Friday, 6 February 2015

Eulogy for Dad

I dreamt of my dad two nights ago, or perhaps yesterday morning. Dreams, after all, at times come at the end of our sleep, so that must have been yesterday dawn time...

In my dream, he was at a small warung at Benoa, so happened to be where we scattered his ashes last December. He was smiling at me. He said hi, and his voice was clear to me; it was indeed his voice. His humble voice after understanding his mistakes, after learning more about spirituality. He looked sad, as if he was sad to say goodbye, but he knew he needed to go. He had to go to the other dimension for his growth.

And why did Dad have to go to another dimension? Because he passed away late last year, 25 November 2014 at about 15:30 Queensland time. Yes, it was a difficult time for me... but it was relieving as well, knowing that he is now free from pain. Knowing that he is now in peace, albeit a bit sad to leave me, my sister etc. behind.

I’ve thought about posting a eulogy for him after the cremation, which was conducted in Bali on 3 December 2014. I had planned to read the eulogy to the audience during the cremation. But it never happened; it was not in the Balinese tradition to read a eulogy. Too bad, cos I think it would add a layer of personality to the whole tradition.  Since then, I had been meaning to post my eulogy in my blog. I just never made time. The dream tho, seems to suggest that I really should.

So here it is. As another send off to my dad for his journey to yet another dimension, a more sampoorna, complete, dimension.

I love you, Dad. I miss you. Stay in peace. All is well.

The original eulogy for Dad

It was clearly etched in my mind when, that day, I received news about Dad’s passing. It was Tuesday, 25 November, about 15:30 Queensland time Australia. I received a whatsapp from my sister Ayu, asking me to call her. Urgent, she texted. I had yet to call her when I received a missed call from Sri, my maid and confidant, who had been faithfully taking care of Dad for the last 2-3 years.  I was calling Sri when I received Ayu’s next text.

Dad has passed away...

Dad, Mr Gede Mustika Rana, or Pak De as some affectionately called him... had left his body in peace on Tuesday last week. He was 74 years old. And as someone in that age bracket, Dad had done his fair share of life. He had done many good deeds, and he had made many mistakes. Many in the extended family circle know about his mistakes, but I won’t discuss it here. What I want to tell is, instead, how Dad rose from his past, such that he was able to leave his body in peace, in grace, easily, Tuesday last week. 

Just like other human beings, Dad has his good and bad traits and habits. IMO tho, Dad started to drop his bad traits and habits two years ago, around November 2012, when he had a mild stroke. At that time, faced with the harsh reality that his past actions had led to his fall, Dad started to regret his mistakes. Dad cried when he realised that there were but a few who visited him in the hospital. He cried, asking for his mum and dad. Sri and I looked at each other before reminding him that his parents had passed away years ago. He cried again upon realising this, and we then joined him crying.

Yet, there is always the silver lining. Since his stroke,  Dad started to realise his mistakes. Upon returning home, Dad slowly slowly braced himself to face his karmaphala, the fruits of his past deeds. I gather, the first few months must have been difficult for Dad. He couldn’t walk properly anymore, he found speech difficult, and he had to undergo a strict diet to reduce his cholesterol and blood sugar level. He also had to get used to not having any money at all; for Sri and I took control over his financing. However, we also made sure that he had no basic wants. Thus... he got used to listening to meditative music, enjoying the morning and afternoon sun, and letting go of worldly attachments.

The next milestone of his inner journey happened about a year ago, when Dad took another fall. A physical fall this time. He was just sitting and leaning when he fell off his chair. I was in Australia back then, hence once again I thank Sri and Syaiful her husband for taking care of Dad. When I returned from Australia, I saw how pitiful and defenceless Dad was. There was a blotch of dried blood on Dad’s forehead. I cried when I saw this. But at that time, I finally was able to fully forgive him. And by the Gods, how beautiful forgiveness is. How light the feeling liberating it is...

Dad’s physical fall and subsequent injuries seemed to have dropped his ego as well, or what was left of it. A few weeks later, people would notice Dad’s inner peace. His forehead had the shine that had not been there before. Dad has let go of his ego, and replace it with the innocence of a child. Dad had returned to being a blank, white canvas. His room did not have the suffocating smell anymore. Rather, I could smell the faint whiff of eucalyptus oil on his body and baby oil for his hair. Occasionally, I could still detect the urine remnants (he couldn’t control his bladder anymore), but the smell was not dominant anymore. 

Many would say, Dad had been cleansed. He had returned to his innocence. Yes, since 1.5 years ago, I could say that Dad had been living in peace. He had made peace with his past. And I am forever grateful for it.

Two years ago, when my Dad was hospitalised, I prayed that he would leave in peace when the time comes. I prayed that the Universe, the Almighty, the Compassionate One, remove his obstacles to ease up his journey to the other dimension. About Dad, I had only two requests: that Dad left in peace and that I have all the help I need to give him the proper send-off. Well, and the third one was that I have sufficient resources to take care of him and to give the proper, graceful send-off.

My first request was granted Tuesday last week. Dad left his body in peace after having his last lunch. He left during an auspicious day. Neither I or Sri had bad omen at all. He just left us, like that... for that, for giving him such an easy and peaceful exit, I thank the Universe. I bow to the Universe. 

Congratulations, Dad. You made it. Something that I didn’t dare to dream of two years ago, now you have done it. You have made it. Your exit was easy and peaceful. Your regrets and contemplation for the last two years have given you that. You are in another dimension now, together with Grandpa, the Pita Maha of the family, and Grandma, the Pita Ma of the family, and also with your brother Uncle Teja. You are now walking along side Ganesh-ji and Parambhakti Nandi towards Kailash.  Congratulations, Dad. It was a big achievement. I’m proud of you. I love you.
Poem by Rabindranath Tagore from Cards by Anne

My dear friends,

A grown up child is usually scared of one thing: that one day our parents will definitely leave the world, and we are left “alone”, uncertain of what to do to send him/her off to another dimension. Another nightmare would be if we didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to him/her. The worst nightmare would be if we have unsettled business (particularly emotional business) with our parents, and we were still angry with them when they leave us.

Thank the Universe, the worst nightmare did not happen to me, because I had already forgiven Dad a good year before he let. Thank God for that.

My second fear was that I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye before Dad left his body. I did consider calling him a few days before he died, but I didn’t. I am forgiving myself for not doing that. He was considerably healthy for his state when he died, so I had no misgivings about his health.

My first fear was that I wouldn’t know what to do, particularly because the Balinese cremation tradition tends to be so complicated... The fear was real, it happened too. The preparation WAS complicated. But I have received help and guidance again and again, such that today I am able to return Dad’s body to the Nature. Today, I am able to help Dad returning to the Existence. I thus thank everyone involved who has been helping me so far. Sri and Syaiful, Dad’s caretakers, have been amazingly helping Dad for more than two years. Can’t do without them. Made Sudana has been a total support. Despite having no blood connection with me, he’s always helping me, always making time to visit Dad at his house. Our neighbours Pak & Bu Made thank you. Auntie Anom and Auntie Sri, thank you. Uncle Oka, thank you so, so very much.

I am also very grateful for Riccardo’s support. As a partner, he has been supporting me financially and emotionally. He flew from Australia just for the cremation, and today he has to go back to Australia for another meeting tomorrow. My gratitude is also to Debbie Sutopo, my energy-sister who always provides me with a pool of energy every time I almost give up and let go. Thank you Ayu, my sister, for helping me and Dad during the last few years. Thanks for being in my team.

Thank you all.

Dad, we are going to return your body to Mother Nature soon. May it assist you in your next journey to the higher dimension. May the journey be peaceful and beautiful. I have two poems for you here from Rabindranath Tagore...

Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

Look, the winter breeze has set the branches of the Amlaki tree dancing. The breeze with its rhythm is shedding the leaves of the tree with a rustling sound. The frenzy of the breeze to make everything fly off has made the tree a destitute bereft of leaves.

But has the tree really become a destitute? For see, now the beautiful arrangement of its fruits have got exposed and are no more in the hiding behind the leaves. This is a wondrous play of Nature, wherein it empties one only to fill again. To see this play in wonder, I am sitting outside all day. The cold winter is giving its touch now and then as if to remind me: that your time to Empty all will come in some morning only to reveal the Fullness behind.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

Stay safe Dad, keep walking towards the Light, keep walking on the enlightened path. Enjoy the view from the other side.

I love you.

A post-cremation note

Through the immense help of my best friend (whose name I will only disclose when I receive her approval), I have come to learn that my father was aware of everything that happened during and after cremation. He (as the soul) was there during the cremation, and he realised all his follies. All he looked for was love, and he searched for it in the wrong places. He was relieved to learn that my sister and I are in healthy relationships with our respective partners; and that we will not repeat his mistakes.

Dad also thought that the whole extravagant cremation was a waste of money. He didn’t need all those chants and expensive offerings. He only needed some sincere mantras and awareness, which were not provided by the brahmins on stage that day. The mantras and awareness were provided by me, who chanted several Vedic mantras, but in particular the Maha Mritunjaya and the Vayur Anilam mantras. By sharing this, I don’t mean to boast at all. I only do so because I want to share this with like-minded souls. I also don’t mean to boast that only a Vedic/Hindu prayer is powerful; that is NOT what I want to say. A prayer is energy; whether it is chanted in Sanskrit, Aramaic, Arabic, English, Indonesian or any other language. The same understanding can also be achieved through the chanting of prayers from other religions/traditions. It’s the energy that matter. It has to be sincere and coming from the heart. Not chanted by dis-interested people who were only there because we pay them to do so.

My friend also reminded me of an Islamic verse that stated that post-death, a son/daughter’s prayer is what a parent listen to the most.  My friend and I are not Moslems, but we agree with that verse. Indeed, it happened to me that day when I cremated my dad.

Apparently, a soul can still indeed learn after its death. It can tap into the memories, understanding and experience of the living he/she touches. In my dad’s case, he tapped into the latest memories of mine, which was thankfully mostly about my love to Shiva. Shiva, Mahadev, is so many things in the Vedic cosmology. He is often called the Destroyer, because He destroys ignorance, ego, and circumstances that have to end. He is also the Primal and Ultimate Dancer. He is the Yoga itself. He is ever forgiving, ever caring, ever loving. I have loved Shiva since the last decade... but my love for Him grows more since I read the Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi, and also watch ‘Devon ke Dev Mahadev’ (Lord of the Lords, Mahadev) excellently directed by Nikhil Sinha and superbly played by Mohit Raina. (more on the Mahadev series later in another post).

Lord Shiva (Mohit Raina) in His Neelkanth version during the Churning of the Ocean episode

So... Dad apparently tapped into my understanding about birth, death and life, and spirituality in general, thanks to my Mahadev frenzy. Two months before Dad died, I started the Mahadev fever; watching the series like a manic every night until wee hours. Those love, understanding and bhakti, devotion, were apparently imprinted in my subconscious, such that Dad could access it, and it helped him understanding his after-life process better. For that, I’m forever grateful to Mahadev, and also to my best friend, for translating what Dad told her to me.

In my friend’s words as she listened to Dad’s running commentaries that day, Dad said this: “Good thing that Icha watched the Mahadev series! I receive more understanding from that...”

Now, here I don’t say that, once a parent died, he/she could only benefit from raised awareness if and only if the son/daughter watches Mahadev. I’d say anything that helps a better understanding towards life, love, compassion, and soul journey in general is always helpful. The tradition does not matter; it’s the understanding that matters.

Lord Shiva (Mohit Raina) with His mesmerising smile

Dad also told my friend several things that are too private to disclose here. But, suffice to say that he realised that an inner journey is very important. His almost-quantum leap of awareness post-death was, to me and my friend, amazing. Apparently, one indeed can still learn post-death. But I guess, learning while we live our current live is also important, so we can leave gratefully and without regrets.

Or if we have some regrets, we can forgive ourselves and move on, never to repeat those mistakes anymore.

So... thank you, Dad, for the lessons you’ve given me. May one day, if we meet again, I see you in a much better condition, in a more enlightened and peaceful state of mind. Take care Dad. Stay safe, stay enlightened.


Wong Ee Phin said...

Thanks for sharing, Icha. Love you and take care, sis.

Icha said...

Thanks a lot, Ee... Love you too...