A week ago I met Tom Jones in my gallery. He must be about eighty years old and seems to be in excellent shape. Tom is part of the Sister Cities - Connection between Asheville, North Carolina and San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Once retired he dedicated himself to bringing freshwater to communities in the Third World, wherever Asheville got connected with other cities.
For a while I was part of the Sister - Cities Movement and once even went to represent San Cristobal in Asheville, which is an absolutely wonderful city, filled with artists and other interesting people. If I had to live in the US, Asheville would probably be my place of choice.
Last time I met Tom, he came with his wife, Kathy. They had by then moved to live in Valladolid, Yucatan. Kathy was a gifted beading artist and together with another friend, who was a textile artist, she gave a workshop in my gallery. That must have been before I went to Namibia, which means it must have been 6 years ago.
Last week Tom came alone. Before I could ask for Kathy he explained," Kathy fell sick with Alzheimer´s Disease, for 2 years I tried what I could to take care of her, but when it got just too much for me I brought her back to the US. There she lives in a facility now. Her friend the textile artist fell sick with cancer and has long died."
We chatted for a while, but I was shocked inside myself about this quite ordinary proof of impermanence.
In November 2011 I had this vivid dream of my grandpa telling me that I would die. It seems to have been the most realistic dream I have ever had. I was panicky and then gave myself over to whatever would happen; I saw no way to fight my destiny. Until now I am still alive.
The day after that dream I met G., who told me about spirits entering her body since she was a little child, how she learnt to protect herself from that, how she keeps seeing spirits in the old churches and houses of town, how she once clinically died and went into The Light and that changed her life. Soon after that I met two more women, who told me of very similar experiences. Two became people, who now accompany the dying.
Rose Mary wrote me about her similar experience when she clinically died while they operated on her brain tumor. She swam in a soup of love.
Shoshanna, whom I met later in 2012, also accompanied dying people for many years. After she had sat with the first patient to his death, she met him on a jogging tour a few days later. She did not know what to say or think about that and she still does not. He just conveys to her that she should not worry, he was fine. That was decades ago and never again has she had a similar experience.
Shoshanna had barely shared this with me when I met Flora, a nurse from Korea, who also for a long time accompanied dying people. Now she meditates on light and paints. She also claims to be able to live for weeks in a row without eating or even drinking.
Many people I knew have died during the last year, even my daughter - in - law. She hung herself yesterday a month ago and it seems that she has been dead for a longer time, we all have gotten used to being without her. Kathy is losing herself before physically dying, her friend has long disappeared. Others see the tunnel and the light and return to us to tell the tale. More others never have the experience and nothing to tell us. Meanwhile the weather is too hot or very cold, grandchildren grow, you have this or that problem or conflict or illness, you manage to resolve this or that, get cured and one day you succumb to Death...
Meanwhile some make money and/or get famous and others – like Tom - bring freshwater to people, who live without it or teach teachers or think about nutrition or recycling. Meanwhile you and I do whatever we do and hope to find some solace, some peace, and some happiness TODAY....
Art by Kiki ( "There Is An Angel, Who Takes Care Of The Time Of Our Lives")