Celebration of Life
I’ve been celebrating Thanksgiving since Jason died, and it will always be Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for having had him in my life and I celebrate his life daily. He lives in his art that decorates our walls and his memorial website (www.plutonicfluf.com) , the music and silly recordings that fill my iphone and the CDs we are making, the funny home videos, the discovered poetry I continue to type up to be shared, the touching and entertaining messages from friends who talk to him on Facebook and DeviantArt, the messages and sensations he sends me to let me know he is still with me, the inspiration I get from my connection with him, the healing so many received from him, the new sweet energy of his favorite cat Annaper, and the simple things that are too numerous to describe, even his smell on his comforter I do not plan to wash.
Celebrating Jason’s life is celebrating my own.
Jason’s memorial service August 10 was a celebration of his life. When we celebrate life, we feel aliveness.
I saw endless radiant faces at the end of Jason’s ceremony, including my own. There were tears of sadness, mixed with the joy of having shared time on this earth with this awesome soul, and discovering more and more about what he gave to others and how he fit so much into his life before he passed. There was a tidal wave of inspiration, and as we swam in the disorientation, submerged in the unknown, we felt the unconditional love of our dear Jason and all the love we have shared reflected back to us. We danced to the drums of his soul’s rhythm, and sang “Love Is All There Is”, swaying in the collective consciousness. I will never forget the joy of sharing this with my friends and Jason’s friends together, both generations merged, as Jason and I were and are merged in spirit.
It was this consciousness that held me up through my sharing (the “Lighten Up” message) and the one-hour receiving line. It was like a mystical dream, hugged by so many loving people, many I haven’t seen in years and many of his friends I finally got to meet, who came out to celebrate Jason and support us. I don’t think I shed one tear in that timeless hour, and I treasured all of the stories people shared about Jason and how he touched their life and made them laugh and be in awe. I was in the moment, the way Jason has always taught me to be, enjoying each gift.
So many shared how this was the most beautiful ceremony they have ever experienced. Those not readily open to the “spiritual” scene shared how much they liked the slow trance-like Art of Living chanting of Om Namo Shivaya; high school students have since mentioned they would like to have this open a tribute evening to Jason’s music that they are planning. Others commented on how different this ceremony was, not the somber serious kind. Jason didn’t like religion because there was too much dogma for him, and he wouldn’t have chosen to go to church. But the church was an awesome place for this gathering, and he would have loved the modern stained glass windows. He definitely got a kick out of the sweat lodge that was unintentionally created when the AC didn’t function; it was a shamanic experience for all, and we survived!
The ceremony was created from love and attention to beauty, by our dear friends and those who Jason also knew and loved in life. Annika put her heart and soul into planning the ceremony, and it was perfect that she had recently been ordained minister so she could have this special role. The candle and rose petal rituals were powerful, and the space was created for magic. My brother Michael put his heart and soul into writing the eulogy that captured Jason perfectly and created awe in the room of celebration. Caren opened with her angelic voice and singing bowl; the high school students thought that was pretty awesome, too. My friend Michael shared his gift of Celtic song, and gave me the special pre-ceremony gift of doing soul song with me, that prepared me well for this special evening. My sister Mariana and niece Nicole prepared beautiful framed photos and collages of Jason’s life, with the help of my mom Blanca; this provided an enchanting hallway for the long receiving line. My brother Al came out from California, representing his wife Nancy and dear nieces Mia and Talia (who created the sweetest cards) to be there for whatever I needed, with his miles of errands, endless energy, and technical support for the slideshow. Ravi provided a great sound system; Jason was pleased at how his music sounded. My dear friend Marie-Ann, who told the story of how drumming tunes into the spirit, jumped on a plane from Texas with her children (and Jason’s “cousins”, having grown up together) Julia and Christopher, who contributed hours of electronic support and retrieval of photos for the ceremony, along with my nephew Jeremy (who inherited Jason’s drums to start using his natural talent!). It was so special to have Jason’s best friends sitting up front with the family and Jason’s godmother M.A., and hearing Gus and Noah share their amazingly articulated and heartfelt thoughts about Jason. The written sharings of all who attended are treasures, along with so many heartful cards and emails we received.
And of course the best part of the ceremony was the part Jason created – a slideshow of his photography and his music. I couldn’t help but rock my body to the beat of his WestWinds song – it felt so powerful, and it felt he was there rocking with me.
The reception couldn’t have happened without Kerry, Sarah, and others in the kitchen coordinating hundreds of potluck items (why potluck, some asked? It is more personal, receiving a piece of everyone’s hearts, and Jason and I love it that way.) The marimba playing by Jason’s talented percussion ensemble-mate Steve, and the drumming circle led by Jon, Lisa, and Ukumbwa lent the magical soundscape that Jason and I always thrived on. I am hearing piecemeal details of the ceremony, and all that my family and friends did to keep it running. There were so many people from far away that were there with us, and so many behind the scenes that did so much. Joan prepared the program and had it printed without me having to know any details – so much was manifested magically. All of my friends and family were in service, helping seat people, comforting the sad, being with me. I felt continually supported, and local friends like Charlene, Dianna, Bobbie, and Lakshmi were just there for me and Kule and Chuck. The healing we received from dear friends and powerful healers like Patrick, Bobbie, Gail, Marie-Ann, Liz, Nancy, and Tony revitalized me. The Avatar and Art of Living practices that Kule and I do have been incredibly supportive. The nurturing we received with massage (thanks especially to Jenny!) and the abundance of food that was brought to us during that challenging time is indescribable. So many thanks to all who supported us in so many ways. I could spend another page acknowledging individuals, and I know you know how grateful I am.
Spreading Jason’s ashes in Hull with Erin’s ashes with her family, in “Jason’s cove” in Gloucester with Chuck’s and my family, and in “Jason’s swimhole” in NH with Kule and “auntie” Christine were all incredibly powerful rituals in celebrating his life, returning him to the earth and water that he enjoyed so much in his time here. I’ve written about these rituals in the Messages, and the photos capture the magic.
I will never forget the bonding that Chuck, Kule, and I have had since we got the news at the hospital. It’s an incredible blessing to have a life partner who cares about my ex-husband Chuck the way I do. Chuck helped to manifest Jason, who always wanted his parents to be happy, and accepted his parents’ partners as extended family. I am so grateful to all three of them.
We are all family. A toast to all of us at Thanksgiving as we share life’s harvest.