|Dad & Marti surrounded by our family, August 2012|
i arrived 3 days before his passing, staying by his bedside as often as possible. i could not think of leaving the house, nor did i have any desire to do so. i spent many hours praying silently and softly in his ear or by his side. i massaged his neck, hands and feet, and gently rubbed shea butter cream onto his face. sometimes his lips needed to be moistened. the inside of his throat was dying but the home health aid used a medicinal swab to wipe his teeth and gums. by the last morning of his life, the nurse commented that she had never seen anyone live longer than 5 days without water and food..
this is my account of the last day of his life:
at 4:30am i arose to pray that morning. for the first time i opened the prayer book to the prayers for the departed, preparing my soul to pray for his soul. afterwards, in the darkness, with the loud sound of the oxygen machine running, i came to his bedside and wept for over an hour, emptying my heart to him, whispering to him, praying for his soul..my heart ached for the pain and long-suffering he’d endured these past 2 years, but especially this year, not being able to drive, to walk, to go to church, to play ball, to go fishing, etc. – all the while being so radiant and light-hearted and joyful..
"Whatever God hath willed hath been, and that which He hath not willed shall not be. There is no power or strength except in God, the Most Exalted, the Most Mighty.”
“Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants and all abide by His bidding.”
|dad, a fisher of men, on his boat, Good News, at the jersey shore|
..we all face death and know it is an inevitable part of life, yet when it happens it opens up the heart to an ache and pain that enters every crevice of one's innermost being. no matter how deep our faith and assurances are of the spiritual life of the soul beyond this earthly plane, we grieve the loss of our loved ones.
this was my first time being in the presence of death and witnessing how the spirit leaves the body. i now have a deeper understanding of how the spirit of the soul is what attracts us to others -- it certainly isn't the body that remains living in our hearts. the spirit that animated my dad's body is now reunited with its Creator. i now find myself talking with and praying for my father's soul in a purely spiritual manner, relying on the spiritual bond of divine love that we shared in this life:
"In prayer there is a mingling of station, a mingling of condition. Pray for them as they pray for you! When you do not know it, and are in a receptive attitude, they are able to make suggestions to you, if you are in difficulty. This sometimes happens in sleep. but there is no phenomenal intercourse! That which seems like phenomenal intercourse has another explanation." The questioner exclaimed; "But I have heard a voice!" 'Abdu'l-Bahá said: "Yes, that is possible; we hear voices clearly in dreams. It is not with the physical ear that you heard; the spirit of those that have passed on are freed from sense-life, and do not use physical means. It is not possible to put these great matters into human words; the language of man is the language of children, and man's explanation often leads astray."
~Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 96
|one of our outings together when our family lived in Rochester|
|Niagara Falls 2005|