Monday, February 4, 2013

The Soul Knows...

On my way to a Super Bowl party at a friend's farm, I came across a flock of geese resting in a frozen corn field burrowed in between the withered stalks still forming rows.  I stopped to appreciate their majestic beauty and count them.  By the time I got to 67, they were beginning to stand and get restless feeling the disturbance of my presence so I drove on with a smile on my face and in my heart.

I love geese! and drink in their good medicine whenever I see them.  It wasn't always like this.  I used to view them as wretched creatures who crapped all over the running paths and from time to time threatened my fellow runners by coming after them when they got too close to their nests.

6 months before my husband, John died we were driving to dinner when we saw a dead goose in the middle of the road and another goose on the side of the road.   This broke my heart and I felt myself weeping and John got choked up too.  Scanning the scene in slow motion:  one minute, my eyes were on the dead goose and I felt the tragedy of that; and the next minute, I saw the goose on the side of the road mourning, waiting for the other and I felt its longing.  Shocked by my observation, I said to John needing confirmation:  It is as if the goose on the side of the road is mourning the dead goose.  With tears in his throat, he explained to me that geese are mates for life so the goose on the side of the road was in fact mourning the mate.  Having a complete meltdown sobbing with every fiber of my being, I asked:  What will happen to the one left behind?  John said tearfully but with reassurance:  It will be okay - the flock will come and take it away.

By the time we arrived at dinner, we were exhausted from the depth of this surprising experience that was so beyond explanation.  John wasn't prone to crying out of the blue and to feel grief to this degree over the death of an animal in the road was not common for me.   Our tears turned into a belly laugh as we sat in the parking lot of the restaurant drying our eyes and asking each other: What the hell just happened?

That event was our souls' knowing that we soon would part.  Mates for life, I would find myself standing on the side of the road alone, mourning John, waiting for him and longing for our adventure to continue.  The flock would come and take me away, leading the way to the next destination, holding me with great love and standing by me through it all.

At the one year anniversary of John's death, I held a ceremony in a memory garden that I had created.  The flock, friends and family gathered as we opened with John's favorite song:  Amazing Grace, Aaron Neville's live! version that would melt the hardest of hearts.  I began to tell the story of the geese and prayed for the words to explain the power of that event in our lives.  As I opened my mouth, 3 honking geese flew right over our heads, much lower than usual.  We all were flooded with chills and wept as we felt John's undeniable presence in the form of these geese.  And the fact that there were "3", not an even number as if they were still mates was a symbol that my life had gone on and will continue to go on.  In numerology, the number "3" is the vibration of playfulness, spreading joy, creative expression and light heartedness which captures the essence of John.

The geese experience is one of many stories that led me to believe that the soul knows when it will leave this earth and it is grace that keeps the veil over our consciousness.  The day before John's death, he went to Walmart as he did every Tuesday to buy dvd's as that is the day of new releases and he loved movies.  And he labeled the 20 keys on the houseboat and placed them into a ziplock bag writing on the outside:  Gee, spare keys xoxo (Gee was his nickname for me).

On December 13, 2008, almost 2 years before he died, John was awakened in the middle of the night by a poem that came to him that he just had to write down for me: 
When all the years have gone,
When all the smiles have faded,
When our hands tremble to touch,
When our steps shuffle,
We will still love each other.

When we look into each other's eyes,
When the last moments are gone,
When we embrace again,
When we say, "Sweet Dreams,"
We will still love each other.

When we awake each day together,
When the years fade to moments,
When our souls share this life,
When we are sad, we smile,
We will still love each other.

When we begin to say, "I do,"
When our journey is over,
When our next journey begins,
When we say our first, "I love you,"
We will still love each other.

To Gee, My Heart!
I love you, John

John had never had an experience like this and just had to wake me up to share it with me.  Normally, I would have balked at him waking me up in the middle of the night, but I sensed his compelling need to give me this gift so I sat up and drank in every word.  We wept over the beauty and the poetic description of our eternal dance.

I will continue to count geese in flight and delight whenever I see them as I am out and about living my life, flying with various flocks on my adventure.  We don't have control over how or when we die, but we do get to choose how we live every single day.  The soul knows this too.

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