Mick Zippert Easter Beauty, Easter Grief

Mick Zippert                                                                 Easter Beauty, Easter Grief

As the spring holiday approached, the not unfamiliar dread of being alone without any plans or built-in companions threatened to deepen my despair but I wouldn’t allow it much airtime. I found myself Sunday morning at a local women’s meditation retreat accompanied by a friend. As I walked towards the carefully designed and expensively built simple zendo it was the petite solo tulip tree with her huge lush royal magenta flowers that was the first to en-trance me. Next was the overflowing flower and vegetable gardens bursting with fresh color and fragrances as I wound through on the narrow cedar-shaving lined paths. The gentrified barn housed several gorgeous far-from-feral longhaired cats.  Two huge koi, one a golden yellow, lazily swam the turtled pond. A powerful, well-groomed but gentle horse was roaming the grounds. I recognized the casually prettied-up shed on the far side of the garden from the email invitation that drew me to this idyllic slightly overcast Easter gathering.

As the meditation practices were coming to a close, I sensed, for the first time in three months that I might barely possess a sufficient quantity of courage to visit a long-time friend. Two days before I had authorized his entering into hospice care through email. I had awoken the morning of “signing day” feeling overwhelmed and chose, for my self-preservation, to remotely give the go ahead to this change in his care. My unusual friend had been existing in this “nursing home” in a nearby town since summer, however, it was a marked improvement over his last living situation. Yes, nurses served there but to refer to that drab institution with its decaying urine stench as a home was far-fetched.

I had only spoken to my friend on the phone twice since my partner died two months before. I was emotionally unable to visit him and face more sickness and death. When I had called Mick in early February, he immediately asked how Jeff was doing. My sweetheart had befriended Mick after  meeting two years before. Jeff was intrigued by Mick’s spiritual insights. My partner, in turn, had helped Mick solve various electronic and practical issues when our aging friend was living in senior housing. Jeff also visited our infirm friend weekly for months after Mick had been shipped to this facility. out of town. Mick was distressed knowing my sweetheart, who was considerably younger, had been quite ill. “He died, Mick.” “Oh no,” he cried out, “that is horrible!,” and his generous expression of anguish soothed something in me.

The “home’s” social worker had called to tell me my friend was declining rapidly. I knew he was confused in the fall but he always recognized me when I came to visit. Now this bear of a man was consistently 350 pounds and hadn’t gotten out of bed for weeks. The brand-new synthesizer he had purchased with the money from the sale of his paint-stripped, malodorous and dandruff strewn gray Honda had never been played. I was impressed that my diabetic hand-trembling friend had successfully engaged the ombudsmen (with some coaching) to persuade the “health center’s” administrator to allow his sizeable synthesizer to be in his room. The space was now more crowded with his bed, cheap furniture, wheelchair, walker, commode and tattered belongings. The social worker made it clear the music equipment was her proverbial thorn.

I dreaded facing my friend’s death since my own yawning grief wounds were rendering me so fragile. On the other hand, I couldn’t bear the thought of him leaving this realm without one final visit. Timidly, I walked into his room noticing a different roommate. The new addition was thinner and more virile appearing than the previous one. This handsome slightly graying man was sleeping on his side, facing the door I had just entered with the white sheets pulled up mid-chest. I sensed sleep had been inspired to escape the odd situation of having an irregularly breathing stranger on the other side of the drab curtain.

I walked to the far side of the dim room wondering why the blinds were always closed. Their Russian immigrant nurse Elena followed me. As a nurse myself, I was impressed that Elena always seemed genuinely invested in my friend’s care.

Mick was lying on his back with his head slightly propped on the institutionally white pillow, staring blankly ahead towards where the wall and ceiling mate. “Oh no, he really is leaving!,” grabbed at my guts. Then I gratefully noticed his crisp linens and gown and finally he was well groomed. I approached his right and called “Mick, hi, it’s Vanita.” His head turned barely noticeable towards the familiar voice with eyes remaining unfocused. “Hi Sweetie,” he said. I knew he recognized me though I had never heard him use a term of endearment in the twenty-six years we had known each other.

Sadness flooded me. What can one say? “You are going home Mick. You are going to see God”. He nodded slightly and another wave of uninvited grief overtook me.

To the strict but compassionate nurse witnessing the intimate exchange I offered my excuse. “I couldn’t come before. With my partner dying I just couldn’t bear it”. Her skilled response eased my burden, “It is okay, you did what you could. You have been through a lot yourself. Yes, he is going home.”  She seemed grateful that this obvious spiritual fact was being acknowledged. I had posted on Facebook and a local community website about Mick’s situation but had only gotten a handful of responses. “Have others come to visit him?,” guilt inquired. “No, just you”.

I doubt the staff had any idea what an advanced being Mick was or the secrets, good and bad, this clairvoyant knew about them. Mick was more evolved than I and he pointed this actuality out intermittently over the years with a very factual tone. He had guided people at psychic fairs on the West Coast with his creative and insightful readings. He was a gifted music channel proud that he had opened for the famous spiritual teacher Ram Das. I had never heard of music channeling before Mick made his debut in my life. This being’s greatest pleasure was to lazily stroll in the forest playing his silver flute while communing with Nature. He attempted several times to convey his light-filled visions but I could only grasp the edge of his perceptions and resultant bliss. Once when he endeavored to describe his experience of the “Eternally Swirling Eye of All Creation,” I was able to briefly glimpse the awe-inspiring enormity of God. Didn’t I realize that God was creating everything in existence in every moment?

I suspect we all often feel alone but Mick’s loneliness was extreme. He was born with a birth defect that resulted in violent projectile vomiting whenever he fed and he underwent major surgery at six weeks of age. He was severely neglected as a child with frequent bonding ruptures and an assortment of caretakers. His mother banished him to a military school at age 5 and his absent father barely tolerated him when he was around. My friend’s dismal socialization plagued him. Add his unique view of reality and his intuitive awareness of people’s hidden selves and he had a large load to cope with. Top this off with his beloved wife’s sudden car-wreck death in 1991 near their home. He was incapable of metabolizing this mountain of grief and never recovered.

I met him six months after the accident that he recounted incessantly for decades. His music, ecstatic spiritual experiences and increasingly infrequent readings were the only things that kept him inching along. His most reliable and comforting companion was the excess food that kept him sedated from the pain of years of inadequate meaningful human contact.

Though he had been briefly in the military and had attended college, Mick was unable to function in everyday practical matters.  Showering regularly, wearing somewhat clean clothes or keeping his dwelling from smelling like a garbage dump were impossible tasks. Despite his shortcomings, he was a rare precious lifeline for me. He casually informed me one afternoon that my guiding essence in life was the “Heart of Love” and encouraged me to always follow it. Whenever I was upset and felt lost he would guide me to an expanded perspective and soothe me with divine wisdom. “How could someone so dysfunctional with so many unresolved issues be so clear and wise?,” I often wondered. Let me tell you about my introduction to this extraordinary, fascinating and complex human being.

I was deeply in love with a man Mick later announced was “my essence twin”, the closest of the soul connections and commonly referred to as a “twin flame”. My twin had met Mick the evening before and received a personal channeling that thrilled him. The next day he wanted to take me to the psychic musician’s home for a couple’s reading.

My twin warned that Mick was quite depressed since the trauma of the tragic accident. We arrived at the beautiful rural three-acre property with its respectable manufactured home. As the front door opened the smell of rotting garbage startled me. This huge man, 6 feet tall and well over 300 lbs, invited us in. He moved and spoke heavily but I was drawn to his deep resonant voice.

The home was filthy and Mick pointed out the garbage “zones” throughout the house. He was proud that the trash was contained in a myriad of large cone-shaped piles. The kitchen sink and counters were laden high with thickly crusted dishes, glasses, cups, pots, and pans with an array of dirty utensils strewn about. Dropped or carelessly discarded food was drying up everywhere including on the floor. He explained he hadn’t been able to keep the house up since the loss of the woman who was so dear to him.

The unkempt man ushered us into his bedroom to our left. “What do you want the reading to focus on?,” but before our reply formed he interjected, “don’t bother, most people are too stupid to know what to ask anyway.” Surprisingly I didn’t feel offended by this, later to be learned, very accurate observation.

The bedroom was cleaner and the odors less. His queen-size bed was elevated four feet off the ground and pushed up against the left and far wall; his black synthesizer faced the foot of the bed and the room was devoid of chairs. “Climb up on the bed,” he instructed. I scanned the sheets and deemed them clean enough to sit but first went to the adjoining bathroom which was another unbelievable scene.

Now we were seated on the cushy bed stage and Mick settled in behind the keyboard that happened to bear the uncommon name of my essence twin in big white block letters. I never expected the musician to casually invite, “Feel free to make love while I play.”  Stunned, but eternally curious I asked, “Has anyone ever taken you up on that?”  “Yeah”, mentioning the names of a couple we were acquainted with. Notably the vibe from him wasn’t perverse which struck me as even more odd. “Uh, we’ll just sit here”.

He began playing his silver flute while watching us. After the haunting opening he put the flute down and created a melody on the synthesizer that touched into the deepest part of me. He began his spontaneous song referring to me as “Anita” but despite that faux pas I was weeping with profound relief of finally being seen and known by another. He sang of an ancient bond and indescribable love between my essence twin and I. He sang of the joy of finding each other after many years of searching. He sang of my vibrantly colored strands of emotion that often got entangled and overwhelmed me. He sang how my twin would help me unravel them into something manageable and useful. “I can’t go on anymore,” he suddenly announced overtaken by a wave of pain. He abruptly pushed his wide slumped shoulders away from the keyboard ending my sorely needed influx of divine grace and I was hooked.

Our friendship grew and deepened but he never recovered from his soulmate’s death; she was not his essence twin he explained but another type of deeply fulfilling but less tumultuous soul connection. He lovingly spoke of her in most every conversation we ever had and clearly was idealizing her. I knew they were in the process of separating just before her death which he rarely remembered. About ten years ago he announced that part of her soul had reincarnated in Australia. During a vision he had seen her home and he gazed on the newborn through the window. He was comforted she was again on the planet with him.

I had numerous intriguing experiences with him as the years passed and also plenty of frustrating ones. His honed spiritual abilities were always dramatically contrasted by his inability to function in the world and his drug of choice, food, was doing him in. His undeveloped interpersonal skills constantly plagued his intermittent attempts at relationships. His wife had founded the popular local metaphysical bookstore with his support and they had been well known though now he was an almost forgotten hermit. By the time he entered the nursing home, he hadn’t seen his middle-aged daughter since she was a toddler, was estranged from his family and one by one managed to alienate most of his few friends.

Now it was time to leave him on this late Easter afternoon. I had been with my partner throughout his illness and only rarely left his side during the last week of his life so it felt really wrong to desert a dying friend in this bleak institution. But I needed to buy groceries for the week and attend a support group that would be able to console me. I was sitting  in a chair on his left side. “Mick, I have to go”. Was that a nod?  “You will be with Joan soon, you will be so happy to see her again. Mick, I love you”.

I knew from studying grief that saying goodbye to his physical form, saying farewell to the friendship we had shared was crucial. Our relationship was eternal but I also knew I needed to utter that powerful word while dreading the anguish that was sure to follow. I finally mustered my “goodbye,” but immediately copped out with “I will be back,” knowing that wasn’t feasible. Though his otherworldly stare continued the entire visit and he hadn’t spoken since his brief affectionate greeting, I was startled when he began whispering the last words I would ever hear him say. “It is so….. beautiful.”

“I am glad Mick, I am so glad,” and I knew he was okay.

Pierce Michael Zippert was prophetically born on April Fool’s Day. His body died March 31st, 2016. He would have been 74.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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God’s Peace

road-sun-rays-path.jpg

As you were drawing your last breaths,

I made an altar on your body,

Stuffing your hands full with raisins.

You would have plenty to eat as you journeyed.

 

Your last breath, 3:54am

Another came 3 minutes later surprising me.

 

A spacious medical suite overlooking the bay,

We could see the hospital of your birth from our

window.

 

I sat in the dark, cross-legged

A high backed cushioned chair

Next to your bed

Listening for you.

 

I didn’t experience much

When I let go of my wanting to

I sensed you.

Quiet , dark and deep

To my right.

 

The months of sickness began to ebb,

I remembered

Who you really are

And why I softly fell in love.

 

Our connection was nurturing and sweet,

Quiet and deep.

It took me time to trust it.

 

As I sat in the dark,

I remembered how your presence calmed me.

The first time we cuddled,

Fully dressed,

We feel asleep in each other’s arms.

 

The first time I stepped into your home,

Higher up in the mountains,

Surrounded by tall trees,

Peace enveloped me.

 

I have many Jeffrey’s in my life.

“What number am I?,  you asked and I laughed.

Well, both wasbands have your name,

My son ‘s middle name is that,

My grandson is Jeffrey and

then our Atlantean spiritual brother too.

 

We called you Jeffrey the Sixth.

 

You have some weird pattern some have commented.

Jeffrey means  “God’s Peace”, I tell them.

This is what you are for me.

 

 

Where Did My Little One Go?

Where Did My Little One Go?

Where did my little one go?

Intense struggling one moment, gone the next.

An empty body lies there,

My sweet one gratefully freed her Self.

 

Covered now with a clean brown towel,

Lying on her soft oversized cushion,

I drag the bed to my room,

Our pack together, our last night.

 

God never made this world of impermanence.

I am assured repeatedly Source loves us.

Would a caring God create a world of immeasurable pain and loss,

Where we lose everything we love?

 

No, my Creator is never cruel,

Eternal Gentleness, Eternal Life

Death unknown,

Our Source is pure Joy and Love.

 

Chichi is the brindled Chihuahua mix. She arrived in my life March 5th, 2010 from a shelter. When I bent down to connect with her for the first time I was surprised with a french-kiss and she was obviously destined to be mine! I realized quickly this little lover greeted most people in her intimate fashion. Foxee arrived six months later to provide Chichi a companion when I was working in the prenatal clinic or was serving overnight at the medical center. I hadn’t suspected July 4th, 2017 would be her independence day from an ailing body. She departed 11:28pm.

Photograph by Joy Porter of windingroadsimagery.com was taken on the sandy banks of the South Fork of the Yuba earlier in summer.

Pale Moon of Honey

Pale Moon of Honey

A grief wave unbidden washes through,

Having been shared by a dear one’s wise heart.

Sorrow too much to bear on our own,

I reach for others to help carry this moist load.

 

Wending into the near night,

Amongst my ever present  friends- the tall trees,

Listening deeply to the gentle rustling forest through the wind,

Separation melts, we are one.

 

A full moon of pale honey bathes us all,

Sweet and quiet light soothes my open soul,

My sweetheart walks with me,

As promised not that long ago.

 

Today, June 7th is my partner’s birthday. When he was healthy and strong we often walked with our dogs in the forest where we live. As he lay in his hospital bed dying two days before his transition we shared a private moment undisturbed. With my grief-laden voice I asked, “Will you walk with the dogs and I?” He looked into my teary eyes and replied with one definite word, “Always”.

 

White Sand

f6zfrd5vmiflllhv0hkaWhite sand was all that remained.

Settled into the folds of that rock eddy,

Small flowers whirled away into the river,

I washed bits of ash into the spring snowmelt.

 

White sand.

If someone came by,

They would never know,

This was your last resting place on Earth.

 

Now you were rushing ecstatically,

Towards the Great Bay,

Towards the Golden Gate,

Headed for Home.

Strange Gratitudes

Strange Gratitudes

This Gratitude Weekend I am grateful for things I normally wouldn’t have thought to feel thankful for. Of course it is easy to be appreciative for the well built home my partner left to me surrounded by natural beauty, a healthy body, the availability of wholesome food, the health of my family, good friends etc. But I am also grateful (filled with greatness) for painful experiences this year that were profoundly challenging. This holiday weekend, a year after my partner’s first hospital stay, I am grateful for his unusual illness and death because it humbled and crushed me in a way not many experiences could have.

I met with Francis Rico, my spiritual mentor, four months after my sweetheart had transitioned. We sat in the backyard of a nurse friend’s in Santa Rosa. It fittingly happened to be Memorial Day. “I have no idea what this is all about”, I exclaimed to him with dismay. I was feeling victimized and still in shock from Jeff’s passing which had been an ordeal. He replied quickly and a bit casually, “I know what this is about, it has brought you down to your foundation”. I heard myself utter, “Huh?” as my head cocked as a trying to understand dog would. “Grief is the foundation of this world” the most fulfilled being I may have ever interacted with declared. “Foundation of the world?”

I expected an accomplished spiritual guide to say, “Peace is the foundation of this world” or love or happiness but not the dark, moist heavy cloud of lament which most modern humans seem intent on trying to avoid. “We live in an impermanent reality. Here people, places, things, conditions and circumstances are forever changing so we are constantly grieving. We are continually losing things we love and cherish. Grief is the basis of this world”. I sat there on the lawn chair stunned.   “But you are the most joyful person I have ever met!”. I knew his beloved cat Angel had died around the same time as my sweetheart had. When I reached out to Francis with my pain he would share his. Francis was deeply affected by Angel’s passing and had even sent me a photo of the gray creature. “I know you were heartbroken when Angel died but when we were in Mexico in March your energy wasn’t heavy like mine”. He never mentioned his “pet’s” death to the group while on our spiritual exploration at the pyramid complex of Teotihuacan. I did notice he frequently used cat analogies in his lectures which I had never heard him use before. He was obviously still processing the beloved feline’s passing from this realm. “That is because I completely accept my grief”, the talented shaman shared which pointed to the resistance of mine.

Early one forlorn morning after this heartwarming session with my mentor, I sat back at my empty home with my notebook and pen. I quietly asked Spirit, “What is this intense time about for me?“ A very long list flowed through the pen: His death had began my publishing debut of my writings and poetry; a friend had set up my first blog for me a month after his death. I accepted deep in my gut that physical life is temporary. I had realized fairly early that trying to spiritually bypass my pain wasn’t going to work no matter how hard I tried to be feel better. I learned I could prolong my anguish with common thoughts such as “This shouldn’t have happened, or he was too young to die, or he should be here now or what did I do wrong to deserve this?”.

Another gift was learning to love more with fewer conditions. I had strove to be a supportive partner and meet Jeff’s many needs as best I could but I also had ample opportunities to accept and be with my own fears, fatigue, overwhelm and despair. I realized how dependent I am on others since I wouldn’t have even survived without the loving support of innumerable others that I reached out to several times every day during this grueling process.

How can I convey the anguish of living with an emaciated man who could not eat for the last two months of his life, who was barely surviving on the liquid food being pumped into his veins and whose neck was a horrifying chartreuse? A previously very athletic and active man now sat day after day staring at “Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives” and other curious food shows all day long pre-occupied with when he would be able to eat again.

I had a myriad of reactions to the bizarre situation we were in and how drastically our life had suddenly shifted. I had never realized how difficult it is to be living with someone who is severely ill; I often required reminding that the physically distraught can be dismissive, demanding, irrational and not uncommonly do criticize their intimate caregiver’s best efforts. I also had to learn to silence the internal voice that would harshly comment that I wasn’t meeting the voice’s idea of what an ideal selfless saint should be like.

But on this Thanksgiving I will be grateful to have loved and shared a life with someone who became gravely ill six months after I had moved in. I am grateful that I learned that there are many physicians who are uncomfortable with death and see their role as a “death-fighters” even when that perspective causes more distress for the patient and their family and wastes billions of health care dollars. I am grateful that wiser and more loving physicians are to be cherished and supported. I am grateful for us having been surrounded by nurses that were accepting of dying and death as a natural process and were technically skilled and emotionally helpful. I will be grateful for this peaceful and beautiful home and the other ways he made sure I was taken care of. I will be grateful that probate will be coming to an end soon and that I am motivated to teach people how to avoid the expensive legal process of mind-numbing paperwork; the last thing grieving families need is coping with boringly complex paperwork that can be avoided. I will be grateful to have more experience in communicating with spirits and accepting their ongoing love and support of their earth bound cohorts. I will be grateful for all the meals, housing, errands, caring conversations that were bestowed upon us. I will be grateful for his lovely memorial on Valentine’s Day this year and all who shared their shock, grief and love with us. I will be grateful to have been thrown into this “aloneness vision quest” that has brought me deeper into myself and taught me how to better support people in the throes of loss.

I learned I cannot connect with everyone through happiness but grief is a universally shared experience that all relate to. I am grateful to have accepted that some people couldn’t be there for us because they were unable to deal with the intensity of our pain and that I worked to not take it personally. I am grateful to know that anciently based cultures are wiser with helping their members move through the process of dying and mourning. Some of these cultures relieve these distressed people of any responsibilities for one year as they keep an eye on them and care for their needs. I am grateful that I have come to realize that life is not the opposite of death. Birth is the opposite of death. Life is greater than both of these. And my list could go on.

The Course in Miracles states, “All things work for the good except in the ego’s judgment”. I am glad I kept this beneficent thought in mind even when it was almost impossible to believe.

Hideous Me

Hideous Me

Hideousness hesitantly attempts,

A breath through her rigid and dust filled throat.

The quiet scratching of bloodied cracked nails begins inside the cheap coffin,

Long decayed and rotted flesh claws through the heaviness of earth.

 

Wounds dripping with gangrenous ooze,

Maggots feeding on the ancient debris of torture,

Putrid crusted scabs,

A heart so fractured it is incapable of relating.

 

Precious pieces driven deep underground,

Tormented parts frozen autistic,

These aspects I have worked hard to keep locked away,

Silent screams of agony longing for my loving touch.

 

Confused and deformed me,

Dragging her limp foot along the dark streets,

Revealing what most work desperately to keep at bay,

Abandoning seduction to lure them in.

 

Women parade their glamorous and sexy selves,

Black feathered elegant creatures or even an iridescent jellyfish

Flashing her sublime azure-white light,

My blackened jagged fangs staring at them.

 

This Samhain I embrace and celebrate Death and Horror.

Warmed by the growing cultural fascination with zombies and vampires,

Who acknowledge shattered skulls none can ever reassemble.

Can you smell the nausea of putrefying flesh?

 

Amber leaves are falling with eternal grace this morning,

Tall pines dance and sway with the stormy winds.

My sky a comforting mottled moist gray,

Destruction, followed by the inevitable and expansive renewal, is well underway.