Choose to see death as simply removing a garment or moving from one room to another…it’s merely a transition. Wayne Dyer
I mentioned in my last post “I start a business continued” that in 2009 my father died…I’m going to elaborate a little more on that experience here.
In May 2009 my father died or should I say he transitioned.
The phone call came about 8 am that Sunday morning. I was met by my brother who lives in the US’s agitated voice on the other end of the line and honestly, I had no idea of what he was about to tell me.
“Where were you yesterday Jacq? I was trying to call you all day!” He said, sounding upset.
“I was out!” I replied. “I went to a friends birthday party—what’s the problem?” I asked, returning his impatience.
“I’ve got some bad news to tell you,” My brother said, softening his tone.
Even though I knew my dad was ill… he had been suffering from heart and prostate difficulties for a few years. It was beyond me to think about him dying. The death of a close relative wasn’t something I’ve had to deal with before so…somehow the possibility of my dad’s death was the furthest thing from my mind.
“Jacq, the old man passed away yesterday” my brother announced clearly controlling his tone.
As my brother’s words registered in my brain, in an almost automatic response, my eyes filled with tears. The fat drops silently wetted my cheeks then ran down my neck.
I was both shocked and surprised—there’s such finality about death isn’t there?
I sat quietly for a moment trying to make sense of what my brother just told me. Then my mind took me back to the last time I spoke to my dad…it was maybe a month since. I remember his voice had been quite thin and raspy… almost a whisper really, but we had laughed and joked so there was no reason for me to think he wouldn’t recover.
But a couple of weeks later when I called the house again, I was quite disappointed to not speak to him. My step-mum had said something about being in a hurry because she had left my dad in the bathroom and had to check on him.
I remember those words not sitting right with me. If my dad was ok why couldn’t she leave him in the bathroom? I felt a fleeting sense of worry about the state of dad’s health after that call, but the feeling hadn’t lasted very long….
My brother’s voice brought me back to the present moment.
“We’ll have to all get together to talk about the funeral arrangements,” he said. “Speak to Aurelia (My sister) to see what the plan will be. Of course, the two of us will have to fly back for the funeral Jacq”
We ended our conversation and I gently replaced the receiver.
I sat in bed thinking—thinking about booking a flight home, about what my role in the arrangements would be and about what the funeral day would look like.
My sadness overwhelmed me and I started crying again.
Suddenly I had a thought—for the four years I’d lived in Shanghai, I had been trying to get my dad to visit me. The problem was, dad had a lifelong fear of flying, so the thought of the 12-hour flight from London to Shanghai was way too frightening for him…So he never came.
Now as I sat in bed thinking… I knew the limitations and fears my dad had in his waking life wouldn’t apply, now he was in spirit.
So I jokingly said out loud “Dad now you’re not in your body anymore you can come to see me in Shanghai can’t you?”
It may sound strange to some of you reading this, but it was as if my dad heard me because in that instant I felt the energy around me move…and in my mind’s eye, I saw my dad—literally flying through the air on his way to Shanghai…well, that’s the best way to describe it.
A moment later he arrived and gently sat at the end of my bed.
I couldn’t see him with my physical eyes, but I could perceive him with what you can call my 6th sense or third eye.
My dad sat there calmly smiling at me. His face looked exactly as he did when he was alive and he was dressed as he always was in his waking life…in a 3-piece pinstriped suit with a white shirt and tie.
He looked smart, healthy and happy not at all like a spirit!
It’s funny thinking back to that time, because it didn’t feel strange or weird to have my dad’s spirit sitting there with me, on the contrary—it felt perfectly natural.
I had no fear at all
But in truth this was not my first encounter with spirit, I had had previous experiences in the past…. maybe I’ll share more about those experiences with you all in future posts…
But for now…coming back to this post
I sat in bed smiling back at my dad…there was a definite shyness about him—almost as if it felt strange for him to be there with me…he emanated so much warmth and love.
I spoke out loud, telling him my plans for the day…. I was scheduled to meet some friends for brunch…. would it be a better idea to cancel it? I said wondering to myself.
“No, don’t cancel it,” said my dad. “ Go out and have fun,” He added
That was settled then. I got showered and dressed and went to meet my friends in Taikang Lu.
During the whole brunch, I didn’t say a word about my dad’s death. It somehow felt strange that I should be out laughing and joking with friends knowing my dad had just died, so I simply kept quiet.
The next morning, as I dressed for work I wondered if my dad was still with me, so I asked out loud “Dad are you still here?
Suddenly there was a crash so loud in my kitchen I thought someone had slammed all my pots and pans on the floor. The noise was both alarming and scary.
“What the hell…?” I said running into my kitchen.
When I got there, I saw everything was just as I had left it the night before, perfectly clean and tidy.
I immediately understood it was my dad that had caused the ruckus, so looking up to the ceiling and laughing, I said
“Hahahaha…Ok dad, so you are still here!”
I finished getting dressed and left for work with my dad in tow.
The 20-minute walk to work was more interesting than usual that morning. I lived in Hongkou, one of the last districts in Shanghai to undergo the massive citywide re-development. In 2009, Hongkou was still very much a local district with many dilapidated small businesses and restaurants, owned and run by the local people who lived there.
The neighbourhood had a ramshackle charm that was reminiscent of the way life used to be lived in the days of old Shanghai.
From the fresh spring days to the sultry summer nights, life was lived outdoors.
The pavements and streets bustled with people living out their daily lives in perfect symbiosis with one another. Barbers set up their cutting shops on the street—cutting people’s hair or giving them clean shaves. Seamstresses with their antique Singer sewing machines sewed or altered clothes on the pavements. Children and adults alike took their baths in large plastic basins, while others brushed their teeth in their y-fronts…all on the street—There was literally nothing that couldn’t be done outside and of course, all sorts of things were bought, sold or exchanged.
This really was street life in its rawness and I loved the energy and community vibe it had.
And although I had walked the same route to and from work for the last 5 months, still, day after day I managed to caused a stir. Every day the same people would come running out of their houses or call their neighbours to come out to see me walk past.
I felt a mixture of seeing the funny side and of being totally tired of being a constant object of curiosity.
But on this morning I walked confidently not caring who was staring at me because I had my dad walking beside me. Speaking to him through my mind, I explained the culture to him—my dad was fascinated by how much it all reminded him of life in Ghana.
As we passed people staring, I would tell my dad what they were about to do…then we would both laugh when they did exactly as predicted.
When we got to my office I heard my dad say “Wow Jacq” Then he marched straight to big window at the far end of my office and stood looking out at the fury of activity happening below.
My office was in an old warehouse building, with many other creative businesses. I had an industrial style; light, bright, airy office with exposed ceilings on the 4th floor.
Our building was in the middle of a stationary market famous for selling everything you can think of for the office. It was amazing, incredibly cheap and so convenient. We had bought all our office equipment and stationary there.
I left my dad enjoying the views outside, while I broke the news of his death to my staff— I didn’t dare to tell them my dad had actually followed me into the office.