in sensory awareness


Journeying with Charlotte through her Dying

Journeying with Charlotte as she lived her dying
In the 102nd year of her life
August 2003

Many years ago, Charlotte said something that stayed with me strongly. She commented that people so often spend time and energy in the beginning of things and in the middle of things, but they avoid the endings. She was saying that in living, we have to meet everything. She met the ending of her life and it was a gift to be able to accompany her along the way.

For so many years and on many different occasions, we expected Charlotte to die. And then somehow over the past thirty years she never did, and it seemed that maybe she wouldn't...that somehow Charlotte might make it out of this life, alive. And even though we were expecting her to die at any time over these past years, it is still a shock that she has actually died and moved on, on August 22, 2003.

The Last Trip to Barra de Navidad

This past January in Barra, we had another close encounter with dying with Charlotte.  There was a medical emergency.  Charlotte surprised everyone and lived through it.  I gave most of the classes in the first eight-day workshop…but in the second workshop, Charlotte was back and she gave six out of eight classes. She was still quite frail and weak, but she gave the classes. At the end of the two workshops, we held a farewell party, for the ending of the workshops. In everyone's hearts this was a farewell to Charlotte. It was very present with all of us including Charlotte. Charlotte was keenly awake and alert during the party as people shared what had touched them in the workshop.  Many people also shared a song or thought they wanted to offer. One person said his life was like one constant good bye.  Charlotte responded, "Good byes can be sad. But they can also be beautiful when one feels what one feels." It was a beautiful good bye.  And hopefully still is, as we all feel what we feel…whatever it is.  At the end of the many heartfelt offerings, Luis, Pat Baxter's husband sang a song that had almost all of us in tears. It is a song in Spanish, called "La Vida Sigue Igual" (Life Continues the Same) by Julio Iglesias. Luis sang with elegant simplicity and great heart. It was a fitting way to end the evening...

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