He Left The Earth Party Early
My youngest brother passed away on June 5th, 2010, after a year long bout with cancer. He was only 50. It is said by some that we have full view of our entire life before coming into this physical world. I’m not sure why someone would opt for a short life. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I’m going to miss him.
He was a slender, red-headed jeweler, with a shop full of gold and diamonds. He seemed to love working with jewelry and worked long and diligently to be able to open his own retail shop.
After word came that he had passed, my husband and I sat still and just looked at each other. There’s not much to say when someone leaves.
They are gone, and it’s sad.
However, almost instantly, the sadness lifted.
“How strange is that?” I thought.
All the worry and anguish and heart ache surrounding his departure just got up and left — suddenly! What a surprise! Never had I expected to feel instant, well — happiness — upon his passing.
It felt a little strange.
This feeling of elation in the middle of all the sadness was so striking to me that I wondered if I was tuning into him. If so, he was surely in a happier and more expanded state!
You should know before I go any further that for most of my life, my brother and I struggled to relate. We didn’t agree on much, and locating common ground for a conversation was a bit challenging, even awkward. As the years passed, we’d simply avoid conversations about a subject that was even remotely controversial.
It was just easier that way. We could always talk about the weather, so to speak.
In the last year of his life, when he was ill, we found two subjects we could always talk about: Singing and Sunsets. I used to record little mp3’s for him and send them to him. He seemed to appreciate them. Once I recorded “Bridge Over Troubled Water” for him, and other times I sent improvisational pieces that were prayerful, meditative and reassuring.
One evening when he was in pain and seemed to be wondering about how everything was going to turn out for him, he called me and said, “Tell me about the sky tonight where you are. Is it beautiful?”
So I went outside and sat on the well and told him that earlier that evening, we had set up the high powered telescope to look at the four largest moons of Jupiter. It happened to be a spectacularly crystal clear sky, and all the stars were especially beautiful that evening. My brother and I talked for a long time.
So after his passing, I headed down stairs in my home to a room where nobody was, just a nice big open space, and I started to sing. Not a song, not a melody, just long notes of sound to soothe my soul. I let the sound take me wherever it wanted to go. Singing like this is a way to center myself, let go, and express whatever is there.
It felt like a good thing to do at a time like this…
So there I was, getting warmed up for a good and expressive singing lesson, and I swear on a stack of Bibles — my brother was a man of faith– that he appeared in front of me, happy as can be, and began to playfully direct my singing.
This was out of character for him. In life, he was much more serious than that, much more reserved.
After wondering for a moment if I was just crazy, or if I had an over-active imagination in this time of stress, I just went with it. I began to follow his conducting.
With a big smile, his right arm shot up in the air and I’d sing that note. Then he’d waver that hand a bit and I’d do a trill. I followed every nuance. I’d waffle the sound to go right along with his indication, he’d smile and then swoop to the next note. Then he’d change sides, go high, go low, go medium, and it all sounded beautiful to me. Part of the time I was laughing so hard I could hardly sing.
Then there was the crying….
I was so touched that he would visit me.
He was joyful and utterly, completely free — fully liberated and totally expressive, without a concern in the world. And he also looked really attractive and young and happy, just like any guy who is being fully himself does.
I was beside myself with joy and gratitude. It felt heavenly to be with him in this way, and I admit that I always wanted him to be more open and light-hearted when he was alive. Now, in this moment, I was just grateful that I got to experience him in this happy place…
I don’t know how long this went on, probably 20 minutes or so, but I’m just guessing, because there was no sense of time anymore.
I sat for a while, reveling in the experience.
Then I walked upstairs and while preparing dinner, I noticed the sunset was beginning to be especially beautiful. Inspiring sunsets are a regular occurrence here and we look forward to them every evening.
But it got crazy beautiful!
With every bite of dinner, the colors of the sunset became increasingly spectacular, and they kept changing — radically and in no small way. We’d take a bite of food, and stop midway with fork poised, and exclaim about the stunning sight before us.
“Wow, look at that!”
“Whoa, who thought it could get even more beautiful! But it just did!”
We started to laugh and decided it was Calvin saying hello in another way that I would understand. Who knows if that could be possibly true… but it sure is fun to think about it that way!
We’d eat another bite or two and then stop to take another photo of Calvin having a little fun in the sky. It seemed as if he kept changing his mind about what to paint — oh, let’s try THIS!!! OOOO- what if we added a little salmon across the middle…..
And I haven’t heard from him since. That fantastic sunset was his final bow apparently.
And it was a stunning one.
Goodbye, dear brother.