How Playing Charades with My Papa Helped Me See a Whole New World
This subject is filled with so much fear; what a terrible way to live.
I want to show you the beauty I saw within the process. I know its crazy to talk about the “dying” process as a beautiful one, but I am telling you it has its beauty. If I can see it, you can too.
First thing, I am now seeing the process not as dying. That is finite. I see it as a transition process, like birthing.
I personally haven’t had a near death experience. I am merely sharing the information that I have collected from reading different books with different perspectives. All of them seem to echo a universal theme… that there are some mysteries in life that we will never know until it is time to know them, and when we are beyond our physical bodies.
My dad taught me how to celebrate this process.
My papa transitioned from this earthly plane Saturday night surrounded by his family in our home. It was how he wished it to be.
We were grateful to be able to bring him home from the hospital. The care givers and nurses from hospice were selfless. They allowed us to be present with our papa and meet all of his needs without being distracted by worrying about his physical comfort.
Over the past two weeks, my pop gave me the greatest and most amazing gift.
I never imagined in a million years that I would consider allowing anyone, my pop or anyone else, to go through this transition in my home.
I have always been afraid of seeing people in their last days because their physical change in appearance has been hard to shake off. I wanted to remember the person at their best physical and mental condition. At least that’s how I felt when my aunt and my mother in law passed away.
I didn’t like going to funerals with the open casket because frankly it would freak me out and I certainly didn’t want my kids to be part of that either.
But soon after he was admitted into the hospital for evaluation I realized he was quickly transitioning and my fears and perceptions all changed.
How I Became My Papa’s Doula
On January 8th, he was taken to the hospital because he was becoming very delusional and it was dangerous for him to be at home. Tests were ordered. Specialists were summoned to report on his condition. At first we thought it was just an acceleration of his dementia and alzheimer’s. After questioning us about dad’s mental condition, the psychiatrist at the hospital informed us that dad’s quickly developed delusions were not from his already existing dementia or alzheimer’s, and that it was most likely due to an infection. I immediately thought “well, his whole system is out of balance and he has been fighting one “infection” after another for over a few years.”
There must be a new infection. Nothing earth shattering was discovered.
While at the hospital, my dad would talk about my mom’s brother and brother in law as if they were just there. My mom’s brother and brother in law are not living on earth.
That is when I knew intuitively my dad was preparing for his transition.
There was a deep yearning in me to help my dad transition. The only experience I have had in the past is being a comfort to those who lost their loved ones. My need to want to help my dad through this transition was beyond a daughterly duty. Between my mother, my brother and I, we had spent over a year and a half trying to help him regain his physical health, and now it was time to focus on helping him through this transition.
Without realizing, I did what I usually do to seek out my answers. I went into hyper research mode. I set the intention to be surrounded by people, books and resources that would help support my dad’s transition. I sought the help of my dear friend Marta who is a wealth of resource. She is like my personal well-read librarian and my greatest advisor on spiritual matters. She cuts down on my research time. She knows exactly what I need to help with whatever process I am going through. All I have to do is listen with an open heart and become the student. I absorbed like a sponge and processed organically without force or pressure. I allow what I am absorbing, as crazy as it may at first sound to me, to just settle in without judgement. Then I wait and observe. Without placing any expectations, I allow the experiences to blend in with what I have learned. With that naturally emerges an intuitive response to be of greatest service to my highest intention.
I sought the advise of a death midwife. Yes, there is such a person. I watched the videos from Sacred Crossing site and again I had mixed emotions, but it was enough to ignite an organic curiosity to seek answers from within on how to help my father.
After my dad was admitted to the hospital, all I wanted to do was be what he needed me to be to help him with his transition. I had no idea what was about to happen to make that happen. I had no idea what I was supposed to do or capable of doing to be of service to him.
One night, I had a dream where my dad was walking besides me. He was as big as a giant, but not as strong as in his youthful times. I turned to hug him. He bent down to allow my arms to reach his torso. I didn’t say a word but the feeling was raw and absolute. I felt it was time to let him go. He hugged me back every so lovingly and said “its going to be alright”. I had a knowing that I had an important job to fulfill for my daddy. I didn’t know exactly what it would entail, but duty called.
Intuition told me to not dismiss what my dad was seeing… dead people. I remember when he was first taken to the hospital, he asked me in between having conversations with dead people, if he was going crazy. He felt that is why a psychologist was there. I told him what I intuitively knew to be the truth. I told him that first of all we are all crazy, just at different levels. I told him not to worry about being judged; that I would listen to his stories and the conversations that he was having with the dead relatives. It didn’t make sense to me. It didn’t matter. I didn’t want to question it.
My friend advisor referred me to read What Happens When We Die by Echo Bodine. Soon after I read the first 2 chapters, I realized my dad’s veil was lifted and he could see both sides of the world. Whoa! That was crazy. But how cool was that?
This is when the magic happened and I got to see a world that I had not set intentions to see.
Remember, my intention was to help my dad transition from this earthly plane. But why was I being driven to see his world?
I soon found out that in order to help him, I needed to understand this whole new world.
“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be”- Albert Einstein.
Playing Charades With My Papa Helped Me See a Whole New World
On January 27th, I had the opportunity to be with him for hours uninterrupted and alone at the hospital by his bed side. By that time, he had lost so much energy, weight and his voice.
I remember needing to dim the lights and allowing the natural sun to light the room. I closed the hospital room door and just wanted to hold my dad’s hands.
It was the strangest thing. As soon as I created a calm space for just him and me, he came into a burst of energy….at least with his eyes wide open and ready to move his arms. It seemed like an out of body experience. With his condition, he should not have had any energy to even do that.
He began making a line from top to bottom in a space in front of him without pointing to anything specific in front of him.
I asked if it was a line. He shook his head no. He kept making the same line. He looked at me as though wondering if I could see what he saw. I then asked him if it was a wall. He shook his head no with frustration.
He looked at me as if wondering if I believed him.
I looked deep into his eyes and told him that I don’t see what he sees but I believed him and wished to understand what he saw. I told him that I had all the time in the world if he was up for putting up with me. He gave me a smile of approval.
So my dad and I started playing the game of charades….(I am sobbing over here).
His eyes were filled with wonder. Whatever he saw put a smile on his face.
I asked him numerous times if what he saw made him happy. He would make a gesture with his face, eyes and lips as if to express “oh, so much. You have no idea”.
Interestingly his ego/physical being wasn’t accepting that he was going through this transition.
During the game of charades I asked him if he was seeing angels. He turned his head towards me giving me a puzzled look that said “Are you Crazy! Do you think I am dying!” So I knew to keep the questions earthly.
Him pointing at a near distance and making a vertical line with his hand while I tried to guess what it was went on for a while. Something told me to ask him if he was seeing two different worlds. I was expecting him to give me the same “Are you crazy!” look.
I asked him if the line was a line between two worlds. You would think I hit the jackpot. He turned to me with his eyes wider than ever and a smile that could radiate outside the room. With his eyes, he asked if I could now see what he sees. I don’t lie. So I told him the truth. I told him that I could not see physically, but that I felt it. He was so happy.
He went on pointing all over the hospital room.
We had established previously that they weren’t angels (tee hee hee). I asked if they were people he knew. He shook his head yes. I started naming some deceased relatives that he had seen before. He confirmed a couple of them. There were too many to name.
At times he would hush me as though there was someone in the room whispering something uber important in his ears. I knew enough not to disturb him.
We kept playing the charades with each other.
At the end, he turned to me and gathered all of his energy to just say “it can’t be explained”. That was such a “whoa!” moment for me. That is what most people describe when they have had a near death experience.
“I was blind, but now I see” takes on a whole new meaning.
In his book, Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who before having a near-death experience, recalls he had joined the thousands of scientists who argued that these experiences were nothing more than simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress. Dr. Alexander lay in a coma for 7 days from a rare illness that attacked the part of his brain that makes him human. The real miracle of his story lies in his recall of his journey while his body lay in coma encountering another world. Thousands of people have had near-death experiences. Dr. Alexanders’ makes it revolutionary as it is from a perspective of a science minded person. On page 127 of his book Proof of Heaven, he talks about how the mind and the personality (soul/spirit) continue to exist beyond the body.
We are more than our physical body.
All I cared about was that whatever my father was seeing was making him happy. The expression on his face said that whatever he was seeing or hearing was comforting to him.
According to Echo Bodine, a psychic and author of What Happens When We Die, when a person is in their dying process, the soul spends much of its time out of the body, preparing for its new life on the other side. During this time, the soul visits with deceased loves ones quite often and reacquaints itself with its new (old) home. When the person physically dies on this side, they are being born into the other side, in a sense.
The world’s religions offer differing points of view when we ask question of what happens when we die?
Some religions teach that if you live a good life, you will go to heaven but if you live a bad life, you will burn in a place of torment. Other religions teach that at death, people pass on to the spirit realm to be with their ancestors. Still other religions teach that the dead go to an underworld to be judged and are then reincarnated or reborn in another body.
The priest that was called at the request of my mother to bless my father’s soul, said that he doesn’t call it death. It is a state of sleep.
One basic idea that is shared is that some part of us survives the death of the physical body.
I do not know the answer to these questions with certainty.
I can just share with you my perspective and observation about my dad’s process.
That Wednesday I stayed with him until we brought him home.
His lack of energy and desire to eat or drink was quickly deteriorating, but thank goodness I was equipped with some information.
What I read in What Happens When We Die and Proof of Heaven and my friend’s experience with her mother empowered me.
The process of transitioning slowly shuts down our physical body. It is so hard to watch your father who was once vibrantly walking twice a week for 1.5 hours each time, not being able to move at all.
Interestingly, at least with my father, he didn’t have any pain except when he was being repositioned to not get bed sores.
Echo’s book explains what happens to the body as it goes through this transition. Her explanation of what happens to the body one to two weeks prior to death echoes what I witnessed with my dad and what the hospice booklet describes.
Another powerful boost of force that I needed came from Alex from Sacred Crossings. I spoke with her about the need to get their assistance to help my father go through this journey, but struggling with the fact that not all my family members were receptive to their style and methods. After listening to my cry for help, Alex calmly and with command told me “You got this”. She and I both knew what she meant even though my ego was screaming, “What are you talking about? I don’t know how to do this! I have never done this before!” Her confidence and trust in me was all that I needed to help my dad.
In On Death and Dying Elisabeth Kubler-Ross describes the 5 stages of grief and loss: denial, bargaining, anger, despair and acceptance.
My dad didn’t even realize he was in the dying process until his last couple of hours here on earth.
I remember vividly when that shift happened.
During one of the relative’s visits, a well meaning relative said what may have seemed like an inappropriate joke about death, but what it truly was was a gift from the Universe allowing my dad to go through the acceptance phase of the process.
Before then, my pop was receptive to jokes. Even though his eyes were closed and he was non responsive, it was obvious he could hear and comprehend everything around him as he would smile right at the punch line of a joke.
My father had a light spirit about him. He loved to laugh and joke around. But when that last joke was told, not only did he not have a smile, I sensed that his ego woke up and realized what was happening. That is when everything started moving faster forward towards his transition.
Hospice had given us all sorts of other signs to watch out for and he seemed to have a few more days left here on earth based on his physical signs.
We all needed to pace ourselves to give to dad what was needed. My brother and mother left our house to rest for the night. I was left alone with my dad again. The hospice nurse was seated nearby.
I noticed that my dad’s breathing was getting heavier and he seemed bothered. I asked him if he was in pain. He shook his head no. I asked if he wanted to hear something funny and he shook his head no. I knew something had shifted. I asked what was bothering him. He pounded on his chest with his right hand with whatever little energy he had left. I knew that he was feeling anxious as his mind and ego had just realized what was happening.
I felt that he was scared like no other time in his life. I have never seen my father cry. That was the first time I noticed his lips quiver as if he was about to cry. It broke my heart to pieces to see him scared.
After finding the strength to call my brother and asking my mother to come back, I went back to his bedside and held his hands tight in mine and started to share the story of how my daughter Solene was born into this world. Steven held me in his lap.
“Pop, I want you to listen to this story as it is relevant to your journey. When I got pregnant with Solene, I knew I wanted a better child birthing experience for her and me. Because I knew I couldn’t be in this journey alone, I employed the help of a doula and a midwife. I felt empowered through my pregnancy. The day that the contractions happened and Solene was to be born, I felt empowered and experienced my contractions in a whole new way than before. Contraction were no longer just painful. They were painful, but beautiful because my doula had taught me how to breath through them. As the contractions got more intense, so did my intent to see this pregnancy through with beauty. Everything went smoothly until it came time to push. I froze. I stopped breathing in my power. I started breathing in panic. I realized that I had prepared myself for the journey except for this part….the pushing part. I honestly didn’t think I could do it. I grabbed my doula and with no doubt asked her to push my daughter back in and rush me to have a C Section. I didn’t think I could push through it. Fear took over. My dear doula who had never given birth herself (but helped thousands of other mothers give birth) gently yet firmly grabbed my hand and told me “you got this”. There was no turning back. Plus she truly believed I could do it. I had no choice but to trust her even though she had never given birth to her own child. I knew from within she knew something I didn’t. She believed for me”.
With tears rolling down my face and holding my papa’s hands tight in mine, I told him “Pop, you got this. Just like the butterfly that has to struggle out of its cacoon to earn its wings to fly, you are going through a beautiful journey to earn your wings”.
“I want to see your wings” with more tears running down my cheeks.
I didn’t realize that the nurse was looking intently at this moment in time.
My brother and mother made it back and soon after they came back home, my papa took his last breath with all of us including his grandchildren next to his bedside. I could feel his spirit soaring and in peace.
The nurse told me later that she witnessed the most beautiful exchange between a daughter and her father. She said that I helped my papa transition peacefully and beautifully.
In that moment in time (from the time he was admitted to the hospital) when my pop was going through his transition, he allowed me to be his doula.
What a gift he bestowed to me. I am forever grateful.
I realized then why my dad had chosen me as his daughter. I feel he chose me to help him in this transition.
May we all be blessed to be surrounded by loved ones and have a peaceful transition.
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