It was the end of February, and just a couple of weeks from the anniversary date I was both looking forward to as well as dreading – the year anniversary of Frank’s death that happened so suddenly on March 10 2014.
On this particular day I was following slowly behind my group of visitors and taking a few moments to really look at the slow stream that bordered the path to the beach at Villa Lenora. I seldom really looked at the water there – the temptation was always to look up or ahead because I was usually in a group leader mode and focused on guests or students. I looked up into the trees hoping to glimpse a toucan or perhaps some of the ubiquitous howler monkeys, dozing on the branches in the afternoon heat. But this time I stopped for some moments to watch the gently moving shallow stream that made its way from the forests to the sea. This day my artist eyes looked more closely, more deeply.
I felt a shift.
I stilled my mind and was simply seeing. Instead of thinking about reflections, I was seeing abstract shapes of colors. And just as suddenly Frank was near and I almost saw him with me studying the shapes as I pointed to the cluster of blue ones surrounding the orange, lighted star shape…and then the green shapes toward the lower right along with the branch like shapes in the upper right. The branch shapes brought to mind connection and anchors and solidarity. Suddenly I was seeing butterfly wings and a school of gold fish or perhaps koi. And in the next instant I felt I was seeing from high above down onto a narrow slit canyon carved into the sandstone outcroppings in New Mexico. Instinctfully, I reached out to steady myself against the trunk of a tree. My visual wanderings zooming in close and then far out and away had a dizzying effect. Looking again into the water the branch shapes reflected there were reassuring, reminding me of the trees at my home – the vertical forms I counted on for steady reassurance about what appeared real to me. They disappeared in the night to return at daybreak. Suddenly there were some instantaneous ripples – something breaking the surface of the water from below or above – and then gone in the next breath. The concentric ripples there just for a few heart beats. I thought about our own vibrations – not as ripples in water but as electromagnetic waves of energy. I was now definitely in the realm of the Afterlife.
My mind jumped back thirty years to the Brion Cemetery in San Vito d’Altivole near Treviso, Italy designed by the famed architect, Carlo Scarpa. I was standing next to the stepped layers that descended into a still pool. The symbolism was stark and vivid – the steps representing the passage from life to death as from air to water. It was an apt analogy and one that had come to my mind more than once. Rather than a significant distance or transformation, a passing into the after life could simply be a change in medium or energetic frequency. It could be as simple as slipping one’s foot into a shallow, welcoming pool.
I snapped a quick photo of the pool before me knowing I would want to study it more later.
Now I see it. The camera view changed the three dimensional view to two…and I can more easily see the shapes as a lovely orchestration of colors and light…..
I see a version of what I think about when I think of the after life – beyond the veil, the submerged step into the next dimension or whatever happens to us after we pass from this earth. Frank has helped so much with this. For the past year we have communicated through night writings and I’ve felt his presence so many times when I listened to my heart and not to my ever doubting mind. I’ve felt him in a cool breeze that wakes me in the night when there is no breeze apparent in the palm tree just outside my window. I’ve seen him in what are called “lucid dreams” that are often more real than this reality we automatically trust. I’ve seen him in the corner of my eye – his smile and twinkling eyes, always steady and amused. And I’ve read his words – typed in the night with eyes closed, enabling him to speak through my fingers on the keyboard. I never remember what he has said and often read the words a few days later. I find myself always surprised and often delighted by his comments and steady reassurance that yes indeed life does continues after death. He insists that we are not what we think we are. We are much much more.
The shallow pool expressed it all to me that day at the beach. There was everything we believe is real reflected upon the surface of the pool – the trees, the branches, the leaves and even the shards of blue that are the reflection of the sky above. Together they create an intricate and ever changing tapestry upon the surface of the water. And then there was more – the evidence of movement – the ripples indicating movement upon the surface of the water. A leaf touching the surface? A fish from below? An insect? I imagined spirits touching the veil and moving through just as if a finger lightly breaks through the water surface. And then there is the explosion of illumination – light rays that penetrate the water surface more easily than air that are lighting up and exposing the depths while perhaps even distorting some of the edges of the shapes in the water below. It was like the power of something much greater that could bring everything to life when touched. A higher power, a greater spirit. The glow of the lovely light that penetrated both air and water as if they were the same. Life and After life. There was even the darker places where little light penetrates and there is a feeling of mystery and intrigue – the unknown and unknowable.
The impromptu photograph said it all for me. And I call it Life After Life…..
Maybe I will see about painting it.
March 9, 2015
On the eve of the year after Frank’s passing I wrote a passage in Facebook in the early morning….
Frank Thompson fixed a lovely meal for 10 students on the eve of our week long workshop on this day, one year ago. We watched the sun set over the hills and valley beyond and someone snapped a photo of us together. It would be our last. In the early morning of the 10th of March, 2014, he passed from this life as serenely as one could – with a smile on his gentle face. It has been a year. He is well remembered and forever in my heart.
I posted the last photo of us together once more and someone responded about the bright red flowers – his favorite color and also the Morpho butterflies that can be glimpsed just behind his right shoulder. I notice also his twinkling eyes and how much we look alike. We often felt so alike at least in thoughts and sensitivities. I saw his wedding ring on his left hand, now worn closest to my heart alongside my own that matches his. And I saw the soft grey tunic blouse I wore that day that has been worn only at special times since – the Memorial service, our wedding anniversary and tomorrow when I go to Papas to have a beer and something to eat as I would have done with Frank….
In a way I am sad that the year following his passage to the other side is completed. My year of bereavement, mourning, remembrance….solitude. And I wonder how it will be to continue? And as soon as I wonder it I know that it will be the continuation of the amazing year I have soft stepped through. But it will be different, too. Frank has passed on from this life and I know he is continuing on in spirit form in ways that I can not even imagine from my earth perspective. I also believe – through what he has said, that we do meet now and then in spirit form – when I can leave my sleeping earthly body to join him or he can occasionally be with me here when I am most receptive. Most of all I know that we each have had powerful effects on the other and that our relationship, short in years as it was has furthered our personal growth toward consciousness.
And, after all. Isn’t this what this life is all about?
I believe it is.
March 10, 2015, 4:14 a.m.
In the early morning hours, 4:14 a.m. on March 10 I woke completely and knew that Frank had awakened me at that moment to mark the passage of the year…. I went to my computer and waited. Then he spoke through my fingers on the keyboard…..
Dear dear Jan. yes it has been a year now and I woke you to note the time, note the hour, note the moment that I left earth life to move beyond as was the time. You know that I did not want to leave our life together and the human part of me resisted mightily. But it was the time for me to move on, to go on, to explore even more of my understanding and growth. I still miss what we were so fortunate to have and know that the time we had together taught us both so much about love and light and our spiritual evolvement. We both grew together and we have both continued. While I grow here, you are growing in a similar way on earth. Know that the thoughts and dreams and events that you are experiencing are ones that I am also coming to understand at an even deeper level here and I am sending you the information as I can so you can see it, too. We have both grown so much in this year as souls and all I can say to you now is that the best is yet to come, dear Jan. the best is yet to come. You will know it as you feel it and allow it. And all you need to do is stay open to it, as you are. Today I am with you and I am with several others who are speaking my name and wanting the comfort that all is just as it needs to be. The challenges we have on earth are perfect and the courage and wondering and and feelings we have are perfect also. Allow the growth and feel the amazing love you have inside for other souls, other spirits that you are seeing more clearly now than ever…trust the opening of your heart, dear Jan. Trust the other side and what comes next. It is indeed beautiful beyond any imagination and you are now able to glimpse it. Know that I am always here when you speak my name and I am also part of a much larger realm of consciousness here. All is well. And you are loved so much.
The wood statue of St. Francis that stands alone on the studio ledge.