Conversations About Spirit

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In my last blog I wrote about feeling my Dad since he died, feeling him emotionally, feeling his joy at finding himself to be spirit.  He was resistant to aging and the dying that is physical life’s inevitable end.  I don’t think dying scared him.  My Dad was a knight of old, a defender of right, and I never knew him to be afraid.  It was more that he didn’t believe anything existed after death, and he simply wanted to keep living.  I didn't want him dying in a resistant frame of mind so, a couple of days before he died, I told him something that I hoped would help him relax and open to possibility.

I didn't try to convince him of anything.  Instead, I talked about me.  I told him that despite my belief there was continued life—higher life, nonreligious higher life—after death, I had no proof.  So, I asked him to do me a favour.  If he found himself still somehow alive after death, I asked him to let me know.  The weight seemed to lift from his shoulders.  A couple of days later he died peacefully in his sleep.

This came as a shock to me, to human me, especially the hospital's middle-of-the-night phone call.  I'd been so busy taking care of all the things that needed taking care of in my life and my dad's that the realization his physical presence was lost to me came as a shock.  By morning, however, I was distinctly and clearly feeling my dad communicating his joy at finding himself still alive as spirit, of being free from pain, restriction, difficulty, and struggle.

Over the next few weeks, I still experienced many moments caught up in humanness, moments when I couldn't help feeling the loss of my dad's presence. Something would remind me of him, or I would think about all the things I could no longer do with him and the whole of my humanness would tighten and shrink into grief.  That grief could easily have taken me over and taken over my life.  But it didn't.  Each time I'd start feeling grief I would hear my dad tell me it was okay, that he was still with me, that I could focus on my sorrow or focus on his joy, focus on being human or focus on being spirit.

Over those initial weeks, I also experienced many moments of agonizing guilt.  My husband and I had been helping my dad for many years.  I handled this well when I remembered to open myself to spirit.  Over the past couple of years, however, my dad's needs increasingly took over my life.  As I struggled with all that was going on in my life I was often too busy to open to spirit, or I thought I was anyway.  Towards Dad, I grew increasingly impatient and cranky.  Once he was gone, all I wanted to do was take all of the unkindness back.  The guilt could easily have taken me over and taken over my life.  But it didn't.  Each time I'd start feeling guilt I would hear my dad tell me it was okay, that he understood, that there were two sides to the story.  I could focus on my side and my failings, or I could remember that he too had failed me and was sorry.

My dad spoke to me in those moments of grief and guilt.  Feeling him feeling the joy of discovering he was spirit was one way of telling my beliefs were real.  But when my feelings of grief and guilt were louder than my feeling of his joy, he also talked to me.  He talked to me about spirit.  He told me I could lose myself in being human, with all its pain and struggle, including grief and guilt.  Or I could focus on believing only in spirit.  My dad was confirming to me proof of my beliefs.  This isn't proof to anyone else but me.  But the distinct clarity of my dad talking to me about spirit it is all the proof I need.

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