See You In The Light

In MemoriamOn Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14, 2016, my husband and I facilitated our first Higher Love event. Our Higher Love events are workshops and retreats for individuals and couples focused on deepening relationships and loving intentionally. This was our very first so it was a day of “birthing” a project that has been in the gestation period since 2009. And now, after much time and consideration it has been birthed and on its way to healthy growth and aliveness.

We had a wonderful day of sharing and loving with an amazing group of people and when the day ended we were absolutely thrilled and triumphant – it was high-fives and fist-bumps all over the place. We lingered awhile with some of the attendees then packed up for the drive from New York City to our home in central NJ where we met up with my brother and sister-in-law for a celebratory Valentine’s Day dinner. Finally, after a very long day, we arrived home exhausted and ready to surrender to rest.
When I sat down on the sofa to remove my boots I noticed the blinking green light on our phone indicating messages waiting. Flopping back into the seat I put my feet up and began to listen.

Suddenly the mood of this auspicious day changed drastically as I heard my dear friend Beth telling me that her husband, Larry, had passed away early that morning – Valentine’s Day morning. Larry battled pancreatic cancer for the last four years. It was one of the most amazing battles I’ve ever seen. He did it with powerful intention, lucidity, and tremendous courage. Oh, and his usual dry intellectual sense of humor. Beth and Larry were an amazing team fighting this disease together – a united front and a force to be reckoned with. It was a rough go for a long time. Long hospital stays, the ravages of chemotherapy and endless testing and doctors and waiting for news. It was the proverbial roller-coaster ride of physical and emotional ups and downs. He actually conquered the original cancer site and at one point was actually cancer free, an unheard of result with pancreatic cancer. But those cells were virulent and eventually showed up in his liver. He was actually doing much better in the last year, gaining weight and regaining his joie de vivre enabling him to attend his son’s wedding in Florida as well as sharing sporting events, parties and family time with more vigor than had been seen in many months. Only two weeks ago he was accepted into a cutting edge clinical trial for immunotherapy. In spite of how ill he has been these last four years, his death at this time came suddenly and shocked us all. We had hoped this new therapy would give him much more time. It was not to be.

As soon as I hung up the phone after speaking with Beth I began hearing Larry’s voice. Nothing specific, just a sensation of his voice. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it, if the fatigue from the day and the shock of this news had rendered me a little bit crazy and I was just hearing things through an exhausted brain.

After a rather rocky night trying to sleep we got up and tried to have a relatively “normal” morning. I was alone in our living room sipping my coffee when he came to me. It was Larry. I could feel his energy as clearly as I felt my own. It was as if he were in the living room with me, sharing a cup of coffee. There is no easy way to say this so that it makes sense, but I will try. Larry was “telling me” that he was amazed at how “cool” it was to be where he was. His energy was that of child-like wonder…excited and amazed. I said his name out loud and he sort of “nodded” hello (I know this sounds wild but this is how it happened) and kept indicating that it was “so cool” to be where he was. I could feel him everywhere. Then he indicated that while he felt ecstatically happy and free, he was concerned for his family and how his leaving would impact them. All I could do was acknowledge his being there and mentally offer to him that all would be well. He stayed a little while longer and his energy simply faded away. The experience lasted about two minutes…maybe less; time is hard to measure at a moment like that. I went upstairs to find Bob and told him simply, “Larry was just here” and told him what happened. Knowing me as Bob does he was not at all surprised and just hugged me and said he was glad he came to me.

Of course I allow a certain amount of healthy skepticism to enter my thinking after an experience like this one so I phoned a good friend who is also a gifted psychic and channel for some support and counsel. She was very supportive and knew that Larry and I had many spiritually-oriented conversations and that I had done a Reiki session with him while he was ill. She said that he came to me because he knew I’d understand how he was feeling the freedom, the joy, and the total happiness – and that I would know it was him. She said that he saw me as a beacon and knew that he could come to me to share “how cool” it was. I cried then. I cried because of the loss of Larry’s earthly life; I cried for the release that he was now feeling. And I was and am deeply humbled that he chose to come to me that morning. I am also truly amazed that we humans can hold deep sadness and great joy in the same exact moment.

Larry is the first friend of my generation and group of friends to die. He had a million friends, all of us in relatively the same age group. No doubt we all reflected on our own mortality and where we are in our own earth continuum as we escorted him home and held space for his family. In my thoughts I realize that Larry has done the hard work. Larry now knows the answer to the question we all hold in our minds – what happens when we die? He has stepped through the veil and knows the deal. And I sense that he is paving the way for us all for the time when it’s our turn to step across. Larry is now the beacon. I can’t help noticing that February is the gateway to spring. It’s fitting that Larry would leave at a time when new life is stirring beneath our feet.

Valentine’s Day will forever have a new meaning, just as my own birthday, when my father died 4 years ago. Not a day for sadness, although we will feel that and remember. It will be a day for Love in a new way. A day to reflect on how we are expressing love. A day to remember how much love Larry had for his wife, children, grandchildren, family and his millions of friends. It will be a day to dedicate ourselves to the purity of that Love and to remember our friend Larry Rudnick.

Farwell my friend. I will see you in the light. ~ FD

Weekly Stretch 2-19-16

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After a week of riding an emotional roller coaster, I arrive at this moment with a flood of thoughts. I’ll be writing a blog post later but for now what comes to mind for our stretch this week is about our relationships. Is there someone you love dearly and haven’t connected with in a while? I think our lives are so busy and full that we sometimes lose sight of some of the important people who are not in our immediate circle of day to day living. It’s certainly true for me. I have the blessing of knowing so many beautiful people and have cultivated many deep friendships over the years. Life has a way of keeping me from connecting as often as I’d like and this week, after losing a very dear friend to pancreatic cancer, connection and relationships are at the forefront of my mind. While it’s not possible to reach everyone I know and love in the world, social media, texting, email all make it a lot easier to simply say, “I’m thinking of you”. In the old days we were limited to letters (remember them?), telephone calls and chance meetings.

My intention is to reach out more, even if it’s only a text or email, to let people know they are in my heart and on my mind. Time is short and easily lost. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to let people I care about and miss know that I see them, even if I can’t actually see them with my physical eyes.

STRETCH: Think about someone you’d like to connect with who you haven’t heard from or contacted in a while. Just a quick hello via email or text or FB message…or maybe a call or a card (another lost art). Then think of another person you might like to re-connect with and reach out.

Your Weekly Stretch 11/30/15

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Today I had the occasion to examine some very important aspects of myself.  In that examination I realized that I have been negligent in several ways and that negligence has caused pain for someone I love.  Upon further reflection I also realize that it would be very easy for me go into a very dark place of self-recrimination and depression, negative self-talk and other self-defeating ways of being and thinking.  I have made a different choice today.  I have chosen to forgive myself and made a commitment to do better.  This was a stretch for me and I am happy to say that, while not easy, I chose to forgive myself and move forward more consciously.

This weeks stretch:  Forgive yourself.  None of us is perfect and we are all capable of missing the mark.  Notice where you can do better and make the commitment to choose again.      ~ FD