Sunday, January 3, 2010

Love is as strong as death

Family and Friends:

Francis died this morning at 1:25 am. My niece, Jane McGillicuddy began her
vigil with me since Saturday, 4:30 pm. She and three friends who made it
through the storm to be with me as we washed and oiled Francis' body, and
then relinquished it to the funeral home director, just left.

When it became obvious early afternoon that Francis' lungs were filling up,
which could signal the end, I received the email below with attachment from
Saadi (his Sufi name,) Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz, the Aramaic scholar who
created chants and prayer/movements for the Lord's Prayer and the

What perfect timing! As Francis began his transition, this precious chant
filled our room. It's from the Hebrew Scriptures' Song of Songs, -- "Set Me
As A Seal Upon Your Heart For love is as strong as death." Lee recorded it
through the computer as Francis and I sang it together only a few weeks ago.
It was one of our favorites.

What comes to mind for me right now is the image that Saadi has used many
times on retreats: that those who precede us (in what we call the past) are
ahead of us in the caravan of creation while the unborn (the future) come
from behind. Saadi has suggested a breathing practice I made my own from
the beginning.

A sacred word or mantra accompany a barely perceptibly rocking motion of the
body, and the head gently naturally goes along with the body, -- first
slightly leaning back on the inhalation and then very slightly leaning
forward on the exhalation, as if throwing a fish line ahead. It feels to me
like a prayerful reaching into the realm Francis has now entered to join the
ancestors. In my tradition we call it the "communion of the saints."

I hope you can play it.



  1. Francis has blessed me, as have you. How beautiful you two souls are. I love the love between you. I love his trust in you. I love your kindness.

    I found out about you a day or two ago through someone asking for prayers for you on the new site Facebook Yogis.

    I also love the way your picture with the chickens and roosters shows love and kindness towards animals. You bring tears to my eyes, as does he. Your friends in the pictures of the cooking class are lovely, too.

    Jai! Kamalini Devi

  2. Dearest Elaine please accept our condolences, the sadness is overwhelming; our prayers and love are with you.
    Roger and Eva Buteau

  3. Dear Elaine,
    It has been an honor to be part of the life of you & Francis for the past month. The love that you have for each other is stronger than death. Francis was right, you are a miracle woman and you gently helped sweep his beautiful "poetic soul" into Paradise.