On December 4, 2015, I was making fried rice for dinner at the stove when I burst into tears. A wellspring of sorrow filled my chest suddenly and I had to let it out. It came out of the blue, and I had no idea why I was crying. I stopped stirring the rice, and let the sadness flow through me, sobbing for a few minutes.
On the next day, my father called and said Ong Noi, my grandfather, was not doing well. He had had a stroke, and likely would not last long. He was 104 years old. He could not speak, and they had given him morphine to make him more comfortable. He was in a nursing home in a suburb north of Boston. I was in Portland, Oregon. I wanted to fly to see him, but something inside me said it would be too late by the time I got there.
I was able to tune into his energy field at a distance and do energy work on him. I did a Healing Touch technique called the Chakra Spread, which opens a person's chakras widely in preparation for any type of transition, but it is often used on those who are dying. I remember spreading his fifth chakra (at the throat) and feeling such relief from him because it was blocked. The stroke had prevented him from talking, and must have felt so constraining for him.
We connected in spirit and I was able to say good-bye. He was his same loving, laughing self. It didn't seem like a big deal to him. He was ready. All I could see from him was golden light and all I could feel was love. In truth, I knew several months in advance he was ready to go. At random times in my day, like when I was brushing my teeth or driving to work, I'd hear his voice and he would say, "I'm getting ready to go."
He died peacefully the next day on December 5. For the first few days, I had a hard time connecting to his spirit. I sensed him drifting into the spirit world, and withdrawing to rest. He was very tired from this lifetime and wanted some time to re-orient to the spirit world. Then in a few days, I saw him walking about in the spirit world, laughing and greeting souls he knew, looking back at events in his life as if to study them. Now, he talks to me during my meditations, and offers me support in the moments when I am not feeling very strong.
My grandfather emigrated from Vietnam when he was 60 years old. He had a white goatee that he often stroked with one hand. The Boston winters were hard for him. He wore a down vest and hat around the house in all seasons except summer. We had old metal radiators for heaters in our hundred-year-old house, and even when the heat was on, it never felt satisfyingly warm. I remember how often he smiled and joked with me. He had been a consummate rice farmer in Vietnam, and transferred those skills to cultivating our backyard with furrows of mint and chives we sold to the markets in Chinatown. Our family used this money to help pay for college for me and my three siblings.
I remember him meditating every day in our attic space. There was a beautiful altar with a picture and statue of a Buddha, candles, and often marigolds from our garden. He carved two wooden cranes, about three feet tall each, that he placed on each side of the altar. Once, when my friend Tess was giving me a healing, I felt his presence. At the end of the healing, Tess said she say some blue herons in her mind during the healing. I told her it was my grandfather coming through.
What I remember most about my grandfather is the love, kindness, and humor he offered to me. Even though he is gone now, I still feel closely connected to him. There may be death of the physical body, but our spirits are eternal. For those of you who miss the ones you've lost, I suggest you start talking to them. You may hear an answer. It may not come as a voice. It could be the wind blowing on your face with the scent of lilac, or you see a license plate like LUV YOU. The spirits are focusing very hard to connect with you. Find some way to allow them in. Maybe you are most receptive while you are meditating, or when you are gardening. Allow some space in your being for this possibility and one day it will alight on your shoulder.