As my partner, Ken, faced imminent death some years ago, I suggested he make a videotape, saying “I love you, and goodbye” to his family and friends. Forty minutes long, it was the highlight of his funeral! I determined to make one myself some day. Isn’t that what’s been missing from every memorial service you’ve ever attended? The dearly beloved, in the flesh, offering a few final thoughts?
And wouldn’t the dearly beloved himself be helped by expressing his appreciation in advance? For Ken, it was so. His passing appeared free of pain, if not entirely without effort.
Oh, don’t worry! I’m not planning to go anytime soon. But you never know. Best to be prepared. I’ve been working on my own service for years now. And the talk is the last piece of the puzzle.
Devi came up with a refreshing twist on this, back in 2011. Inner Renewal Week that year focused on “Preparing for Death,” and Devi’s innovation was to rewrite Swamiji’s astral ascension ceremony from the point of view of the newly-departed. I, in turn, have adapted it for myself, and she has asked me to share this version with you:
Farewell, Dear Friends!
We who go before you
Enter a realm our souls remember.
A place of freedom, laughter and light.
We take you with us, and send you our love.
We shall meet again.
We shall laugh together once more,
And share in the joy of seeking Him.
Our freedom, we reclaim.
To anyone who ever wished us harm:
We bless you.
We cast from our hearts all attachment.
Earthly goals, however shining, are but dreams.
We know this now.
Earthly desires, we burn in the fire of wisdom,
Limitation, in the blaze of glory within.
Disappointment, in flames of peace,
Earthly pleasures, in the bonfire of bliss.
Our physical forms, we cast aside,
And clothe ourselves in garments of light.
We are free.
Our past actions, we now see as scenes
In a vast, unfolding tapestry.
No more do we feast our gaze
On episodes done and gone.
For fresh adventures await.
And what of you, our dearly beloved?
You, we behold as threads of light in that tapestry.
Threads which, forever and a day,
Will weave together with beauty increasing,
As we expand together in God.
Bless you, dear ones!
Divine Mother has received us.
Granted us eternal freedom.
And She will do the same for you.
Aum, Peace, Amen.