By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
“I know of a cure for everything: salt water…in one way or the other. Sweat, or tears, or the salt sea.” –Karen Blixen
In the quiet of the night, all the sounds, the howling of dogs, car wheels on slow pace, muffled air-conditioning and sounds too low to be heard to have perceptible significance, all constitute an eerie silence that combines both pain, realization and anticipation. The dawn stirs these conditions together that I tend to believe they are inseparable and one. It is at this time when one is given the chance to decide: stay inert or explore possibilities. To anticipate, to risk something, to step to the great beyond, into the void. It takes courage to get into unknown territory, where others hope to see a new world rising, exploring ways to exist, or being transformed into an atom, transporting itself into a new womb, or splitting itself to make a bomb.
No one had seen the afterlife and came back to tell us, except a few like Anita Moorjani (born Anita Shamdasani, the best-selling author of the book Dying to be Me. Anita suffered cancer for almost four years, and in 2006, her organs failed and she slipped into a deep coma. She was in coma for 30 hours and under this state, during what is often referred to as a Near Death Experience (NDE), she claimed to have crossed into the afterlife declaring that she “had been greeted by her deceased father and deceased best friend, who had told her that it was not her time to die.”
I recalled a similar story from my grandfather, Ama Ilot, an herbalist, who was pronounced dead at 50, but came back to life. According to his story, while people gathered for his wake, he tried to cross over two mountains closing, like two panels in a door, every time he attempts to step to the other side. After trying many times, he heard a voice, “It’s not your time, go back and resume healing.” It was then that he asked for water from mourners who were horrified, and scampered in all directions. He was lucky he was not embalmed, otherwise, he could have occupied another body. He lived till he was 92.
For many of us who lost a loved one, we nurture the hope that we will all meet them someday. I believe we will meet them in another form, in their basic element, and we will be reunited in this new state, and recognize them instantly, like atoms that share electrons between them, “locked together (bonded) by that sharing”. My teachers always said that energy cannot be created or destroyed and that the total amount of energy in the universe is constant. It only changes form.
Faith in being reunited with loved ones make transitions bearable. Heaven, existent or not, whether here on earth or in a real place in space, becomes visible. And why not? Call it by any other name, but it exists. In the way we imagine it. Napoleon Hill believes that if the mind can conceive it, then man can achieve it. That should be enough reason to rejoice.
For now, let me grieve for the passing of two friends: Al Fernandez and Mirasol Reyes. Two lives lived to the full. Lives lived with passion and laughter. Friends who laughed at their own folly and exchanged wit and humor even with those who did not know the difference. Friends who cared a lot about friends and about their communities. Friends who were light, lighter than air, lighter than light. Of the two, Al is the lighter, because he always carried one in his pocket.
let me cuddle in your arms
and sleep in your memory
I’ll make you, a story
make art of my misery
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