Daily Ritual: Not Just for Dying Anymore

Our Personal Journeys Intertwined

As many of you know, for almost three weeks of my life, I sat in daily prayer and ceremony with my grandfather. Because of the timing in my life, I thought it was a test of my discipline.

I had been so weak emotionally and physically for about 7 months, could I stay with my grandfather for days on end? From 900 miles away, could I sit for and with him- with no expectations, no feedback?

Could I feel the difference between a living state vs. (what we call) a death state? And if I could, would it mean I arrived at a new level of something? And if so, what level and what something?

Learning to Just Listen

Busy mind aside, I let these questions simmer in the background while I tended to the task at hand. I told myself it was simple. Connect to grandpa, be with grandpa, assist grandpa. And with that focus  I found myself drawn to the altar at my fireplace every day. And without hesitation I sat in ceremony waiting for his indication of readiness to pass.

I didn’t really know what to do for him. I had been doing my own routine of mindfulness and meditation, but this was different.This task asked me to be a death doula of some sort. The responsibility weighed heavy on me. I wanted to do the right thing.

I didn’t have to worry, though. The right thing happened as I relaxed into each moment. I found it easy to stay calm and present. I treated my time with my grandfather as a long client session. I used my ability to focus and listen to the client. And as a sanity check, I connected with my grandfather a few times through the help of a medium since I couldn’t “see” the effects of my work.

Heading Home

And when it was all said and done, Grandpa made his transition. I performed another four days of ritual to honor his physical body. And after that ritual, I made my way back into my daily routine.

All the questions I had at the beginning of the process seemed to be of no importance to me anymore. I knew what I knew:

  • his death changed my life
  • he and I were connected, (this brings tears to my eyes)
  • I was given powerful gifts in each daily ritual
  •  I had to get to Mexico, I had to connect with the part of me that was coming to life.

I’ll write about Mexico at another time. For now, I will leave you with the words of my grandfather.

He said, (after he passed), “You have much to remember about the power of ceremony.”

And that is how I know that ceremony and daily ritual are not just for dying (anymore).

5 Powerful Truths about Death

Looking Forward to his Birthday

On October 13, 2014 I joined my family (from afar) in honoring my GrandFather, Memo, who passed from this physical world.  I had no idea he was about to give me a powerful gift as I traveled home to El Paso at the end of September. When I heard he had only about two weeks to live I knew I had to go to him…and fast. And while I knew there wasn’t much for me to do, being with him in the early stages of transition was time I will cherish for the rest of my life. His death has changed the course of my life forever.

I arrived in El Paso on a Thursday afternoon and after a short ride from the airport, I found my grandfather sleepy and in a lot of physical pain. He seemed to perk up a bit when he saw me – and for a few moments I saw him as I always knew him – filled with life and love.

I spent almost three days with him. In those three days I sat with him and talked to him. I held his hands for brief moments. I laughed. I sent him psychic messages and healing energy. But mostly, as there was nothing I could do for him, I simply witnessed his painful transition from a state of sickness to dying.

He was mostly quiet and very graceful. I felt so helpless. I offered him love and positive energy from the seat beside him and I told him over and over in my mind, “I love you.” He kept me laughing as he complained about not being able to do yard work and other chores. Always a hard worker, I can only imagine how hard it was for him to sit day in and day out just waiting to die.

One day I couldn’t bare his pain and, against my mind’s better judgment, (since I’ve always been the odd ball in my family) I did energy work on him. He seemed to feel a bit better and I enjoyed his feisty spirit for the rest of the evening. He made me laugh and I really enjoyed hearing his life stories for the upteenth time. Before I left his side to return home, I told him I loved him and that he was the best grandfather. He said, “I love you, too.” and “yeah.”

Distance Healing

Once home, I was directed to create an altar for him.  His altar was equipped with his favorite things: honey, Werthers candies, and whiskey and I added magnolia flowers, yellow roses and candles. And from that day forward, I sat in ceremony with him every day, up to two or 3 times a day until he passed.

Once he passed, he asked me (through a medium) to continue sitting in ceremony with his physical body for four more days. It was important to tend to it as a scared animal or plant in addition to honoring his 4 incarnations. Not knowing what to do for the body, I promised to sit in ceremony for four more days. He thanked me for my work up until his transition and told me I really helped him. Later I learned my daily sits with him were helping him release the energetic cords as he transitioned.

This was the first time I sat with a dying person from afar. And while it was nothing I knew how to do, somehow my connection or contract with my grandfather led me to do work that I can only describe or understand as miraculous.

How we Heal Ourselves Through Helping Others

The experience has been life changing for me. For years I used my skills to help people heal – but never to ease someone through the death process. What I learned from ceremony:

  • we have a sacred, intuitive self
  • the power of intention serves us well at death
  • how to live in sacred ceremony – every day
  • distance is not an obstacle, we are truly connected at multiple levels, and 
  • love is power.
This ceremony was done the day before he passed. I felt it was time to do a big clearing on his body.
This ceremony was done the day before he passed. I felt it was time to do a big clearing on his body.

What a gift and what an honor to help this warrior during his transition to the other side.

I offer him great gratitude and much love from my heart today as I write this in memory of him. Thank you, GrandFather, for your wisdom, courage and strength. You were strong like the mountains and I still feel your quiet strength with me now.