What have you done for yourself lately?
Do you appreciate your family and friends?
How are showing them this?
Last night I went to a wake for a man I knew in life. When I knew him in life he was depressed. You saw there was no light in his eyes, even with loved ones. He left behind a large family—full of grown children, grandkids and a wife. He was only in his mid-60’s, a relatively young age to leave this earth these days. The line to share condolences with his wife and family was out the door. The parking lot was full; cars were parked on the street. I heard they came early at 4 pm; the wake didn’t start until 5 and went on to 8 pm. It was still packed then. It was obvious that he was well-loved, he had friends and his family too was very well liked, for many friends of the family came to say good-bye.
I came in about 6:30 pm, saw the line and took a seat in the first few rows in front of the open casket. I finally took my jacket off and eventually the widow acknowledged me. I was put off by the still long line of people.
I sat and was soon joined by the deceased. He only knew me briefly in life, but knew of my gifts. I’m used to being with the recently transitioned during wakes and funerals. We sat together, sometimes in silence, watching the next to final event of his life; his funeral was the next day. I told him that I couldn’t come. He understood.
But what he didn’t understand, he said to me, was the amount of people who came to see him off. He was in awe of the fact there were so many to say good-bye. But, I reminded him, he was fairly recently retired and so all his friends from the former job came to say their good-byes; he was a member of a social organization/fraternity, so those people came. He was well-known in the community so those people came. Yet he was genuinely surprised. He never knew how well he was liked, admired and loved.
It was sad really. For I knew why the man had decided to leave early; I had ‘read’ him when he was “alive” and figured it out. There were best friends who preceded him in “death” and he grieved for them to the point where his life force began to deteriorate and dis-ease set in. He didn’t feel the worth of his life after a business venture failed and well, friends and family—they had their own life to live, now didn’t they? His wife tried her best to help, but was busy with keeping the house lights on to keep them afloat as he began his downward spiral into bad health. It was the time of the Great Recession. He didn’t want to bother anyone and so his health continued to get worse.
Now we were sitting together, me telling his skeptic self—“I told you so,” –and he admitting he was having fun, now free of disease, back with his buddies doing the stuff he loved doing when he was on earth and breathing. “I just didn’t know,” he admitted. “I’m sorry.” Now his mind was more open, he saw the ramifications of his actions.
Too late, I thought, and he knew my thoughts. Now his widow grieves as does his children.
“I was selfish,” he said about his life on earth. “But I am having fun,” he said about his life in Heaven. And so goes the dilemma. He hadn’t thought past his own weariness, his own sadness and his own self and wallowed in self-pity, while on earth. Like so many humans.
Eventually he’ll get this message even more fully. Right now he was still processing his new world as was his family processing his leaving. There was no doubt in my mind that we’d be talking again.
This is part of my gift—keeping the “dead” comfortable as they process their transition. Because despite the fact we were view the body of this man lying in the coffin up front, he wasn’t in that shell anymore. Instead he was watching the whole wake from one the front row seats with me by his side.
We don’t really die, you see—we move from one dimension called Earth to another which has been termed “Heaven”. We leave our bodies (often useless at this point) behind and become a ‘soul-being’. There are loved ones with us and ‘heavenly’ guardians in the guise of angels. I knew this man was being taken care of by all of these wonderful, loving ‘people’, now that he was in Heaven. He had found his friends again and even enjoyed his mother’s cooking once more. He was doing the things he had loved in life – boating, tinkering with cars, even some fishing. He was more alive now than he was on Earth. Heaven—isn’t it grand? Yes…and no….which is an article for another day.
My point for this article is one for the living. This man could have had more of a life here, a longer life—had that been the path of his choosing. His friends all made time for him when he was dead—but where were they when he was alone, sitting on his couch at home, feeling depressed? I know that the widow tried in her own fashion as did the kids. I don’t know how much was tried by others. I had sat down with him a few years back and brought forward his good buddy who tried to tell him that life is for the living and he really didn’t need or want to see him on that side of the veil anytime soon. I knew why—Heaven isn’t cracked up to be the place we make it out to be. Oh, you do get to play. But like a spoiled rich child, having everything you ever wanted isn’t always the thing you want—especially after you’ve had it all. This is why the very spoiled rotten get into so much trouble. They get bored having it all.
At the time of the reading for him, this man didn’t really believe that I was bringing his friend through—he placated me instead. He placated others too apparently when he was alive; telling them everything was OK, when it wasn’t. “Sorry,” was his answer to me this night, when I reminded him of this past reading, as we sat together watching his wake’s proceedings. “I didn’t really believe.”
“I know,” is my standard answer. “But I told you so.” And so now he did. And does believe. He no longer had the choice not to.
This week I learned I needed cataract surgery. I’m fairly young for this type of surgery. My mother had cataracts as did my grandmother. It runs in the family.
Now any need for surgery can be scaring; it was cataract surgery that messed up my mother’s eyes and thus her love of reading deteriorated to the point where quality of life was just not up to par. She transitioned at 83, a good long life. I got to say “I told you so” to her about 3 months later.
The news about the cataracts was something that I wanted and needed to share with family and friends. I was a bit scared and nervous and while my guides assure me that all will be just fine—I sought out the comfort of friends and family. I have done this before as I am sure most people do. I love my divine team, but they aren’t human. I am sure that the man who recently crossed over tried to reach out to family and friends too. It’s what we do—what we’re supposed to do. In fact I had texted my sister and my friend early. They did text back.
Texting, however, is not the same as human contact.
I put in phone calls to both that evening after I returned home from the wake. I actually had been attempting to talk with my sister for the last week. But she was busy and never answered my phone calls. My friend was, no doubt, with her husband who travels a lot. He was probably home that night. She had emailed me earlier that day; she was simply thrilled that we now had a diagnosis and we could solve the problem. She’s rather optimistic that way. Still my phone was silent last night from people I would have like to converse with. I did talk with them the day after, but by that time I had already processed the night; the need for me was gone.
Ah, well. You see, people get busy. My sister reassured me of that aspect of her life several times during our subsequent conversation. People have their lives. They are very busy attempting to get everything—well, done, that needs to get done. I get that. Really, I do. But we don’t live in silos. Or we shouldn’t.
We are beginning to live in an age of dichotomy. On one hand we text and email to communicate but we stay distant from each other this way. On the other hand we’re entering an age where community will be more important than ever. Watch this happen over the next several years.
My recently crossed over friend felt lost after his retirement. Part of this was his own doing—he didn’t reach out more. He wallowed in self-pity. He paid the price. So did his family.
I’m not going to let my family upset me too much, or my friends. I do have my angels to comfort me. I may get a teddy bear to hug though. I do have my cats—although they don’t like to be hugged. (Dogs are better at this than cats.)
It was sad watching the mourners last night – not because the man had died. But because he had lived and didn’t realize how much he was loved, admired and liked until he had died and then could witness it.
I got a taste of this when I decided not to move to Rochester, but to stay in the local area. People were happy I stayed. Lots of people. People I hadn’t heard from in years was happy I was happy I was staying. Who knew? I do still find comfort in that outpouring.
My point is: Appreciate those people around you every day. Remind them how much they are loved, liked and admired—before it is too late. Be with them. Really be with them. Really listen to them. Not through emails and texting—but in being in their real presence. Turn off your cell phones and TV’s. Find the art of conversation again. And if your family or friends need help—get them help. There’s plenty out there.
Get yourself help if you need it. Stop treating yourself like a second class citizen. If you need therapy, admit it and find it. Pick up the phone and call your local parish priest or good friend. There is help out there. Find it. Stop the self-pity.
Get out there and live the life you are meant to live—stop just existing and taking up space. Give to others. Find the joy again in life. Laugh. Love. Live. It’s not a cliché for nothing.
And when someone texts you about something that is scary…pick up the damn phone and be sympathetic! They may be scared and alone and you can help them. Just by listening and being there.
Stop being so busy that you don’t have time with the ones you love. They won’t always be there for you to hug.
Last night…a man died. Everyone was at his wake. Even him. I know because we talk. It was sad thing. Even though he’s now in a ‘better place’. The age of sixty plus still leaves a lot of living to do. It’s way too early to leave. Too bad he didn’t choose that path.
The moral of this tale: Don’t be sorry at your own wake. Be kind to yourself and to others.
How many people would come to your funeral?
How are you appreciating people who are still here?
What are you doing with your life?
Love and Light Always,