“Passage,” by Aline Fourier, pen & ink and watercolor (including poem I wrote before my mother passed into “another room”)
“Death is nothing at all. I have merely slipped away into another room. Whatever we were to each other, we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the same easy way you always have. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. All the trips we took together. Play, smile, think of me, and pray for me if you are so inclined. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it always was. There is absolute unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of your sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well. I am at peace. Someday we will be together again.” This is an excerpt of a letter a client, who had terminal pancreatic cancer, wrote to his family just before he died. Afterward his teenage daughter, who had always had her dad help her write her essays, became very distraught because she had to write essays for college admissions and felt she could not create them without her father’s assistance. So I had her create and draw her personal doorway to “another room” where she might see her father and talk with him about her essays. She was able to write them with his help.
In January, 1978, my son Ari was six years old. I found him lost in thought, staring out our skylight window. He turned to me and said, “Life never splits in two. There is always life because God is always here. There is no separation between this life and the next. There is no end and no beginning to life. God is always. God makes up life. God is life. Life is still living when we aren’t here anymore.”
These experiences and others that speak about the unbroken continuity of life have become the foundation for Another Room©. I began to ask how we could become more aware of the thread that removes the mental barriers we have placed in regard to the finality of death, the thread that opens for us the doorway to “another room.” In holding physical reality as the ultimate determiner of life, we view death as the end, since it is the end of a physical reality. But life is not just physical reality. Emotional, mental and spiritual realities are also a part of life. The creative reality of our mind is a link to other realities. Dreams, visions and intuitions are part of divining the inner life in everything. Imagery gives us the power to sustain connections that may not have a physical component. (“Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of your sight?”) We are only limited by the belief that we are limited. Reality is the circle we embrace at any moment. If the reality we embrace leaves room for death to be a transformation, an open door, then we can incorporate connection. “If the doors of perception were cleansed, man would see everything as it is, infinite.” William Blake
We need to recognize nonfactual experience as an intrinsic part of consciousness and it is our failure to do so that adds to our experience of disconnection and isolation. What is nonfactual experience? Our thoughts, imagination, dreams, feelings, desires, intuitions, visions and spirit. In working with people using mental imagery, the first seeds of doubt about the reality of their image come with the statement, “I made that up.” That reaction comes from our learning to value factual experience as the only indicator of what is real. If I can see it, feel it, touch it then it is real. So what I cannot see, touch, feel must therefore not be real. What we have cut off in that logic is the “so much reality beyond the physical.” What we imagine we can create. Imagination is the link with other realities that are equally as real, valid and integral to our lives.
In envisioning this book, Another Room©, I felt that these “other experiences” of what is real concerning death, dying and loss would speak more profoundly and clearly than an intellectual discussion of death, dying and losing a love one could do alone. The format of the book is a collection of prose, artwork, music, poetry and photography from persons inspired by the loss of a loved one. These submissions speak in creative imagery about the unbroken continuity of life, that death is not “the final term of your being.” Joseph Campbell
The intent of Another Room© is to bring a light healing touch to the pain of loss and grieving. The contributors are individuals who have creatively dealt with death and their expressions speak with many and varied voices that hopefully touch many of our needs and concerns and support our acceptance of our personal living and dying.
“There is only one universe.
We are all in it.
We are not lost from each other,
only absent from time to time
In another room.
Gretel Porter, January 2002
I would love to hear from you and welcome any submissions
of artwork, poetry, prose, photography, music for Another Room©.