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"The essence of bravery is being without self-deception."
-Pema Chodron

 
DOUBT, DEATH - THEN TRANSCENDENCE... PDF Print E-mail
DOUBT, DEATH—THEN TRANSCENDENCE … WOW!
By Jesse Austin



Well, the doctor told you … You’ve got it … You’re dead.  You barely have time to get your affairs in order.  (Not really.  It is a benign cyst—you will be in and out of the office the same day.)

 
Dying is like running for a plane.  Maddening, scary and timeless in the worst way.  Death, however, is the wonderful foreign country where you sit in the quaint courtyard, breathing in the powerful scent of flowers.
    
But darn, you are not dead.  Stretching out ahead, day after day, is the rearguard retreat of your various armies (dreams). Your consciousness flits with doubt, fear and frustration.
No?  You’re happy, you say?  You got it going?
   
But your foot hurts.  Your daughter slapped a kid at school.  And at work you fired Joe, then hired him back … and Marci stormed home saying she’s quitting.  Effective immediately.
   
Last night you sat on your neighbor’s deck.  He’s ancient, he smells and his wife, your dear friend, died last spring.  Even outside the old man’s stench is overwhelming.  What is going on with Charlie?  But you sit still, you listen, you offer encouragement. 
   
“Oh, Helen loved you,” you repeat several times.
   
You hug the stooped old man, gather your dishes, promising more cooked food by Thursday.  When will you get it all done? 
Walking next door, you see your daughter through the kitchen window.  She is sitting at the table, leaning over a book.  Is she studying or reading one of those simpleton graphic novels?  You storm up the back steps.  Your kid, by god, is going to college.  That means grades, not cartoons, even in junior high.
   
You flash into the room, but before you can say a word you see that Ayanna is crying.  Now what?  More trouble at school?  Is she hurt?  Then you see the limp white cat spread on newspaper on the table. 
   
“What happened, honey?” you say, bringing yourself back from the brink. Your tender daughter tells you she found the cat in the street.  You touch the stiff white shoulder.  Way too late for the vet.  Oh, boy.  Whose cat is it even?  Why now?  You have five calls to make tonight.
   
But you gear down.  Your daughter needs your reassurance, your wonderful insight.  But the dead cat on your kitchen table makes your stomach lurch.  For a moment you are unsteady. You put a parental hand on your daughter’s shoulder.  Suddenly your daughter knows.  She is up, out of the chair and sweeps her arms around you.  You drop your chin on the top of her red hair; and the tears roll down your face. “It’s Ok, mom,” Ayanna says.  “Get the flashlight, we will bury him tonight.”
   
Death for you has always been the stark scream in the night.  You can’t deal with it.  Out in the yard your daughter is breathing hard, digging the ground with William’s oversized shovel.  In his time your husband was a drinker.  He died in bliss, drunk, driving off the state bridge into the Chonee River. Later that same week, a psychic medium told you she saw him on his knees, begging your forgiveness.  Ayanna was twelve when William died.  Already three years ago—forever.  You went to pieces.  You couldn’t remember eating or sleeping for two months.
   
“Do you want to say something, mom?” Ayanna asks about a prayer for the cat.
   
The night is so dark you can’t even see your feet.  But still a little glint of light finds its way down into the hole—or—is the white kitty glowing?
   
“Look, mom! You see it too!”  A glowing cat shape jumps out of the small black pit and prances into the bushes by the fence.  You shiver.  You want to scream.  Your daughter hooks her arm in yours.  She explains to you the facts of death.  Apparently that is a sign—glowing cats go to heaven! 
   
Where did sage Ayanna learn this?  In one of those crazy graphic novels?  Certainly it is not religion.  But you saw it, you saw the cat’s spirit.  Right?  Does anything really die?
   
Well, William did. Your bed is empty.

Back in the house your daughter wants to read you a poem.  She wrote it for school.  Has she already forgotten the cat? 
   
In the morning you drop her off outside the brick building you attended when you were a kid.  Ayanna gives you a quick kiss.  “Have a good day,” she calls, jumping on to the sidewalk.  You take a breath and gird yourself for the day.  Then Ayanna spins, bends down and looks into the car.  “Have the best day,” she says.  “Because you are the best mom.”
   
You mumble a humble thanks then watch the girl disappear into the crowd going up the steps.  You don’t want her to ever change, to leave you, to die.
   
Two weeks later you are sitting across from the psychic medium.  There was finally a cancelation, and you were squeezed in for a morning appointment.  But your mind is blank.  You don’t have a single question.  Seeking?  No, you’re not seeking anything. Straight-away the medium describes a man, departed, with stooped shoulders, a lopsided smile and a clutch of flowers.  Pansies … absolutely your favorite!
   
Crying, this time you forgive William.  Finally you ask your dear William what death is like for him?  Wonderful, he says through the medium.  There are schools, rivers, friends, family and unbelievable beauty and challenges.  He tells you he is proud of the way you are raising Ayanna, that he is always there with you, watching, whispering, supporting. 
   
Summing up, the medium reminds you—life is a school.  And death is another school.  Enjoy.  Experience every morsel … in every direction. The usual healer-practitioner song and dance, you think.
   
Back at work you arrange lunch for staff.  They deserve it.  Then in your office, alone, you sob.  Why did William ever leave you?  You wash your face, and look in the mirror.  Abruptly, you think of friendly Mario in your chanting class. 
   
“Grab him!”  My god, that sounds like William’s voice in your head!  You mutter, but punch your cell.

“Ah, yeah … hi!” you say with your best false voice of hope.  “Are you going to chanting class tonight?”
   
It’s arranged.  You and friendly Mario are going to meet before class.  You decide you are going to have a wonderful time—the best time!  Maybe you will die and go to heaven, right in the sushi bar.

Jesse Austin is a Psychic Medium. He lives in Northern California. He does individual, group and phone readings. Call or text him at 503-929-8128.
 

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