It has been 8 months now since I first wrote the blog, Faith is My Armour:Tears a Rite of Passage, in which I describe the discovery of my sister Helen’s terminal ilness. Well, I am now able, to truly tell you with joy, that she made a very peaceful transition to the astral plane.
I am not writing this account to gain sympathy. God knows there are enough families out there going through equally tragic dramas of His lila (play), although I have been so grateful to those dear gurubhais who have held my sister in their light and prayers during this difficult period. I have no doubt that my Ananda family have been instrumental in creating the peace she held throughout her ordeal. But no. I want to tell you of my experience that it may help others when their time of testing comes. This blog is not about me. I write of a demonstration of God’s love as it can be for all, and I urge you to put me out of the way as you absorb what is written.
It has not been easy watching Helen deteriorate slowly over the last 8 months. It was even more difficult when I received ‘the call’ that she hadn’t long left for this world. But no one told my sister that as she soldiered on, in a comotosed state, for a further 9 days. Each night my family and I wondered would she make it through the night. Twice, I sailed across to England, from my island home, to say my ‘goodbyes’. The last time I held her hand all through the night, only to have, yet again, to make the choice of whether to go back home or stay, as she still seemed strong. There were enough family around her. I was happy in the knowledge that I had spent as much time with her as I possibly could when she needed me most; when she was conscious. Still not an easy decision to make, I finally went back home and waited by the phone, and waited, and waited…..
Then, at 11pm one night, when I was deep in meditation to Divine Mother, asking her to deliver my sister from the ravages of her diseased body, the final call came.
I wasn’t prepared for how I felt. I had thought, in all the 8 months of this trial, that I was well prepared for her passing. With my reason I knew that this was a time to celebrate the release of her soul from the confines she has endured and that she was so deserving of that release. What I wasn’t prepared for was such pain. Whether it was the sense of loss, or the culmination of the the pent up stresses of the past 8 months, and particularly those of the last 9 days, I don’t know, but whatever it was it hurt.
Battling with myself with this inner conflict I was experiencing, I had to break the news by telelphone to my, now grown up, children and other close friends. I asked myself, “Who is really feeling this pain? This pain is not who I am!” But still I felt the pain of all my earthly family who were hurting so badly. I was OK, I told myself. At least I have my faith and know she is absolutely fine in her newfound freedom. What must they be going through without it?
In this state, I knew there was only one comfort that I craved, even though God had already given me a degree of comfort as He wrapped me in the loving arms of my wonderful husband. Inner communion, however, with God and my beloved Guruji was what I wanted most. I sat before my alter, lighting a candle to my sister and tried to meditate. To anyone who has ever tried meditating with tears running down their cheeks, they will know that it is not at all easy. But I knew that I mustn’t let my pain be felt by my sister. She didn’t need mine added to my family’s to keep her drawn to the physical plane.
Funnily enough, just after this meditation I went to my computer and found an email in response to my earlier one, from a dear friend and advanced devotee at Ananda Sangha. It still amazes me at how one can be so much a part of the Ananda Sangha worldwide community at the click of a computer key, even in the middle of the night as this was (largely, of course, it is daytime in the US when it is night in the UK). Ever practical and not harbouring any self-pitying indulgence she simply said, straight from the Guru, “Try to be happy for her. She will feel your pain!”
I prayed deeply, offering, not my pain, but the pain to God. Instantly it was gone! Instantly I could feel the joy and relief of her passing. It was quite remarkable. And the result of the disappearance of this pain is no less so.
With the grace of God, taking away the pain that was plugging my upward flow of energy, there welled up from within the joy that is our true nature. I liken it to a volcano erupting. By removing the plug, the pent up energy of the last 8 months, the way was freed for the lava, or energy that is always there, to flow upward. If something is taken away there cannot be a void where that something was. It must always be replaced.
Next morning, I awoke to sunny, blue skies (a welcome change from the grey, cloudy skies that have befallen our Manx summer and uncannily representative of the mood of recent events) with a sense of great joy, feeling that all was right with the world. I felt my sister was happy.
I would ask all to take heart from this experience at the most difficult times of testing. If we know that any experience, no matter how testing, can be given back to God then there is nothing that is too much for us to bear. I know, without a doubt, that God has been carrying me over these troubled months and is still holding my hand at this time when I need Him most.
…From tumult laden, glowering skies,
Relief from all those piercing cries
Of painful woes, all self inflicted,
The peace of Christ…
Joy to you