Janet and Jeanie

My sister Janet died in the middle of February. On the day she died, I opened to this poem by St. John of the Cross from the book, Love Poems From God:

My soul is a candle that burned away the veil;

Only the glorious duties of light I now have.

The sufferings I knew initiated me into God.

I am a holy confessor for men.

When I see their tears running across their cheeks and falling into His hands,

What can I say to their great sorrow that I too have known.

The soul is a candle that will burn away the darkness,

Only the glorious duties of love we will have.

The sufferings I knew initiated me into God.

Only His glorious cares I now have. (p. 305)

In the last days of her life, Janet was in a tremendous amount of pain as her bones disintegrated from bone cancer. With any movement, she would moan in pain. From brain cancer and the morphine, she really wasn’t able to talk much, and not like before. As I was with her, I would sometimes think, “Oh my gawd. I want to do all the inner and outer work and the healing and growing that I need to in order not to end up dying the way she is.” The beautiful thing about it was that she knew these stages were coming, and as Rumi says, she allowed herself to die before she died. She contacted everyone that she knew and cleaned up any lingering unfinished business or wounds. We didn’t have much to clean up and I always I felt so treasured. She saw the best in me, the beauty of my inner bring, and she forgave the rest or else gave it no energy. Ultimately, she did that for everyone.

I think that through this very powerful experience, Janet burned away huge amounts of karma and illusion. When I attune to her now, I see her in mists of golden and white light as she prays for her family, her loved ones, and all of humanity. She surrendered deeply to Love, dying to her old sense of separation, and she is now reborn into an awareness of what Rev. Donald said in his prayer on Sunday, “I now know that all is Love.”

With her death and transition, something new was born in me as well. It is a deep desire and commitment to love and to see the highest good in everyone; to forgive, so that I can be free to let Love Itself flow through me in the way that my sister Janet learned to do. She truly took a “Leap into Love,” surrendering everything, and as a result, experienced who she really is and Life Itself. For her modeling of that to me, I am deeply grateful. I just hope to do it without going through what she did, but instead, clean up and transform my life every time I remember to remember that it is all Love. In that way, I hope to take on “the glorious duties of Love” that St. John of the Cross wrote about in his poem. I want to do it by choice, without being faced with a terminal illness as she was.

It is not easy to even contemplate, but through her, I can experience the glorious end result. For this parting gift, I give my deepest thanks.

– Jeanie Underwood

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