Briga walked to her Death like a Warrior Queen. She woke the house early in the a.m. announcing that she was done. She rallied the troupes and we began the preparations for Plan B. Plan B. 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. Briga/Barbara was the 3rd person in the state of Vermont to experience Death with Dignity through this act. I personally felt honored & amazed to take part in such a Death. I found myself remembering Dr. Kevorkian and being thankful for his groundbreaking work in the field.
With our mission in front of us, we swarmed around like busy bees…preparing her room, ourselves and the medication. Barbara had already gone through all the legal procedures necessary to obtain the medication, which included psychological evaluation & the consent of her doctor. *It is important to know that this not an option granted without rigorous procedure on the medical & psychological level/ensuring that it is truly a good option for the patient. The medication is taken in 2 parts. The first medication is intended to settle the stomach and allows the patient to keep it down. Once the first medication is taken the 2nd needs to be taken 30 minutes later. As Briga prepared herself, we her Spiritual friends prepared the second medication. Gloved up, sitting in Sacred Space we emptied 90 capsules into Briga’s chalice. It was a deep, clear moment but by no means was it stagnant or without humor…for Briga was neither.
When the 2nd Medication was prepared Briga took the first. She then hugged each of us with a ferocity and depth that was meant to last a lifetime. We then began taking pictures…Pictures of us playing together, loving on Briga. I have to admit, the pictures were my idea. I have a thing for Death and this was not the first one I had captured in pictures. I have many pictures of my Father in the last hours of his life, as well one of him just after passing. Some may say this is odd…but why? Why are we so afraid to embrace that which happens to us all. The pictures with Briga were happy ones, filled with love and laughter. I cannot think of a better way to spend the last moments of ones life….surrounded by friends, laughing & creating sacred memories.
When 30 minutes had passed we moved into Briga’s bedroom.. It had been prepared as Sacred Space with candles, flowers and crystals placed intentionally around the room. She climbed into bed & we surrounded her snuggling up…her Brother on one side, her Druid teacher on the other, & her beloved dog, Little on her lap. The rest of us took up space around her on all sides. Prayers were spoken, songs were sang, love was given….and the potent elixir of Crossing was drank. As we held Briga in our hearts & sang to her; she crossed into Spirit.
10 minutes…10 minutes was all it took for her to slip through the Veil.
When she had crossed we her sacred family embraced & then took a few minutes for ourselves to process in our own ways. I sat on the couch outside of Briga’s room waiting for her communication. Within a few short moments she first spoke to me. “If I had known it would be that easy, I would have done it a long time ago.” She then immediately went onto tell me where the snacks were, and that I needed to put on water for coffee & tea. Even in her death she was still orchestrating the proceedings. I got food set up via Briga’s instruction and then sat in her living room for a bit looking at all her lovely bits, allowing her to share my sight. She directed my attention around the room to the things she loved most, telling me who had given them to her and the short stories of their being. This lasted only briefly for Briga’s body needed to be prepared.
Four women prepared Briga’s body with love & honor for the 3 day wake that would be held in her home. We washed her, oiled/anointed & dressed her (in the close she had laid out for us). This was a great honor as preparing the body of ones own Dead is one of the most important things we can do. When you love the person whose body we are preparing there is a magic and sacredness unlike anything else. My ability as a Medium was useful as it allowed Briga to be part of the ceremony. While her body was prepared others laid out her casket in the living room. It was a handcrafted pine box made for her lovingly by a friend. When her body was laid out in the casket, an honor guard was put in place to sit with her body for the duration of the wake. This was important to Briga, who wanted her body to be attended until it was brought to the crematorium. On the 3rd and final day of Wake, Briga was celebrated in an intimate service in her living room surrounded by friends and family. We gathered to celebrate and honor the courageous, fiery, Crone we so adored. When the days ceremony was complete her body was escorted to the crematorium (an hour away) by a cavalcade of Druids.
This Friday, July 31st during the Full Moon & the celebration of Lughnassa (first harvest) Briga will be celebrated in Druid Ceremony at Dreamland…she will get her ‘Big, Fat, Druid Funeral’. I have been asked by the Crone herself to attend in my role of Medium, allowing her to share in the revelry and pass messages with those she loves. I am truly honored to take this role & to share space with my dear friend, whom I love. Thank you for reading folks, please feel free to share.