death or
some other way . . . divorce or perhaps through a mutual need to move on . . . has taught me this: that, in this Universe in which we live, there are no endings without beginnings . . . that this Universe is like the ocean . . . when one wave comes in and is spent . . . another soon follows close behind it . . . oh. yes, sometimes there is a low tide and it ‘seems’ as if that next wave is f-o-r-e-v-e-r coming in . . . in 12 Step parlance – we call it ‘the hallway;’ but
the next wave always comes.
This is the great hologram of our Universe, of us, of our lives; of the very Nature of things.
My sister died suddenly a little over two weeks ago. It was a shock despite the fact that the Angels had forewarned me; I had been told in psychic readings that her time was coming; and I had even seen it ‘happen’ in a vision.(Maybe I had a few trust issues?) Well, it happened just the way I had been shown.
The Archangel Michael went and closed her eyes and took her. The Archangel Azrael and I
went to her in the hospital and took her soul when she was ready to leave her body on November 27. Was this because we are special? No, not at all.
I now know, after the crying has passed and some of the worst of the pain, that this was an agreement between the Angels, my sister and me . . . to show others that we can transcend this valley of the shadow of death.
Here is what happened: the Saturday night after my sister died, I was exhausted, in tears and eating leftover pizza in my kitchen. This time, it was not alcohol or pills that were the problem. The problem was me.
You see, I have known the next wave was coming. I have been ‘in the hallway’ a long time; it’s been a long dry spell. I have been shown the nature of things; and I am still undecided.
I had one foot in the water and one foot on the shore. Some days I would swim around in the baby pool and feel like a million bucks . . . other days, I would be back on dry land and wonder, what happened. . . .I feel terrible, nothing is flowing.
Suddenly, something big came first through the living room and then made its way into the kitchen. Now, my sister always did like to slam doors and stomp around the house to make a point when we were growing up. So, as I gathered my spiritual wits about me, I realized I was being called to send Patty’s spirit to the Light. (Thank you, God that all the time I had been spending ‘in the hallway’ had been well spent, for I had, among other things, unbeknownst to me, been in training for this.)
So, on December 1, the first day of Advent, my sister, slowly, ever so slowly, made her way to the Light. And, if you had ever watched her as she eviscerated a piece of fatty meat, slowly picking each and every little bit of fat away, until you thought you would just lose your cotton-pickin’ mind because you had gulped down your food long ago, then that’s the way she went. Taking her time, like the sands in an hour glass; and I had been called to be her facilitator and witness.
As I now see it, she is /was a huge spirit who, I believe, chose, to learn the lessons of a difficult life. The thing you need to know is this. Patty lived in a group home because at the age of 24, she suffered a traumatic brain injury requiring multiple hospitalizations, medications etc. So, passing her on the street, she did not have the trappings of a huge spirit. She frequently went without her false teeth, failed to wash or ‘do’ her hair, and, in general, was not a fashion plate. There were also ‘problems:’ whether from the TBI or generating from something deeper; a tendency to fabricate when the truth would do, petty thefts, disordered thinking due to frontal lobe damage.
But, in the end, what I know is this to paraphrase Mother Teresa:
All the rest is between Patty and God.
Epilogue: My own spiritual unfolding continues around Patty’s death. I am slowly making my way each day along a path which has called to me for a long time. I feel raw and undone by emotions I had thought put to bed long ago. You see, I had been guilty about my sister for 40 years since the car accident which left her as she was. It was the backdrop against which I lived. ‘Why her and not me?’ All of that ‘stuff’ we take on ourselves and even though I had done a lot of spiritual ‘work,’ and thought I knew all about soul contracts, and acceptance, all of that got thrown right back in my face when Patty died.
You see, for the last 3 ½ years, I have struggled with pain in my left leg, a part of which is related to this guilt. I either could not or would not move forward until this guilt about Patty got resolved.
What has come through for me is this: Patty’s circumstances were always between her and God. It was my ego which inserted itself into the situation and said that somehow her accident was about me or my fault.
I was, however, given an opportunity to heal myself of my guilt by assisting in helping her to the Light; the blessing of Right Action versus the corrosive and destructive emotion of guilt. My leg is doing better a day at a time.
I will also tell you this: I believe more shall be revealed; that as long as I remain teachable,
lessons will continue to unfold around this. I don’t have to know it all now. As I learned long
ago when I first started to get clean and sober, I just need to remain open, honest and willing.
Archangel Michael: AA Michael is well known in many traditions. I see Him as a handsome
warrior who is always present to protect those in need.. He is a
member of the White Brotherhood (white standing for the color of the aura)
and is the leader of the forces of the Light against the tyrannical forces
within & without which would lead us astray.
He is a special friend to alcoholics and addicts because it is our own
self will which seeks to lead us into the darkness.
Archangel Azrael: This Archangel assists those who are transitioning from earth to
the Other Side. This was my first time working with this Archangel
although I have assisted other souls to the Light.