Freedom When an Amazing Life Flys Away in the US
It was three summers ago and I had just flown from Kauai to Portland, OR to be with my boyfriend after months of being apart. Everything was finally looking up, after going through hardships during my travels on the islands. I was exactly where I wanted to be.
I remember how exciting it was to feel the cool, crisp NW air and to see Portland for the first time. The city was coming alive, people were buzzing on the streets, cafés were clamoring with business, I had made it.
My boyfriend and I had driven down to his family farm in Dallas, OR, a small town in a valley at the edge of the Coast Range Mountains. The farm is a hundred years old and sits on seventy acres of open land, filled with fruit trees and a rambling river. If anything, my time in Oregon was only getting better.
However, three days into my trip, I received a phone call from my Aunt Lorie whom never calls. A red flag went up as I answered. “Your grandma is in hospice…” My heart sank into my chest as I heard these words. I had spoken to my grandmother occasionally throughout the past year but, it wasn’t enough. She was the woman who raised me from toddler to adult, she was my hero. I should have been more present.
I was feeling all sorts of emotions, but mostly sadness and despair that I wasn’t a car ride away. In fact, I was on the opposite end of the country, at least an eight-hour flight from home. Feeling helpless and confused, I continued my day, beneath a cloud. I was awaiting answers to my prayers. I prayed to my mother, whom passed away when I was two. I sought advice on the situation, if I should continue my trip or fly home. The following morning my prayer was answered in the form of a Robin bird who landed in front of me in between two large oak trees. My mother’s name was Robin. In that moment I felt a sigh of relief that even through difficulty, things can still make sense.
A couple more days had passed with no improvements to my grandmother’s health. Yet, I decided to remain in Oregon. We had made our way to the coast which is my favorite place to be. Throughout the days I had been given small universal signs that everything was going to be okay. I felt a little more at ease.
Throughout my travels I had picked up a used book called, The Invitation. At the end of every chapter the author asks the reader to write short exercises. They are based on looking inwards. Like most books I read, I found that every time I flipped the page, it was more and more relevant to my current situation. This time, the exercise was to write down ‘what I need and what I need from others’. I jotted down the answers in my journal and put it away. The following day would be pivotal.
In the afternoon my boyfriend and I found ourselves in a state park situated on the central coast. We climbed a sand dune to check the surf. It was small but looked worthwhile, so we grabbed our boards and ran to the water. It was a beautiful, sunny day. No one was around. We had this place to ourselves. I caught some really fun little peeling waves. This was my perfect moment.
When I got out of my wetsuit and changed into dry clothes, I grabbed my journal and climbed up a sand dune that overlooked the vast, glistening Pacific. I was in my peaceful place. Because I hadn’t had time the previous day to finish my journal entry, I did so on the dune. When I finished writing I sent my needs and needs of others into the universe. “I need Bubee to know that my brothers and I will be okay without her.” “I need Bubee to know that she is free to leave her body and to find her freedom.” I felt so relieved and uplifted from partaking in this exercise.
When I got back to the car I checked my phone; a missed call from my aunt. Before I listened to the message, I knew what I’d hear. And when I officially heard the words, tears fell from my eyes, but they were mostly tears of joy. I never thought I’d feel that way about my grandmothers passing. But, I couldn’t deny the sequence of events that occurred. I knew deep in my heart that someone was watching over us. She had passed when I was doing what I love most; surfing and traveling. And in that realization I too found my freedom.
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