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Support From the Beyond

Two years before he died at the age of 83, my Uncle Bill distributed copies of a book called The Four Agreements among family members. Inside he pasted a typed note: I believe this book contains valuable truths clearly stated. My hope is that you will find it so. Wm. E. Welch 2001.

It struck me as a bit too new-agey for me at the time, and something that could have been summed up in a magazine article rather than stretched into even a short book. Still, it was sweet of my uncle, and the agreements, conveniently summed up on the fly leaf, made sense:

1) Be impeccable with your word
2) Don’t take anything personally
3) Don’t make assumptions
4) Always do your best

A few days ago I took it out to read again and, honestly, with that message inside, it felt like his steadying hand reaching from Beyond in comfort.

He was my father’s big brother, and I have a picture of the two of them on a fishing trip to Alaska which now hangs in our Kings Valley cabin. A few years after my father died at the too-young age of 73, I was cleaning and found the picture on a top shelf. I turned it over and in my father’s dashed-off but artistic hand was a documentation of the trip that concluded with this: Bill is a very neat guy who loves you just as I do—Dad

Wow. Who knew deep cleaning a house could be such an emotional experience?

My dad and my uncle were the two children of Fay Eleanor, the beloved grandmother known to us as Deedee. I last saw her on my wedding day in 1974. She died a month later, and my mother said the Portland relatives reported she’d left a To-Do list which had my name on it.

On one of the healing meditation CDs I’ve been listening to during my recovery from physician-prescribed drugs, Belleruth Naparstek encourages the imagining of an emotional support team of people who’ve loved you in the past, those who love you now, and those who will love you in the future. I always get a kick out of that, conjuring the people who don’t even know yet how they’re going to love the heck out of you!

Those who've been trying to keep loving me now might be a little worn out with all this, though, so I’m calling on my father, my uncle and my grandmother as three who loved me in the past, and each morning when I’m doing yoga and turn to a left side plank, I raise my right arm and find myself saluting the lovely portrait which I recently had framed—my beautiful grandmother as a young woman.

Check it out, Deedee, I think each time. I’m doing my best!

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