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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. July's Theme: "Risibility"
Volume 9 Issue 5 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Taking Life and Death Lightly
by Julie Hoyle

From 1989 until 1998, I worked with a woman I admired enormously. An attractive and imposing figure at six foot one, Maggie Berry was my supervisor, artistic mentor and friend. Labouring together at a government high school in New Providence, the tiny capital island of the Bahamas, we taught visual arts in mind-bending conditions, which included sweltering under a tin roof, in heat and humidity so dense we could swim in it.

Despite the challenges, we laughed at everything. We laughed when the roaches ate through the paper. We laughed when we discovered a foam mattress and empty beer bottles tucked behind display boards at the back of the classroom, no doubt being used by the school security guard on his night shift. We laughed when the plumber switched the water off to repair a broken pipe, could not fix it, yet turned the water back on before clocking off, resulting in us having to wade through the lake that had formed the following morning.

Over the years, we laughed at everything and it was a good job we did. At the close of one sickly hot semester, Maggie went for a mammogram and was given the grim news that there was a malignant lump the size of an egg in her left breast.

Dealing with this in the same positive manner she had dealt with everything, Maggie immediately flew to the UK for radiation treatment. Her husband Tony went with her. Since he had been suffering from digestive problems, he decided to have tests done while at the hospital. The results were sobering. He was told, "You have stomach cancer which has spread to the bowel and surrounding organs. There is nothing we can do."

After more 'second opinions' detailing the same prognosis, Maggie and Tony came back to New Providence with renewed determination. Looking their conditions square in the face, they decided to live with as much enthusiasm as they could muster. No matter how long they had together they made a conscious choice not to allow cancer to rob them of their ability to live with joyful abandon.

Maggie would go to the hospital for chemotherapy in the morning and be back at work by noon. She figured that since she was not suffering from nausea and she felt pretty good, she would spend time with her students rather than moping around at home.

When she lost her hair, Maggie bought a short, chestnut-red wig with the intention of choosing a colour and style she had always wanted. In her dark moments Maggie and I delved into spiritual matters, with her inviting me to share my experiences of visitations from loved ones who had made their transition. Maggie's openness and self-inquiry also helped Tony. When the disease began taking hold, he boldly told me, "If the 'life after death' malarkey really works, you had better watch out. Cos, you know as a tell-it-like-it-is Texan I won't be whispering in your ear, I'll be waking you up with a loud howdy!!"

With Tony's fiftieth birthday fast approaching, a huge party was planned. Sixty or more guests were invited and we laughed in delight at the painting Maggie had done of Tony. She had painted Tony's face onto the body of Sylvester Stallone as Rambo, all beefed up, rippling with muscle and ready to fight everyone and everything that crossed his path.

Tony then tore open another gift, pulling out a contraption with a note attached that read, 'INTER-WORLD COMMUNICATOR.'

Putting it on, we doubled over in laughter at the cardboard box strapped to a backpack and decorated with angels, ghostly figures and strange words that read, "Whooooooooo," "I am here, can you see me?" and "Yes it's me, I've come back to haunt you!"

Attached to the box was a wide rubber hose with a mouthpiece and looping over his head were wires and straps that had eye goggles, a large horn, several bells, whistles and a small chalkboard for writing and receiving messages.

For much of the evening, Tony stomped around the party blowing the horn and ringing the bells telling everyone, "When I die, if you hear this, 'honk, honk' or this, 'ring, ring,' you will know it's me!!"

True to his word a few weeks after Tony died, I had a lucid dream in which I found myself floating above a gathering of people at a dinner party. Maggie was there and everyone was reminiscing and crying.

As I looked down, Tony appeared at my side and said, "Listen to them! They are talking about me and getting upset. Hey guys, I'm still here! I haven't gone anywhere!" With frustration he urged, "Tell them I'm still around and tell Maggie she needs to get the front door fixed!" With that he disappeared and I was rapidly pulled back to waking.

At work the next morning, I described what had transpired, detailing to Maggie who was at the party and what I had heard them saying. Maggie's face turned white and she confided, "Oh my God! Yes, those people were there. We had dinner and then shared stories about Tony. That is exactly what they said! And the door! Tony had wanted to fix it before he died and wasn't able to. He was concerned for my safety. I have been meaning to call a locksmith and haven't. This is amazing. I'll get the door done immediately!"

Tony continued to visit and pass on detailed messages and these validations served Maggie well. When it was discovered that the cancer was back and had spread to her bones and brain with no hope of cure, she prepared herself as thoroughly as she could.

When she was up to it, Maggie also welcomed and relished visitors, inviting them to make tea and join her in the joy, richness and appreciation of recapitulation. In this way, we happily took turns sitting by her bedside laughing our heads off, sharing stories that even in the re-telling sounded unbelievable had we not experienced them firsthand….

Julie is a natural intuitive, writer, artist and transpersonal hypnotherapist who lives on Grand Bahama Island. Her profound spiritual awakening and the unfolding of unity consciousness is detailed in her book, 'An Awakened Life - A Journey of Transformation'. To claim a free copy and for information about online courses, soul purpose readings and energy retrieval go to: www.truealignment.org

You can also connect with Julie via:

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