Butterflies and Dancing
My dad passed way on December 15, 2017. In numerology, this date is a 10 – good job, Dad. I’m a numerology nerd, and dying on a master number day is an auspicious thing. The number 10 resonates with the numbers 1 and 0. The number 1 is about new beginnings and 0 is the number of God. How perfect is that?
My dad was a 6 like me. People with a life path number of 6 are compassionate, reliable, sacrificing, unselfish, harmonious, generous, charismatic, and charming. We are also committed, protective, nurturing, domestic, community conscious, and family oriented.
Basically, my dad was a powerful force on this earth for good, and he went out on a powerful day.
Father Ben, the priest that performed my dad’s funeral mass, also reminded us that my dad died during Advent. He beat all of us to the Christ-mass of Christmas. My dad wasn’t one to wait around – he was a man of action. If you don’t believe me, ask his nurses and the staff at the Littlefork Care Center or The Hardwig House!
I’ve always seen my dad through my own glasses, and none of us knew or saw him in the same way. He was multi-faceted, and like a very rare and carefully cut and polished stone viewed from an outside perspective, we all saw him differently. Some saw a saintly man. Some saw a guy with a reactive temper. Some saw a mentally ill person, the best friend they’ve ever known, love manifested on Earth, an impoverished outcast, a deplorable, a teacher, a counselor, a brother, an uncle, the life of the party, a movie star, a dad. I saw him as God’s perfect design – part of the body that is both completely unique and wonderfully necessary for my life and the lives of all those who knew him.
My dad was one of only a few people who I could relate to when it came to matters of the heart and spiritual gifts. When I was a very young girl, you might say I had the somewhat painful realization that the way I saw the world was very different than others I knew. While everyone else was drawn out deep into the experience of this seemingly secular life, I spent my energy drawn into myself to understand the divine. I asked questions about God and existence, and while everyone looked at me like a crazy little girl for asking things like “if God made all of us, then who made God,” my dad was happy to answer that question. “God just IS – infinite and nothing, and to truly know God is beyond human comprehension.” *ahhhhhh* What a perfect answer. God is beyond the intellect. God is to be experienced, not to be thought about. You see, I was born with the veil of ignorance already lifted – blessed with celestial perception in the areas of seeing, feeling, and hearing, and it was only my dad that actually understood what the heck I was asking about, and he was the only one that was deep enough – transcendental enough – and soaked in the spirit enough to definitively answer those greatest questions of life.
He also checked me on my life when things were out of balance by reminding me to structure my day like this: God, Family, Job.
He regularly reminded me of the importance of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude.
“Keep your pants up and your nose clean,” didn’t make any sense until I understood it early in my adult life. This was also good advice.
And at the end of nearly all our calls, he would say “Keep the faith, Jess,” which was usually followed by, “Love you, hunny.”
About a year ago, I was in a meditation and I saw my dad in the astral plane. His body looked like it was breaking down – changing. I remember calling one of my sisters and telling her that I didn’t think Dad was going to last very long. Although he was in reasonably good health, I saw him beginning to transition. I didn’t know when he would pass, but I felt I needed to emotionally prepare for it.
About two weeks ago I had this horrible feeling that could best be described as feeling like a caterpillar trapped in a cocoon. My body felt like it was almost dissolving and changing – eating itself and transforming, but I also had a distinct and intuitive knowing that I was going to end up like a butterfly. The experience was so overwhelming I called my husband and told him I probably needed to talk to someone about it. Through that process, I kept reminding myself that whatever was happening within my body would work out. I just stayed focused on my regular two hour daily practice of prayer and meditation.
The day before my dad died, I was driving home from the office and while at a red light a picture flashed into my head. It was a photo I had taken about 10 years ago – a selfie of me and my dad and we looked so much alike. I smiled at the thought of our likeness, and it made me feel happy. Then a thought popped into my head and it said, “I need to go find this picture for Dad’s funeral.” I checked myself on the thought and reminded myself that Dad is just fine and I need to stop thinking about his death and focus on the fact he’s still here with us. That same day I noticed the uncomfortable feeling went away, so I knew that whatever transition I was going through was coming to an end and my new life was beginning.
The next day I received the call that no daughter wants to receive. I really only heard the first minute when the officer told me my dad had passed. I was in shock. I was shaking and feverishly started contacting family to let them know. That night I sobbed with sadness. Before bed, I sat in stillness and asked my dad “Why? Why are you leaving so soon?” I went to bed, had black out sleep from the physical exhaustion of the day, and woke up the next day feeling super depressed.
The next night I prepared for sleep by sitting in stillness and asking from my heart, “Dad can you just let me know you’re ok?” I drifted off to sleep where he appeared to me in a dream.
He was young, and lean, and strong, and shirtless… No surprise. My dad was quite the free spirit, and didn’t like the bulk of clothes unless it was freezing in the winter. He was showing me his hairy but buff belly! “I don’t have that big belly anymore, Jess! Look at me move Jess! Look at my back!” He started dancing with such huge moves, they probably needed their own zip code. “Come dance with me Jess,” he said! He and I danced together. We were moving and smiling and having a great time. I don’t even remember any music or any noise other than our laughter. Then I looked down and saw a twin sized mattress on the floor and before I knew it he laid across it the short way so his arms and legs were dangling off and he was doing the crawl stroke. “I’m gonna really be able to swim the poles on Rainy this year! Look how my back moves,” he said as he made motions of rhythmic arms and flutter kicks. I looked down and saw his back still had the huge scar from his back surgery and I said, “but you still have the scar on your back.” He said, “It’s ok, because look how my back moves!” He kept twisting and moving – showing me his new, lean, young, strong body. He wasn’t in pain. He was a strapping young man without any of the injuries from 40+ years of manual labor. He was happy. He was free.
I woke up that morning without a lick of sadness or depression. This was the butterfly moment I was waiting for. I was transitioning because my dad was transitioning – that’s how close we were. I realized that he did his time on Earth, and now it’s time for him to party – and that’s exactly what he’s doing. Well, at least dancing and pretending to swim with his perfectly flexible and painless spine.
…and now it comes full circle because I’m finally living my life structured around his advice of God, family, and job. If you know me, you’ll know that I’m firm in my commitments to prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. Also, my pants stay up and my nose is very clean! HA!
Most importantly, I’m keeping the faith.
I know now that I don’t need to pick up a phone or fly to Minnesota to see my dad anymore. He’s closer to me than he’s ever been because he’s right here in my heart. If I need him, I just need to think about him and call on him, and I know he’ll be right here with me.
I love you, Dad. See you in my dreams!