On The Passing
Of Ramona Bell

By Judy Andreas

Too many of us are overburdened and overworked. Too many of us have left the magical musical mystery tour, shoulders stooping and minds cluttered with the day's debris. Too many of us move in robotic fashion from day to day until the last day's breath removes us from the litter of life.
"Is that all there is?" the song asks.
No, my friends, there is so much more. But how can I describe it? How can my words transport you to unknown worlds and experiences that defy reason?
It was in the late 1980's that I sat in my room doing a simple Zen meditation. Suddenly I felt a tremendous pulling at my head. I can still recall the intensity, though I know it has been dulled with the passing of time. I shot out of my body and found myself on a screen of light. There were filmy projections coming towards the screen. But the visuals were only a small part of the experience. The profundity was a "knowing". For it was in that moment that I knew I had always been and always would be.
And although I spent years raising three children as a single parent, and getting mired in the responsibilities of such a formidable task, the experience lurked in my reverie. It whispered that there was more to life than this three dimensional reality. It cheered me onward when I felt unable to put one foot in front of the other.
People could not understand my mystical experience so I rarely shared it. I did not need to convince anyone. I did not want to listen to well meaning mouths trivializing me with supposed scientific explanations that only served to remind me that science lags behind truth.
"The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the power of all true science." Albert Einstein
Ramona Bell died this week. She was 47 years old. Because we have fooled ourselves into believing that people die according to age, the death of a younger person seems all the more cruel. Does death assume a certain fairness for those who have lived a long time? Are those who die young being cheated? Are we trying to make sense of the senseless?
I met Ramona Bell only one time and her light shown brightly. Yet, there were years when I met her nightly through her husband's words and her husband's love. And though politics put a distance between Art Bell and myself and I had stopped listening to him, when I heard of Ramona's death the distance dissolved and I cried for his loss. We were one in sorrow.
When the Hindu Saint Sri Ramakrishna's cousin died, a part of him wept for his earthly loss. And yet, another part of him danced, for he knew that his cousin was now unbounded by the human body. Another Soul was running free in the cosmos.
Ramona Bell died this week. She was 47 years old. Each death should remind us of the preciousness as well as the precariousness of life. Each death should remind us that life is a gift to be lived moment by moment.......consciously and purposefully.
Farewell Ramona.
When I die...
When I die
when my coffin
is being taken out
you must never think
i am missing this world
don't shed any tears
don't lament or
feel sorry
i'm not falling
into a monster's abyss
when you see
my corpse is being carried
don't cry for my leaving
i'm not leaving
i'm arriving at eternal love
when you leave me
in the grave
don't say goodbye
remember a grave is
only a curtain
for the paradise behind
you'll only see me
descending into a grave
now watch me rise
how can there be an end
when the sun sets or
the moon goes down
it looks like the end
it seems like a sunset
but in reality it is a dawn
when the grave locks you up
that is when your soul is freed
have you ever seen
a seed fallen to earth
not rise with a new life
why should you doubt the rise
of a seed named human
have you ever seen
a bucket lowered into a well
coming back empty
why lament for a soul
when it can come back
like Joseph from the well
when for the last time
you close your mouth
your words and soul
will belong to the world of
no place no time
~RUMI, ghazal number 911,
translated May 18, 1992,
by Nader Khalili.
Copyright 2005 Judy Andreas



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