When I look back on this time I will remember much more than the loss. I will remember the gifts I was given. The gifts of kindness. I have been so amazed and strengthened by the outpouring of support. All of the calls, email, comments and cards. The people who have sent us prayers and thoughts.
At Tom's service Thursday some of my friends from the teen center I used to work at showed up. And not only that, they brought the Cambodian Buddhist monks I asked for. The Buddhist prayer must have been ten minutes long and was so melodic and comforting. I really wanted Tom's ashes to be purified. Now when we spread them in the river in his home in PA, a mountain here in NE and Denali Park in Alaska they will purify all whom they touch. Tom was not a religious person but we read about Buddhism when we were together and he had been very interested in the various principles. I think it would make him happy to be free. To not be bound by earth but returned to an energy source. Afterwards I spoke on behalf of his family, his girlfriend and our son. And I shared two pieces.
Make yourself a light. Rely upon yourself: do not depend on anyone else. Make my teachings your light My disciples, my last moment has come, but do not forget that death is only the end of the physical body. The body was born from parents and was nourished by food; just as inevitable are sickness and death. But the true Buddha is not a human body: -it is Enlightenment. A human body must die, but the Wisdom of Enlightenment will exist forever in truth and in practice .
The second one is something we can all do.
In the days and weeks following the death especially for the first 49 days one can help the dead person's mind/spirit by avoiding harming others, generating love and compassion, doing kind actions, making charity and specific prayers and practices that their spiritual teachers recommend and dedicating this positive energy to the mind/spirit of the deceased, wishing only peace and happiness for them and rebirth in the presence of their God or Buddha.