Saturday, June 25, 2011

Prayers for the Dying

"Form is Empty, Empty is Form" Detail (2009)
Of life's Spring
may we drink deep
and awake to dream
and die to sleep
and dreaming
weave another form
a shining thread
of life reborn

"The Weaver Song" from the Spiral Dance

I posted this earlier, and then felt a bit too "exposed", so I withdrew it.  But I feel that was not really right, and so I'm posting it again, and offer again my gratitude to the people who so kindly offered comments at the time.

In early 2009 I did a series of works dedicated to my brother I called "Prayers for the Dying".  I've been wanting to write about my brother again, and don't really know how to do it. I wish I could give him, and others like him, a voice.

Maybe the reason to write about this story is to demonstrate how very important it is to re-examine our understanding of death.  All the research and  interest in NDE's (near death experiences), mediums,  Michael Newton's "Life Between Life" work, even TV shows like "Ghost Hunters" contribute to changing attitudes to what death is,  and hence, to what life is as well.
In 2008, Glenn had a brain stem stroke, and since then has as been in a  persistent vegetative state, which means that he is fed by tubes, breathes  by tubes, and cannot respond to others in any recognizable way.  His doctors have told me that there was no brain activity, and no hope of recovery.  Glenn did not have a living will.  Because my mother  has traditional ideas about  "god's will", I can't remove life support.  The only other surviving member of my family is a brother who agrees with my mother.   Glenn lingers in a vegetative state, and I am unable legally to assist my brother to pass.  I know I step into an ethical hornet's nest when I say this. 

One of the ways I've dealt with this has been assisting a number of charities that work with children in Glenn's name, something he would appreciate.

The last decade of Glenn's life, he became  depressed, and isolated.  He was a gun collector, and after his stroke, I  took half of his collection and sold them, donating the money to a charity for children as a way of transforming the negative energy that the guns represent.   The rest, at my other brother's insistence, were locked  in a closet, and he kept the key (the house is retained for his and my mother's use). 

This past spring they weren't in town, and I did an "energy cleansing" with my friend and while "sageing"  I noticed that the closet door was cracked open.  I'd never seen it open before, since my other brother was adamant that I "leave Glenn's things alone".    I looked inside, saw some guns and other memorabilia.  I  did not remove anything, and shut the door, which locked and I can't, of course,  open it again.

In retrospect,  think that closet opened because Glenn wanted me to take the contents and turn them into charity, as I did before.  I wish I had.  My friend noticed the phenomenon as well. 

"The Heart Sutra" (2009)
One of the reasons we did the "cleansing" was there have been many such experiences  in that house, and I've never been comfortable having to stay there.

One of the most striking was last winter.   I was alone in the house, reading,  when suddenly I heard a bell, kind of like a Tibetan brass bell, right beside my ear!  I was so startled I got up and walked around, trying to find out where the bell  was,  but no luck.  Within an hour of that strange occurrence, a friend called, inviting me to go to a talk given by a local energy healer.   Which is how I met Kate,  who works as a medium here in Tucson.

I arranged for a meeting, and we met in a quiet cafe, where Kate informed me that Glenn was with us (!) -  and then told me things about him that seemed  accurate.   She said that Glenn, and others like him, are often out of the body, and she encouraged me to go talk to him at his bedside, and tell him he can let go. Last summer I went away for a while, and when I returned  I saw Kate again.  She told me  Glenn had "crossed over".  I don't know what that means, as he remains physically in a vegetative state.  But I remember the bell - and the encounter with the medium certainly gave me comfort.

I don't see spirits, although I pay careful attention to synchronicities in my life.  I don't know what to make of this, but it's given me a better capacity to deal with the situation.  I hope what Kate said is true, but I can't really know.

Meanwhile, I pray to Tara, Goddess of Compassion, for my brother, Glenn, and I'm going to sponsor another child for him.  I know he would be pleased.  

"Transformation Reliquary" (2009)


Valerianna said...

Wow, that's really intense! Reminds me that I must do that living will! Its so weird how our culture is sooo out of touch with the life, death, life cycle. I could go on and on but I know I'm preaching to the choir. Thanks for sharing this intense story! Hope you are well away from the fires... I think they're in the mountains?
Be well...

Lauren Raine said...

Thanks Valerianna........I just felt like I needed to tell it. I am deeply saddened to see people warehoused like my brother in institutions. And you are right - we are so very out of touch with the cycle of life and of death.

Please do get a living will, and keep a copy of it in your home, and your car. It's really important.

Karin said...

Thank you for your latest blog. Am thinking of you and Glenn. Do you know the book on NDE, death and dying by Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel?

It has been translated in English and it gives a good account of what is happening and where we are in this process of transformation.

All the Best!

Lauren Raine said...

thanks karin, I'll look for the book.