The date a person passes away can be very significant. When I talk about “passing away” or “dying”, I mean only the physical body of the person has died. They still have an Emotional (or Astral) body, and they still have a Mental body.
You know, my father was in World War II – stationed in Germany during the war. He was just a young man 18-19 years old. In fact the war started without him, he was too young, but when his 18th birthday came and he was eligible, he was drafted into the Army and sent over seas. It was winter time in Germany, and it was freezing cold and cloudy most of the time. He told me that many times they would build a bonfire to warm themselves up, because the cities they were stationed in were bombed out and abandoned, and they didn’t have any other way to keep warm. He complained about having cold feet all the time – some of the guys would stick their boots closer and closer to the fire, almost in the fire, just so their toes would feel some warmth – a lot of the guy’s boots got charred on the ends because of this. They looked forward to shipments of new boots that occasionally arrived.
When my father returned from the war, it was very important to him that his feet be kept warm. He always wore socks, and slippers or shoes. He never walked around barefoot that I can remember. He always went to bed with his socks on.
My father passed away on January 6th. There were two very significant meanings for this date to our family. First, my mother, his wife, was born on January 6th – she had passed away a few years earlier, and my father occasionally talked about missing her very much. Second, January 6th is the day they celebrate Christmas in Armenia. My father was fully Armenian, since both his mother and father were Armenian – the two of them came to the United States a year or two before my father was born. In my family we always celebrated Christmas on December 25 like everybody else. It wasn’t until I was in my late 30’s that I learned that Armenian Christmas was on January 6th.
I could tell my father was hanging on, even in the hospital, for many days, when he became so ill he could no longer walk or even sit up on his own. Passing away is a process that takes time for people in old age, it doesn’t always happen quickly. He was hanging on during his last days, and I visited him regularly. I remember being there for his last day in physical incarnation. The doctors had called us, they knew the signs, and I was able to be with him during his last half-hour or so. I was mostly sleeping but occasionally would open his eyes and try to say something. I just reassured him, and held his hand, and told him that if it’s time to move on, go ahead and move on – everything is OK, and I love him. He was somehow waiting – not consciously, it was just the right timing in the story arc of his life – and then, on January 6th, it was the right time for him to pass on to the next level and leave his physical body of pain and illness behind.
My father’s physical body died. But his emotional body did not die. His mental body did not die. His higher bodies did not die. He was able to move into a way of life where he could spend all his time on the astral and mental levels, after that. Until some more time passed, when is Astral body passed away of old age. Then he lived on the Mental plane for many more years. Some day his mental body will pass away – and he will have an opportunity to return as a new born baby once again, with fresh Physical, Emotional and Mental bodies – to begin the process over again. A fresh start. A new set of goals to achieve, karma to clean, people to meet, tasks to perform, happiness and fun to experience, and so forth.
I stayed with my father for many minutes after he passed, and we could tell from all the hospital monitoring equipment that his body had stopped functioning. Suddenly I noticed something I hadn’t seen before – his feet were completely bare – the blanket, being too short, had pulled up to his ankles leaving his bare feet hanging there, uncovered, at the foot of the bed! It had been that way this whole time. Nobody had noticed. I felt terrible. The least I could have done was to put his socks on his feet, and make sure a second blanket covered his feet. The nurses don’t know my father’s background, and he was too weak to tell anyone what his body was experiencing; he couldn’t really talk by this point. I’m sure his feet were freezing, and I’m sure that was very uncomfortable to him. It really hurt me to think of this, on top of having just lost my dad.
I thought about his bare feet for many days afterwards. I finally realized that when it’s time to pass on, life pushes you on – it’s not passive. Life pushes you, just as it does with many events throughout life. When it’s time to leave your job but you are afraid to quit, life pushes you to let go – your work starts to get harder; the way you are expected to do the work gets worse, not better; and there suddenly becomes more work to do, mercilessly; people are not nice to you who used to be nice; and you ask “why me?!?” And then it gets a little worse still, and you say “I don’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this. I’m done.” And you are done. And you move on. And life gets better again for you because now you cooperated with the flow of your life. You learned all you could learn in that job, it really was time to move on. My father had learned all he could learn in this lifetime, and it was time for him to move on. He was hanging on, so life gently but firmly pushed him out. I don’t think it’s an accident that I didn’t look at his feet the whole two hours I was there – until suddenly when it was over, and I could breathe again in sadness, and look around the room, and I noticed his feet.
When the play is over, when the concert ends, the intensity dies down, and you can return to your normal way of living again.