You are going to see wonderful things that no tongue or pen can adequately describe. Well, when you return to earth again, do you suppose you can make people believe the story of your experiences? Never! Be thankful if you are the possessor of a secret joy yourself, and do not attempt to impart it to others who will only repel and mock you. — Marie Corelli
The Dark Night of My Soul came on June 29, 2003, fifteen years ago today, when I received the call that Kathleen had drowned while on a river rafting trip in Mexico.
Although our views on death were different, I believed if she could Kathleen would try to contact me but I had no idea how this would happen. I was working on instinct, past experiences, or a combination of both. I closed the windows, lit candles, and turned off all things electric except for the music. I sat down on the floor upon a pillow Kathleen had made from an old Indian blanket. I wrapped the bedspread from our bed around me and waited. I looked at the clock on the CD player, as if there was some appointed hour at which she would show up. As if time mattered in that timeless world of which she was now a part. It was 9:33 PM. “Breathe,” I said to myself and closed my eyes.
Kathleen loved clouds and often spoke of those in New Mexico as her favorite. Seen through her enchanted blue eyes clouds became floating ambassadors of radiant beauty. That evening she appeared to me as a cloud of energy. Her edges were undefined and although I could feel her presence in the room, I had difficulty discerning her visually while the candles were still burning.
Her spiritual energy softened the candles and the walls. They seem to lose their solidness. The flame burned free of the candle’s wick and the walls appeared made of vapor rather than plaster. It was still my room but had been changed to accommodate her presence. She did not communicate to me through words but in thoughts and she knew my thoughts before I could even formulate them in my mind. But first she responded to my heart.
“O honey, I know the pain is great on your soul but please don’t grieve for me. My spirit is free. I know you wish I were there and I am and will always be just in a different way. I know you worry if I were in pain or were afraid. I was nether. I surrendered to the river and it brought me here.”
For clarification I am writing our communication as dialogue but there were no words spoken by either of us. It was as if her thoughts were injected directly into some part of me which understood. There existed between us a shared consciousness which overrode the normal barriers of human speech between one person and another. It was a direct transmission of thoughts. This transmission bypassed the brain. There was no translation of thought into words.
The bitterness of mortality is it’s inability to provide comfort to ease the passing of a love one. In loss nothing works except for the loved one’s touch. I could no longer touch Kathleen but in her new form she touched me and surrounded my body with her comfort. I know for sure we were in a realm beyond the small dimensions of my room. She held me for a long time and reminisced of our times together as if it were important for her to remember one last time. She spoke of our adventures, our everyday joys, and all the laughter we shared while I just sobbed in her spiritual embrace. I asked if she would be returning to this physical world at some point.
“Would we encounter each other in this world again?”
“No honey, I won’t be coming back. There is no part of my life to complete.
“What will happen to you then?”
“I will become part of the invisible infrastructure which supports the visible world. I am now a part of everything you see and do not see. There is nothing of which I am not now a part. I am everywhere you are.”
Years ago when I studied Transcendental Meditation I learned that everyday our lives are somehow touched by the miraculous but because the miraculous is beyond the realms of the five senses it usually goes unnoticed. Most only believe what their senses tell them is true or real. While in reality our existence depends much more on what we don’t see, like the air we breathe.
I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. It was still 9:33 PM. The contact and dialogue between us which seemed an hour or more had taken place in some fragment of a minute. My room had now returned to normal. I blew out the candles and got into bed.
As soon as my head touched the pillow. I left my body and was floating above my bed. I could now in the darkness see Kathleen more clearly. She was floating right next to me as a cloud of darkness more concentrated than the darkness of the room. She was three dimensional and surrounded by what appeared to be static electricity.
It was at this point that Kathleen’s arms left her cloud and moved toward my body below us. They resembled flashlight beams in a smoke filled room as they approached my back and floated into my body. I could hear the adjustments being made to my spine and neck. For the three months prior to Kathleen’s trip, I had experienced great pain in my upper back and neck for which chiropractic and acupuncture treatments had been ineffective in curing the constant aching. This night my pain ended and has not returned since.
Then from along side of me she moved into me, the part still floating above the bed, and gave me a glimpse of her new existence. In death as in life she was totally free of any self interest. This state of being allowed her to give herself totally to the world. In this world of absolute space all things existed as energy without form and without contrast or chaos.
Soul is something not reducible to pure scientific interpretation so I am having difficulty explaining my experience. All the energies were separate and one at the same time. There was no “other.” There was no sense of a ruler and yet there was total order. All information and knowledge seemed available to me with just a thought.
“Where all is one, one is all there is.”
I was a conscious observer still attached to a mortal body while everything I observed was free of any attachment. I tried to grasp and give a name to this experience but it was beyond thought. I now think of it as sublime but that word too is inadequate. It was an ultimate reality not confined to the limitations of space and time. It was an alchemical environment of complete simplicity without sacrifice. Time and spacial order disappeared. Movement and stillness occurred simultaneously. Love and bliss were the inherent elements of this realm. The mere fact of being alive was a joy to me. I was grateful for everything. All my senses seemed sharpened. I felt an overwhelming experience of love as if no sorrow or disappointment had ever existed. I know now this is what Kathleen wanted me to witness. In someway she wanted to reassure me that she was safe and at home.
“The soul lies outside of time. It is the undefinable essence of a creature’s being. It resides in everything which exists. The soul is indivisible and can never be touched. In this vast emptiness everything is sacred. The only doctrine is love. It is the soul which gives each of us an individuality. We each have a role in our own destiny though we are all one.” These words were learned by me without a known source.
Then Kathleen spoke, “Our souls have blended and now we each carry a bit of the other. I’m sorry I left you so soon. Many lifetimes were concentrated in our brief time together. I have to go now.”
“I want to come with you,” I thought.
“You’re still needed in this world. It’s not your time. You will love again as great as that which we share. I will always be with you. I love you.”
She began to move away from me into the darker darkness which had gathered around us. My soul screamed when she disappeared. For the second time that day I had lost her. I tried to follow but was still tied to this anchor of a body below me. I was pulled back into my sleeping body and woke up crying for the loss of all I have loved.
In life Kathleen gave me everything and in death she gave me even more. She took me through that small window of experience which very few get to witness and in Solzhenitsyn’s words “the soul cries for.”
I am no longer afraid of death because of this experience I shared with Kathleen. Although life as we know it ends when the physical body dies, there is no death. What seems so is merely one of life’s greatest transitions.
🌹Kathleen Sherrill August 30, 1933 – June 29, 2003 In Memoriam🌹
Kathleen and I were only together for a short period of time, but during that brief encounter we each made the world more beautiful for the other. We believed in the love shared between us. Its beauty and joy blossomed in our everyday lives and in the richness of our souls. I believed for a long time that if I had been there with her on the river that day, she would still be alive, but death happens. Its pain and sorrow is as much a part of our living as joy and love. In order for me continue to live a full and enriched life, I had to learn to accept this truth of our existence. The greatest joy of life is love, and the greatest pain is the loss of a loved one.