The Death of a Friend

This is another letter to a friend of mine who scorched her sheets with strong kundalini energy, concerning the death of a friend of mine from breast cancer. For this public version, I’ve changed some names to respect people’s privacy. The first letter to my sheet-scorching friend is here.


I think you might find this useful—it’s an email I wrote to my friend Chris, the fellow to whom I was writing back in 1995 that led to the bunch of my writing that you have. Here’s the note to Chris, and then I’ll add some more at the end:

I’m not sure where to start this, so I’m just going to begin writing and see where things go—and hope I don’t leave anything out! I can’t remember if I told you about a woman, Ann, who I was helping to care for—she had terminal cancer (started with breast cancer about four years ago), and went into a hospice back at the beginning of last October with the expectation that she had perhaps a month to live, at the most. I’d met her and her husband, Bob, about six months before that, and at that time she was hoping to live for a number of years even though the cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy had taken their toll on her. By the end of about three weeks in the hospice she seemed to be stabilizing, and certainly wasn’t going to die in the very near future, so it was decided that she could go home again—provided that there was adequate care for her at home, which meant that more people had to be involved than just her husband. So I volunteered to spend time with her once or twice a week, for two to four or five hours at a time—sometimes to just give her husband a break, sometimes to help with something specific. In any case, it was generally assumed that she might, if things went well, live through Christmas, but not much longer. She made it through Christmas, but was getting progressively worse, with the cancer reaching her brain just around Christmas, and spreading through her bones, causing her a lot of pain. On March 9, 2001 she suddenly took a turn for the worse, and her doctor said she would most likely not live another week or two at the most. So she went back into a hospice on March 9. I, and many other people, visited her in the hospice—I went every day after work, and took one day off work to spend with her, until she finally died on March 17, 2001.

I had been to see her on the evening of March 16, and she was pretty well unconscious, as she had been for almost all of the times I’d visited her that week. Usually there were several people in the room visiting her, but on that evening there was only her husband and me, and he needed some time to do some paper work, so I sat with her for about an hour and a half. He had been staying in the hospice with her, as had their dog, a golden retriever named Rusty. As I sat with her I could see a bright glow of light around her head, and when I put one hand on her forehead and another on her heart I could tell that almost all of her energy was withdrawn from her body—there was no energy in her heart area; it was all at her head or beyond—so I knew she didn’t have too much longer to live. I hadn’t had a chance to talk to Ann alone since she’d entered the hospice, so I was glad for the chance—I knew that the hearing faculties are the last to go when someone is dying, so I spoke to her out loud and told her that if she wanted me to be present when she left her body she’d have to find a way to let me know, to tell me that she was about to leave. I also told her a an event that happened to me about twenty years ago: I was awakened from sleep by something, and sat up in my bed, only to find that I was out of my body and sitting “waist deep”, so to speak, in my physical body. In my room was a young boy, not much older than nine or ten years, translucent blue-white, who said to me “I don’t know where to do, I don’t know what to do”. I immediately realized that he had just died and was lost, so I said to him, “I’ll help you. Come with me,” and I took him by the hand (I was fully out of my body by this time). My house was a two story affair, and had a central stairs leading up to the second floor. At the top of the stairs was a landing and a window. I led the boy up the stairs, and when we got about two thirds of the way up the wall and window at the top of the stairs disappeared and the stairs appeared to continue upwards. When we reached the second floor landing I pointed up the rest of the stairs (that now went upwards into space) and told the boy that this was what he was looking for. He started up the stairs, went about twenty steps or so, and then turned around and waved at me, turned back around, climbed a couple more steps, and faded into the light. I went back down, and climbed back into my body. After I told Ann this story I told her that if I could help her in any way as I had helped the little boy, I would do my best, and that all she had to do to find me was think about me.

I went home that night wondering if I’d see Ann alive again. The next day, March 17, I was quite tired and really didn’t feel like making the trip to the hospice. I kept telling myself that I’d feel better in the evening, and that I’d go visit Ann then. About 2 PM or so I suddenly go a strong urge to phone a friend of mine, the same person who introduced me to Ann and Bob. So I phoned our mutual friend only to learn that he’d just gotten off the phone with Bob, who’d called to say that latest prognosis was that Ann had perhaps four hours to live, and most certainly wouldn’t make it through the night. So I quickly got myself organized and headed to the hospice. When I arrived there were perhaps six people in the room, along with Bob and Rusty the dog. Ann was obviously in the last stages of her life. She was breathing rapidly, sometimes gasping, her skin color was changing, and her hands and feet were taking on a blue tinge.

Bob had been a monk with the Holy Order of Mann, and both Ann and Bob were/are very spiritually inclined, as are their friends—including everyone in the room, and everyone who came to visit. Most of the people in the room had done at least some Reiki training so they could sense her energy, and all were interested in providing Ann with a loving and comfortable transition out of her body. No one was crying or upset; all were quiet at times, and sometimes talking and joking, but always loving and positive. The general consensus was that Ann was very clear, and calm, and happy in what she was about to do. People were chanting mantras, and there was a CD running a loop of the Gayatri mantra, one of Ann’s favorites. At about five minutes to seven that evening her whole demeanor changed—she started gasping for air and it became obvious that she was close to the end. We all gathered around her bed and her husband began to read out loud the rites of passage from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. At a couple of minutes after seven her eyes opened but only stared straight up, and her breathing became more and more slow, with longer and longer pauses between breathes—fifteen seconds between breathes, then thirty, then nothing and you thought she’d gone, then another breath, until finally she stopped breathing. We continued to stand around her bed and do the rites of passage for another half hour or so, and then notified the hospice staff that she’d left her body.

Ann had left instructions that she didn’t want her body disturbed for the three hours following her death, except that she had asked Bob to do an anointing with special oils, but only in her forehead area. So Bob did that, and the rest of us sat around being quiet for Ann, as she had requested. More people arrived, people came and went. By about ten PM most people had gone home, and only Bob, our mutual friend Bruce (whom I’d phoned earlier), six or so women, and I remained. The women had volunteered to wash, dress, and tidy up Ann’s body, and her room needed to be cleaned out since there were a lot of gifts and flowers, as well as both her and Bob’s personal effects from a week of living at the hospice. So, while the women looked after Ann’s body I took Rusty for a walk. We headed up the road, up the hill above the hospice, and out into the desert until we mutually decided we’d gone far enough and turned around to head back. I was walking along looking at the stars, thinking about a conversation I’d had earlier with Bob—after he’d finished anointing Ann’s body, Bob stepped outside to look at the night sky—I followed him out and we looked up at the Pleiades—he told me they were Ann’s favorites. So I was walking along the road with Rusty, headed back to the hospice, and looking at the Pleiades, thinking about our conversation, when my eye caught this bright blue/white sphere bouncing along the tops of the cacti off to my left. It was very persistent in my vision, not just appearing and disappearing but staying and bouncing along like one of those “follow the bouncing ball” sing along bouncing balls. I looked towards it, it stayed put, and I thought towards it “hello there!”. As soon as I thought that, the sphere took off through the cacti and trees and disappeared. Rusty and I were just about at the top of the hill leading down to the hospice, and as soon as we reached the hill crest I could see a blue white sphere way down the hill, heading towards me like a bullet. It came right at me and went right through me and out the other side, and the feeling I got from it was as if I’d come across a sixteen year old kid, flying down the highway in a sports car with the top down, his/her hair blowing in the wind. I knew immediately that it was Ann and that she was absolutely ecstatic to be free of her body and its pain and frustration. I also got a complete recall of the talk I’d had with her the previous evening (where I’d told her she’d have to tell me when she was leaving her body, plus the story about the stairs), and I realized that my sudden impulse to phone our mutual friend earlier in the day had come from her—it was her way of telling me that she was on the verge of leaving her body. Needless to say, I was laughing myself silly as I walked down the hill back to the hospice. I told her husband about what had just happened, which made him very happy.

Just after midnight we loaded up my truck with whatever personal effects Ann and Bob had at the hospice, someone phoned the mortuary, and I and three women headed off to Bob and Ann’s house to get things set up. The mortuary people were going to bring Ann’s body back to the house, where she would stay until the following evening, when she would be picked up again by the mortuary people to be taken away for cremation. The time at the house would allow for a visitation period for those people who wanted to pay their last respects, as well as a vigil for those who wanted to participate. An alter had been previously set up with Green Tara and Quan Yin statues, candles, and incense; there were more candles around the house, several other smaller alters, Buddha statues, and so on. And there was a covered table in the middle for her body. At about one AM the mortuary people arrived with Ann’s body and placed it on the table. Bob got out Ann’s jewelry box and we placed her favorite necklaces and earrings on her, and surrounded her with some of the plumaria blossoms that had been sent to her from friends in Hawaii.

It had been decided that someone should stay with Bob for the entire night, so Bruce (our mutual friend) and I said we’d stay until four AM (since it was after two when we finished getting things set up an taking care of Ann’s body), and a couple of the women stayed until after three. At about four AM a woman arrived and stayed until about six thirty. Most of the night we just sat around talking quietly, frequently slipping into meditation, with Ann’s body there with us. Somewhere around five AM Bob was playing CD’s, picking out Ann’s favorite songs, and songs that were meaningful to them. He’d just put on one song when I noticed a blue white sphere floating around in front of him, passing through him, and finally coming up above his right shoulder where it flashed a reddish pink light toward him. I asked Bob if this particular song was one of Ann’s favorites, and he said it was her very favorite—at which point I told him what I’d just seen, saying that the pinkish red light was Ann sending him love (personal love looks pinkish red, impersonal love looks green). He didn’t see her, but he could feel her.

At about eight thirty another woman arrived and Bruce and I finally went home close to nine on Sunday morning. I’d been awake for close to thirty hours by the time I got into bed, but I only slept for about an hour and a half, then got up, had a shower, ate, and headed back to Bob’s house. The mortuary people were scheduled to pick up Ann’s body at just after seven that evening, and I wanted to be there to help in whatever way I could, even if just to be there to support Bob. So I went back and stayed until about ten that evening, helping to remove Ann’s jewelry from her body, as well as a jacket she was wearing which had been promised to someone, pack up the plumaria blossoms that had been around her, and generally do whatever needed doing in the way of cleaning up, straightening up, and so on.

The next night, Monday, I was awakened in the middle of the night by Ann’s voice, as if she were in the room, saying over and over “with Joy, with Joy, with Joy, with Joy…”. I closed my eyes and saw her face, and also say me talking to her husband, so I knew she wanted me to tell him what I’d heard. I also got the strong sense of what she meant by “with Joy”: several times over the years I’ve had the experience of being part of a large group of people, standing under an intensely bright sun that fills the sky, and we’re all singing, only not singing but rather standing with our mouths open and our heads back will this sound energy passes through our bodies and out our mouths—a heavenly choir, if you will. I knew that Ann was experiencing that—that she was “with Joy”—in the Presence of Joy. The next day I phoned her husband to pass along the message.

Last week, the day that Ann was cremated, a friend of Bob’s happened to mention to a friend of hers that a woman she knew had just died. She didn’t tell her friend anything about the woman, just that she died of cancer. That night the woman’s friend had a “dream” in which she met a woman who identified herself as “Ann”, who was wearing exactly what she had been dressed in by the women at the hospice—the same red dress and white jacket—and who kicked up her heels and told the woman that she “loved to dance” (Ann loved to dance). The next day the woman phoned her friend to tell her about the event, only to learn that everything in the “dream” was completely accurate—remember that she knew nothing about Ann, not even her name, much less what she was wearing or that she loved to dance. Needless to say, her husband was overjoyed once again.

This was all a very exciting experience for me—I don’t know if “exciting” is the right word, but in some ways it is. I’ve always had trouble feeling sad about death—I certainly get sad about losing someone from my life, but I don’t get sad or upset about death itself, and I can’t mourn a death. Perhaps you remember I once wrote about finding a baby mouse outside my cabin, and holding it in my hand until it died—at which point there was a kind of mini explosion of light, a mouse sized supernova of bright light, of ecstasy, as the mouse rejoined the infinite. For me that same explosion, that same moment of ecstasy, is present at both a birth and a death—the energy, the ecstasy, is the same. And I experienced this quite strongly as I spent a week watching Ann leave her body. Fortunately most of the other people involved with her passing also sensed it—some as just her final relief from her cancer ridden body, some as more than that. So, on the one hand I could watch her leave her body but I could also sense her relief and joy in her freedom, but I could also participate in the ecstasy of the event—which was just like being in a room when a baby is born.

What I also found interesting was to watch how the various people in the room perceived her death. For the week previous to her passing I’d been able to see a blue white sphere coming and going in her hospice room and I knew it was Ann being in and around her body, and sometimes leaving altogether. On the evening she finally died I could see the blue white sphere in the room, see it over Bob’s shoulder as he read the Tibetan Book of the Dead to her. For me, the being of the blue white sphere is the being who was Ann, who occupied the energy matrix that made up the body, emotions, thoughts, etc called “Ann”. And yet several people who were sensitive enough to feel the energy flow of her dying could put their hands in the space above her bed and feel her energy leaving her body, who would say “she’s almost entirely out now”, or “she’s out now, she’s free..”—and I realized how strongly people identified each other by their energy matrices rather than by the being that occupies the matrix. The energy matrix of Ann’s physical body will disappear, the matrices of Ann’s emotional, mental, causal bodies will also disappear, but at a very much slower rate (in fact, even her astral body will last through many cycles of physical creation). But the blue white sphere of the being that inhabited and inhabits those matrices is what lasts, is what goes from matrix to matrix, from life to life—and that being is what you follow when you follow yourself back.


OK, that was the email, and now here’s some more about it. When I told you to follow yourself back I meant it in just the sense that I talked about it above–that you don’t follow yourself back as Cecilia, or that the being who was Ann doesn’t follow herself back as Ann, but rather that you follow yourself back through your own sense of “I am”—that you follow your “I am” sense back rather than following the energy matrix that makes up Cecilia, or Ann, or anyone or anything else. When I’m talking about doing that, I’m talking to you, the being who “inhabits” the energy matrix called “Cecilia”; I’m not talking to “Cecilia”. Do you understand the difference? Notice in my description above that most people were saying that “Ann is almost out of her body”, etc—and that what they were talking about is the energy matrix dissolving. Most beings identify with their energy matrices, whether it’s on a physical level in a physical body, or on an astral level with an astral body. Most beings need to find a body to relate to in order to relate to themselves. Note that by energy matrices I mean the sum total of the energy complex in an environment—the physical, emotional, mental components–so that when you change your environment you will change your physical, emotional and mental aspects also (i.e., in a human world you’ll have a human body, human emotions, human thoughts, etc. In a canine world you’ll have a canine body, canine emotions, canine thoughts.) In a higher astral environment you’ll have a higher astral body, higher astral emotions, higher astral thoughts, while in a low astral environment you’ll have a lower astral body, lower astral emotions, and lower astral thoughts (i.e., a dark body, negative emotions and thoughts). But throughout all of this, you are still you–you are still the “I am” that you can follow back—you are still the blue sphere that will separate from whatever bodies you occupy in whatever environments in whatever realms on whatever levels. And it’s that “I am” that you need to be able to follow back—it’s that ‘following back’ that will get you where you want to go.

This isn’t just all a bunch of theory—it isn’t just some spiritual thing that doesn’t relate to anything. The events I described surrounding Ann’s passing (or rather, the events surrounding the leaving of an energy matrix by the being who occupied it for a time and was known as Ann) are true, and they’ve been seen and known for millennia. The entire Tibetan book of the Dead is about just this event, which is why the Book of the Dead was/is also seen as a meditation practice as well as a guidebook. The central point of the Tibetan Book of the Dead is that the being of the blue sphere learn to actively and consciously move out of the energy matrix on all levels and to realize it’s own “true nature”, it’s Buddha nature. Which is the same thing as following oneself back.

Ann died, but the being who inhabited the matrix known as Ann doesn’t die. Cecilia will die, but the being who inhabited the matrix known as Cecilia doesn’t die. Roger will die, but the being who inhabited the matrix known as Roger doesn’t die. In other worlds, in other environments, in other realms, on other levels, we’d inhabit other matrices that are determined by those other realms and levels. In all cases those matrices, those bodies, on all levels, will die. Astral bodies last longer than physical bodies; mental bodies last longer than astral bodies; but none last forever. None. But the beings who inhabit those matrices last forever—only we sometimes get lost and forget who we are, and identify with the matrix we happen to be inhabiting, and then we keep coming back again and again, life after life, trying to find ourselves—until we finally remember.

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