Bea (Beatrice) was sometimes my Sunday school teacher when I was young (though most of the time it was her husband who tried to manage us). She was much later my colleague in education. She was always a shiny person, but her radiant glow began to shine profoundly when she chose to go into Special Education for behaviorally disordered elementary kids.
She entered the field at a late age, somewhere in her fifties, as part of her midlife crisis in which she left her husband and church. She got into saving the kids and they got into loving her as much as she loved them. Her class, out of respect for her, was just about the best behaved in the school (the B.D. unit was integrated into the regular school that I taught at). There was a palpable love in her classroom.
Bea and her partner bought season tickets for themselves and two students at a time (as reward for outstanding behavior) for the Jazz games. The players would meet them and give them shoes and stuff. She had basketball shoes worn and signed by Karl Malone in her classroom.
Bea got sick with cancer in her glands near the hip. She lived as much as she could, going on trips etc. But when it came time to die, she was afraid. When she left the Mormon Church out of a crisis of belief, her whole family disowned her, but she had many good teacher-friends who spend many hours at her bedside. I was one of them.
She wouldn’t allow somber pity or any negative ki in her room, instead insisting on an upbeat, joking, laughing crowd (there were always three or four people with her). Hospital staff said they loved to be in that room and would make excuses to go there on “official” duties.
Well, of course, I was the class clown and I made her laugh constantly. There were times near the end, when, even in deep coma, she would laugh at my foolishness.
She knew of my martial training in Aikido and had taken enough classes herself to know of its curative powers, so during the fearful days while she was still awake and aware she would have me constantly give her Kiatsu into her feet (one of her feet was a phantom foot since they had cut off her leg at the hip).
We talked about her fear and I told her about “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” which I had just read. Being a born-again atheist, the notions of reincarnation and conscious death were a great comfort to her.
One day she asked me to take the role of Lama and to coach her through her leaving. I was only thirty or so at the time, but I knew of the power of positive ki so I agreed on one condition. That condition was that she would go through me on the way out.
I didn’t delude myself (and still don’t) with being a holy man capable of magic, but I had studied enough Tai Chi, Aikido, psychology, shamanism, hypnosis etc. to know that as long as she believed in ki power then miracles were inevitable.
The day of her death came and the room wasn’t cheerful anymore.
I had since ceased to need oral language to talk to her. I stood as much as I could and sent ki into here feet to her head.
I was feeling very congested, bent over like I had stomach trouble at her “moment” and told my friends in the room that she was having a hard time getting out.
I coached her but when she reached the light it was her best friend who told her it was ok to go.
All at once my body opened completely. I threw back my arms and arched my chest upward and Bea’s essence shot through me. What went through me was best described as love (although I don’t think that word is adequate). In a state of ecstacy I told everyone that she had left. Nobody heard me.
For some stupid reason I was surprised that everybody else wasn’t in rapture.