[Excerpt from “Til Death Do Us Part?”, available on Kindle, or from SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com]
August 1, 1998
When I arrived, I put my hand on Marie’s head. She was hooked up to oxygen, and her eyes were fixed ahead. She was alive, but not responsive, though I felt she could hear me, and I talked to her. I cried for awhile, and closed my eyes. I tried to Feel-into this person, my mother, Marie. She was breathing with eyes straight ahead. After awhile I felt I was with Mary/Marie. My eyes closed, I began to see pictures, which I assumed were her pictures. Childhood -- seeing the front of the farm house in Chardon. I could sense that Marie was “waiting” -- maybe confused, waiting for us, her children, to come around and to say goodbye, that it is OK. I asked her how she was, and she “responded” “What now?” I tried to look at the pictures with her, tried to mentally look at her pictures with her, whatever it was that she wanted to see.
I saw my childhood, the Cub Scout activities at home, counting pennies and dimes, having tantrums on the kitchen floor, her work, her fears, her doubts, and the many interests and activities that she tried to pursue with me, such as learning Spanish, practicing karate, wild foods. I saw her focus on Virgin Mary and the League of Mary activities at the church, the desire to save the world by alerting people to change their lives.
This was her world I was seeing, and I sensed that she did well, in this world, and that she had what could be called a good life.
I was mostly silent with her, holding her hand, my other hand on her forehead, and I knew that she was just waiting now. All was over, and she wanted to go on. It seemed she was waiting because she thought we wanted to say our final goodbyes.
I called a priest at St. Andrews, and a Father Gonzalez showed up within 15 or 20 minutes, and gave the Last Rites. Brother Richard was there by now, and Frank cried when the priest said his prayers. It had turned out that these Rites had already been administered, but I didn’t know that. It was good to do, it was what Marie would have felt was best.
I felt that all is OK. This life of her’s is over. But it is not the end. I asked to myself: Is that all there is? I knew the answer, but I had to ask. Life is not the mundanity of everyday things, but it is the value -- our Conscious Light -- that we put into what we do, who we are.
Marie is waiting now. I close my eyes, my hands on her. I am breathing deeply, somewhat akin to the Drain I would do at the Survival Training class, and I felt my breath as a circuit through one hand, through Marie’s body, and out the other hand.
I could “see” a pulsating opening, the so-called tunnel that we have often heard about. It was right there, and she was ready. Marie was right at the tunnel, waiting, ready to go on, only waiting for us, to allow us to say goodbyes. So she is done with the world. There is only the body, which is now a distant pain, a body that no longer works. She is free She is very close to those of us who are here. She is accepting.
Frank is sad. I know this took him hard, that it will be hard on him. They were together so long -- married 56 years. Frank came in each day to sit with Marie. He mentioned to me that sometimes he mixes up days, not sure if it is Thursday or Tuesday, the days blend together, each day a repeat of visiting Marie. Now it is almost over. I know this has been tough on him.
I told Marie, I’ll never forget you. You will be with me always. We are conversing now, silently, and I told her we could talk by sending pictures to one other’s mind. She asks me, Will you continue my work? She is referring to her Virgin Mary work and League of Mary church work. I am silent for awhile. I tell her that I cannot continue her work, but that I will continue my work. She is silent, and I can tell she is thinking about it. She is considering the ultimate goal of her work, and the ultimate goal of my work. She then smiled, and she said -- That is OK, that is good. It is noon.
In my mental communication, Marie is smiling. Her radiant smile is not the skin and bones lying on the bed. She is smiling. Marie, I tell her, I didn’t know it would be like this. She is ready for rest, ready for peace, ready for on-going. She said “please don’t worry for me. Why worry for me, she smiles. I am ready to go on. I am done.” She tells me though that she is concerned for Frank, and that we should watch over him.
After a while, I take Frank back home, and I come back to the rest home. The condition of Marie’s body seems the same. I put my hand on her hand, and the other hand on her forehead. I tell her that she need not worry about dying on Dolores’ and my Anniversary, that it really is OK.
Yes, it was August 1, the same day Dolores and I married many years earlier. I tell her that it just might be a good thing, that Dolores says it is OK. Dolores told me this on the phone, and so I told Marie. I told her that she will be OK, that we will miss her terribly. Dolores told me this, and I know it is so -- there will come a time when I really want to just say hello, to tell her something, to talk about things late at night. But she won’t be there. I went from hard crying to just being with her. I really shouldn’t be sad, but happy that the pain is almost over, that she is nearly free.
I told Marie, this time whispering to her, that I loved her dearly, and that I wished I could have done so much more, but that I was so glad to have at least done what I did with her, especially since the surgery. I didn’t want to indulge in my regrets or “poor me” -type thoughts. Rather, I was trying to stay right with Marie. I believe she felt settled, that although things were never ideal and could always have been better, she worked through so many obstacles of large family and conflicting family interests and all of the challenges that anyone must face, and she somehow managed to constantly be concerned and thinking about other people.
I recalled an old dream that Ellen Hall had of Marie, and it came back to me, and I whispered to her -- Mother, you are going to a wonderful place, your idealized heaven, an oasis, far more wonderful than you could ever imagine. I cried for my own loss, but I felt a relief and even inner happiness radiating from Marie. I held her hands and occasionally I could feel a finger tug or pull. I believe she knew I was there, was communicating with me.
I told her that I would like to see her again. I felt that I would. I tried to explain some of the after-death states, whispering that she would experience peace and heaven, and that she would also get to review her entire life, and that there would be judgement. I told her not to fear. I told her I would be with her, mentally, psychically, as much as possible, and I told her that she could come to me if she needed. She said that I could talk to her whenever I wanted, and that I shouldn’t be unhappy or sad, that she would always listen.
Her close friends Jean Marie and Mary Sue Takeuchi came when I was just sitting there, breathing with her, holding her hands, and I talked with them. I felt it was time to go, to do some work I needed to do, and I said goodbye.
We got a call about 3:45 or so, saying that Mother had stopped breathing. She had died. It was over. I dressed and quickly went over, and Jean Marie and Mary Sue were still there. I embraced mother and could see her body now noticeably faded. I embraced her and told her again I loved her, that I was glad the pain was over, that I would miss her always.
There was a feeling of great relief. Jean Marie and Mary Sue said they had just finished saying the rosary next to Marie and then she stopped breathing at 3:35 in the afternoon on August 1, 1998.
We talked, and Mary Sue told me how lucky I was, that she lost her parents when she was very young. I agreed that I was lucky. Jean Marie and Mary Sue were obviously very close to Marie -- they had come quite regularly to the rest home, and I could see they were now filled with personal loss but there was also a sort of joy that Marie’s pain is over, that the final hours were filled with closeness with Marie’s loved ones.
They left, and I removed Marie’s scapulars and medals, and cleaned out her things from the room. I again placed my hands on Marie’s hand and forehead, and said final goodbyes -- goodbyes to the body, I suppose, since I feel I will always have some connection to Marie, long after her body-Temple is gone. I felt her presence, and I breathed, and still felt the pain of her being gone from my life. For so long, I think I denied that this could happen, and wanted to believe that I would always live in a world where I could see and be with my parents. Perhaps that ideal world exists somewhere, and we just have to find it.
A man from Cabot’s mortuary was on the way, and I realized I wanted a locket of Marie’s hair, so I cut a few lockets of her white hair and put in my pouch. Then Cabot’s came, and I helped David wrap Marie and put her on the gurney, and I gave her a final hug and goodbye, and then she was gone.
I drove away feeling very empty but also fulfilled in the sense that I could be there for those final moments. It made the seeming pointlessness of life very meaningful in this final moment, and it made me feel now that part of Marie lives on in my work, and in whomever embraced Marie’s dream of sacrifice and prayer and long-suffering so the world could be a better place.
So I went home, and I took the bulk of the next 85 hours to be there with Marie for the first phase of her after-death processes. This is a Returning Science procedure which I had been taught years earlier, and had worked with others when their spouses had died. Now it was my turn to do it with Marie.