“I greet you from the other side
Of sorrow and despair
With a love so vast and shattered
It will reach you everywhere.”
~Leonard Cohen, A Heart With No Companion

Some time ago a man challenged me to write about how my daughter and husband experienced their sufferings. He thought it might allow me to go deeper than I had previously gone with my writing, with my healing. So I wrote something for him. I will now try again.

Bob fought for his life; he gave it everything he had. The last time I saw him in hospice he was calm. He had begun to receive morphine. The end was near. It was December 19, 2004, when I last saw him alive. I don’t know how it was for him. My sister had come from Pennsylvania to be with him. I was at home resting, as was our son.

She never said much about his last hours. (He died on December 20.) She said that she chanted softly most of the day. She discovered that there was a Hershey Kiss on his supper tray. She took that as a sign, since her teacher, Ammachi, always distributed Kisses at darshan. She chopped it up and fed it to him in tiny pieces. He was on his way home. I knew it would not be long and I didn’t want to be there. I couldn’t have anyway because he was waiting for her to get there. She it would be who would surrender him to the light. I cry as I write this. You know how I am.

But now I am writing about him, about how he must have felt. He had started to transition right before we took him to hospice. He had begun seeing things that we could not see, but he was not in pain. We never said goodbye because he never gave up. We had planned on moving him back into the hospital the following day so he could receive more transfusions. But he bled out before that would happen.

He never looked that bad, never looked horrific, like our daughter had. He was a big man, a regal-looking man, and he died in all of his dignity. I carry this in my body on a cellular level. Bob hung around the earth plane until his body simply could go no more. He wanted to stay and protect me. Someone who could see the other side said this to me, “Bob watched over you like a mother hen for the first three years after his death. But he has moved on. He has work to do, so he touches in when you need him.

Right before I published Life With A Hole In It, he came to me on the astral level. He said, “Your prayers are written on the wall of my heart every day.” It’s good to know that.

Thank you for allowing me to write truly for all of these years. I have written circles of light around myself. Hopefully they have included you as well. “I want you to find your passion before I die,” he said to me right after his diagnosis. And I have.

It is time for me to try some new things. I am not sure what they will be. But this I know. I am loved and I am taking flight. I am not in favor of the intellectual knowledge of love or of discussing it. Raw honesty is how I roll. Cut the onion and peel away the layers. As Natalie Goldberg’s teacher said to her, “Just swim. Just swim. Go on with your story.”

Vicki Woodyard


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