Two and a half years ago, I sat with my friend Barbara/Briga’s on her porch sipping tea and talking about Death. I had stopped in for a short visit while working in her town. Our visits were not as often as I would have liked as we lived quite a distance from each other. As we sat overlooking her back yard I took a deep breath enjoying the Sacred Space she had created; the altar under the big Oak tree, the feeders set out for the birds & the sacred bits and pieces on display throughout the yard. I realized that her time in this physical dimension was limited and that Death had become her constant companion. Sitting there I noticed that her Spirit was not completely in her body…it had shifted to the left. I could see Psychically that it was extended out beyond her body & that she was only partially tethered. I mentioned this and told her that I saw it as a clear sign that she had crossed into the space of dying which I refer to as the Gray. The Gray refers to a person who’s death is immanent with no chance of getting better, or a Soul that has recently crossed into Spirit and does not realize it yet. She was not surprised by this as she had felt a change in herself. She had reached a point where she realized she could not/should not travel long distances & was putting all of her energy into creating the Death she wanted to experience. She feared not for her Spirit. Her beliefs were strong and she was fortunate to have experienced many soul level journeys that gave her a strong belief in the after life…including personal experience of past lives. Her fear was that her work was not yet done, that she had something she needed to give to the world & that she was running out of time. We talked about this for quite some time with me sharing stories of my Spirit Guide, Adam & my Father Richard who both work hard in the Spirit World. This gave Barbara something to think on and she gave me one of her ever-so-Barbara questioning looks, with her head tilted, eyebrows raised and mouth puckered ever so slightly….
As I sit here writing this with Briga/Barbara by my side I can see her look…apparently she wants me to get it right.
A few months went by before I next saw my friend; I had grandchildren to welcome into the world (one in October, one in November) & the business of the holidays to attend to. I next visited in January, first at a gathering of Druids at Briga’s home, second at the end of the month for private time & deep conversation. By the second visit, it was obvious to the physical eye that she was slipping. She had a hard time rousing from slumber when I arrived and was experiencing a lot of physical discomfort. Even so we stayed up into the wee hours of the night talking, with the sound of the oxygen machine humming away in the background. We talked about Death, legacy & her ‘Big, Fat, Druid Funeral’. Barbara was an artist, professionally and in her soul. She planned her funeral like others plan a wedding…with every detail laid out just so. We discussed how active she would be when she no longer had need of her dilapidated body. That in many ways dying would free her up to continue her work, for she was frustrated that she had reached a point in which she could no longer journey easily or learn new Spiritual techniques. I think this was one of the greatest gifts I got before her passing, that time to sit for hours talking about my favorite subject “Death”. Her bravery and strength were truly beautiful. On my way home the next day I thought about our conversation and pondered how I should write something about ‘the beauty in dying’. For in truth, there is a special something that can only be experienced when sitting in the Death’s embrace.
Unfortunately I was not there when Barbara stepped into being Briga. Barbara had a great love and connection with the Goddess/Saint Brigid of Ireland. She had traveled to Ireland twice during her days with Cancer, the second time spending a month there by herself. Briga was/is the incarnation of Barbara that is a strong Druid Priestess in service to Brigid. She was Spiritually transformed in a ceremony on her birthday, surrounded by Druids & Healers. She chose to let go of the everyday worries of Barbara and step fully into the shining light of her true Spirit self…Briga. If you have interest in reading more about this please check out my friend Fearn’s blog post Briga’s Crossing.
I next saw Briga on the weekend of March 13-15th, the last she would have on the physical plane. Her conversion to Briga gave her a final push of strength & energy to set her plans in motion. She arranged the weekend to be one filled with Ceremony and family, a grand send off. She was physically frail, but there was a soul level strength in her much brighter then I had seen in my last few visits. We gathered in her home; a small group of her Spiritual community (Druids, Faery Seers), family (brother, sister in-law, best friend) & her Death Doula (a fantastic human who helped organize the comings and goings of everyday living and dying). Our goal was to assist Briga to the Spirit World through ceremony & it was a powerful experience. First, it should be noted that I truly enjoy standing in the space of Death. As a Medium, I find Death to be one of the most powerful vehicles of transformation I have ever witnessed. It clears away the debris of life, the unimportant bullshit most of us preoccupy ourselves with and gives us a view of what is most important…LOVE.
With Death as our companion the weekend was deep and life changing for us all. Briga showed us that we have the ability to direct our crossing when dancing the long, slow dance with Death. For her, in many ways that relationship was a bonding that made her stronger. She did not run from it, but explored it. Living for years with a terminal illness, she fought, cried, laughed, screamed and embraced her relationship with Death. The last weekend of her life was filled with beauty & love…we toned, sang, gave offerings, experiencing closeness both physically and emotionally. We all took turns snuggling in bed with Briga, where she shared the most important things she needed to say to us and gave trinkets of magic & remembrance. As the weekend wound to an end, it was clear that Briga’s body although failing, was unlikely to let go by the end of our time together. On Saturday night she began to talk more clearly about plan B, as she knew that many of us would need to depart the following evening. Plan B. was to take the medication prescribed to her through The Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act (Act 39) which provides Vermont residents with terminal disease the option to be prescribed a dose of medication to hasten the end of their life. This Act was signed into law on May 20, 2013.
I slept on the couch just outside of Briga’s room on the last night of her physical life (Saturday the 14th). Although, I did not sleep much as I could feel Death close by. Her Mother and Father had both gathered in the room with me. Her Father’s Spirit standing guard, and her Mother’s sitting in the chair just outside of where Briga lay restlessly. Briga coughed and struggled to breathe most of the night and at 3 am she got up & began to type. I could hear her as I lay on the couch. She was writing love notes…reaching out to the people she loved …telling them the things she needed to say. She woke early the next morning with an announcement that I was not surprised to hear “I’m done!”
I hope you have enjoyed the read folks. I will share the final piece on Friday morning, before I head out to Briga’s Druid Memorial.