Celebration of Philip’s life – plus photos

My dear man would have loved the celebrations that were held to mark him leaving his body. The Box Service (ie with Philip’s body in a cardboard box) was beautifully held by my friend Margie McCallum. My mum had spread greenery and a few blooms from our garden on top.  We sang Morning Has Broken, which we had sung at our wedding and felt appropriate as we are both embarking on a ‘new morning’ now.

The following day we had the Celebration in the Universal Hall in Findhorn.

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Univ-Hall3-737x1024It was stunning; so many people, many sharings and such poignant and sweet Taize singing too.  I had created an altar for him with some of his personal things on – his Sudoku puzzle, glasses, his favourite baseball cap.  A photo of Bhagwan, one of Tryvan, a Welsh mountain we had climbed together; the belt he had bargained for from a Berber tribesman on our last holiday in Morocco.

 

 

P-mandala-300x224And then in front of the altar, a beautiful mandala created by someone who had only recently heard about Philip and been reading the blog – such a loving spirit.

Our good friend Mark had created a lovely slideshow of some amazing photos of Philip; you can see it here (look out for the bearded Swami with sunglasses in the middle of the back row of all the other red-robed Swami’s!)

Ps-altar1-e1323629624206-224x300I was sitting between Barbara and my sister, Anna; during the singing of ‘In Manus Tuas Pater’ (Into thy hands God I commend my spirit), Barbara whispered, ‘They’re singing him away…’. I burst into tears, I knew he loved these songs and this particular one so much.

Tea in the Community Centre followed, after people had been given a copy of Philip’s book ‘Do You Feel Loved By Me?’  I am so blessed to be living amongst such a community, with so many friends looking out for me and opening their hearts so lovingly. Thank you, all of you, and thank you everyone on this blog too. I have created a Book of Memories and have pasted in some of the comments made from the blog.  If you would like to contribute to this, please email me direct here.

I don’t yet know what is going to happen to this blog – that is one of the many practical things I have to decide about over the next while. Philip was in the process of editing to publish it as an e-book, but he did not leave me any instructions as to what he wanted done. So I will have to wait and see what presents itself to help me with this decision.

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Philip’s last week

In the wee small hours of the morning after my love had died, I felt a strong compulsion to write everything that had happened in his last week.  I have posted it here so that if you want to know the details of his last days, you can.

The beginning of ‘the dying process,’ as it is called, really began last Friday 25th November, after the last attempt to insert an nj tube into his stomach.

At about 5.30pm that day, Dr. Srimali (Gamma Ray Man) told him:

‘We have tried everything, and nothing has worked, not one thing. I am very disappointed, especially when you had everything going for you in terms of your attitude and your strength of spirit.’

He looked downcast. There was nothing more he could offer.

‘My recommendation is that you move to Elgin hospital and from there, you will more easily be able to make the move to home’. He knew how much Philip had wanted to come home if he was going to die. Later Philip told me ‘Bar a miracle, this is the end then’.  I reminded him about the vision I had experienced only a week ago.

‘I woke in the middle of the night. You and I were somewhere, don’t know where, and there was a warm, glowing light everywhere, and an atmosphere of indescribable love.  I watched you walking away from me more into the light, walking as you used to when you were strong and healthy, walking in a purposeful, calm and conscious manner.   To see your strong shoulders and long legs like that was just beautiful. But the best thing was that it was perfect that you were doing this. And it was perfect that I was staying where I was.  And I knew that you knew that it was perfect for both of us. And I knew that too. And there was so much, so much love.  I stayed lying in the bed in that state for at least half an hour. It was so beautiful’.

‘Can I have one of those, please?’ was his response.

By the time Monday came, we had another step to take. Dr Srimali said, in talking abut the practicalities of moving to Elgin,

‘Would you want to be resuscitated?’

I held my breath, waiting for Philip’s answer. With tears in his eyes, he looked at me.

‘No. Is that OK?’

I had tried to talk to Philip about this before we left home for the hospital, but he wasn’t having any of it then; and I was hugely relieved to hear his answer. I looked at him lovingly and agreed.  I knew this was another step towards him accepting his death. I rang our dear friend Barbara in Los Angeles and asked her to come over.

On Tuesday, when we had been hoping to move, there were no rooms available in Elgin.  Another apparent setback. We geared ourselves up for a move on Wednesday, when we were assured there was a single room. In the meantime, my poor darling Philip was trying to cope with increasing amounts of black bile being regurgitated.  Very distressing.  Barbara’s arrival brought some compensation, and although he didn’t say this to me, I think he would have known that this meant he was near the end. She has been so instrumental in his life (they have known each other for 32 years), and she was the instigator of  ‘The List’, our attempt to face the practical realities of death before it happened.

Wednesday morning arrived.

‘I’m really sorry but because of the strike there are no ambulances available to take you to Elgin’. The nurse looked apologetic.  Later in the morning, Dr Srimali visited.

“I’m sorry, Philip, but I can’t recommend you move now. You are too ill. You have gone down fast in the last few days’.

My poor darling  – he had wanted to go to Elgin Hospital because it felt like home, being so much nearer, and he knew it would be better for me, being based at home while visiting the hospital.

In a side room, the doctor told me, ‘His kidneys are not functioning very well; nor his liver’.  I told Philip.

‘Oh.  So my body is giving up’.  He sighed and looked resigned.  I guess at this point we both knew the end was near.

In the wee small hours of Thursday 1st December, I was woken by a text from Barbara. ‘P is having a difficult night. Can you come in?’  I shot out of bed, and was up there within ten minutes. I arrived to discover my dear husband in considerable distress as he tried to cope with the huge amount of dark brown liquid coming out of his mouth at regular intervals, assisted by coughing. It was foul-smelling and had a horrible taste. With further medication, he calmed down, began more regular breathing, and clearly was out of pain, but I was clear. This was enough.  I stayed with him while he slept, all the time his breathing being hampered by the liquid in his gullet, making a rattling, raspy sound. Horrible to hear.

Barbara told me:

‘You know, something weird happened. About midnight he asked for the remote control!’

‘But he’s never watched the TV in hospital” I exclaimed.

‘I know – but I asked him if he wanted to watch the telly, and he said yes. So I got him the remote and asked what channel he wanted’.

‘Channel 5 – I want to see Countdown’.

Countdown used to be a favourite TV programme of Philip’s. He would pit his wits against two teams on the TV as they tried to make the longest word possible out of a series of letters. He loved that stuff.  So when I heard this, I knew he was telling us the end was near – he was literally counting down.  I called Jackie, his daughter, and told her to get on an earlier plane than she had intended.

All Thursday during the day, he was more or less sedated, the pain being managed with various medicines, and others to help dry up the secretions.

‘I want you to take him off the intravenous feeding; and please can you do whatever you have to do so that he is not conscious of what is happening anymore’, I told the doctor who was visiting.

The doctor looked at me. ‘Have you said all you want to say to him?’

‘I’ve had lots of opportunities to say everything. I don’t mind if he never opens his eyes again, I just want him to be out of this agony’. I was really clear.

During that day, Philip was aware of conversations; we could tell because occasionally he would murmur or grunt; and even more occasionally would come round from the drugs enough to speak a little.  Christopher Raymont visited, and together he and I softly sang some of his favourite Taize songs, particularly ‘In manus tuas, pater’ (Into thy hands God I commend my spirit). Although it appeared that he did not know we were there, I’m sure he did.

Later still, he softly murmured ‘I love you’. Then he put his shaking hands into the prayer position.

‘Take me’.

With that I knew that he had let go; he was giving himself up.  My dear, lovely, brave man.

Leaving Jackie and Daniel, his grandson, at Philip‘s bedside, I returned to where I was staying to get out of my pyjamas from the early morning start, have a shower and supposedly sleep (not much of that happened, mind you). Returning a couple of hours later, I joined River and Barbara, Jackie and Dan having left,  and I saw he was lucid once more.

‘Help me’.

Even with slurred words, we could understand this plea. We got more medication into his body, spoke again of the angels waiting for him, I told him my vision once more.  River suggested having the nurses move his body, as it looked as though it was falling out of bed.  A small globule of brown liquid oozed from his lips. I left the room in tears – I couldn’t bear to see him suffering so much.

The nurse returned.

“We’ve moved him, and his breathing has changed’.

Barbara and I went back in to be with him and River.  He had changed, his breathing was no longer a rattling sound in the back of his throat.  I sat down and held his hand. His eyes were shut, and he occasionally took a big breath – and then a long gap. Within minutes, he stopped taking these breaths.  Never having seen someone die before, I was unsure what was happening, but I noticed at one point a change in his face colour.  That was when he left his body.

The dear, courageous, loving, gorgeous man.  He stayed for so long trying so hard to not succumb to this illness and it’s corresponding side effects.   Looking upwards towards the ceiling, we each took turns to speak to his spirit, telling him what had happened, reassuring him he was loved, blessing him.  It was very beautiful.

My darling did not want to die, not one little bit. He felt he had lots more to give to others. And yet in his dying, that is exactly what he has done.

‘Why are you afraid of dying, sweetheart?’ I asked him some weeks ago.

‘I want to give more’ was his simple reply.

Well, he has given more. Given in the manner in which he approached the impending death of his body, which was in full consciousness.  Never for one minute was he not present in his mind’s abilities during his stay in hospital.  Even through all the drugs. He was very conscious about everything, what the doctors were prescribing, what for, the amount he was taking; what was going on around him, his body’s needs, even aware of my needs to the last moment. He has been an amazing example of conscious dying.

Thank you, my dearest one, thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Celebration of Philip’s life

NatureSanctuaryCandle-300x225There will be a celebration of Philip’s life in the Universal Hall, Findhorn Foundation, Findhorn on Friday 9th December at 3pm, with tea and cake after in the Community Centre.

The Findhorn Community, in which we have both played a big part, has a tradition of honouring the life of one of their members who has died in a very beautiful way. One of the very first events that Philip attended when we first moved here nearly 4 years ago was to honour someone who had died, and he was very impressed by it.

He told me some of the things that he would want to have happen on this occasion, some of the music he wanted played, stories told and so on, and this will all happen. I can guarantee you will need your tissues!

You are all very welcome to attend.  If you need information about this, or directions, please contact Carin Schwartz on 01309 696266 or carinschwartz@gmail.com. If anyone wants to make donations, please support the mistletoe therapy that Philip was receiving, by visiting www.mistletoeforcancer.org.uk

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Leaving the body

Last night, 1st December,  my dear, darling husband left his body peacefully at 8.19pm.  I say left his body because it became very obvious that there was no longer an inhabitant in that body at that time.  One minute he was there, the next minute, gone.  And that is death. That moment.

River had earlier quoted his partner Amanda (whom he had tended while she had leukaemia) as saying ‘Death takes a moment. Until then, I am living’.  And it is so true.

My dear, sweet man struggled in the last few days of being in the body. I have to say ‘the’ body instead of ‘his’ body because it sounds weird now to refer to him as having a body when it was so clear that the body was just the packaging for his spirit. Who Philip is was simply flowing through that particular form for that particular time. Now he is elsewhere but very close. Can I feel him?  I feel immensely loved, immensely. So, yes, I think I can say I feel him.

In fact,  I could not look at what had been him in that familiar, dear form for much longer after he had died.  River had reminded me that in Buddhism they speak of the spirit floating upwards in to the room, and when I turned my eyes towards the ceiling, it felt so much better – to address my love where he really was, and not in the discarded body.

I will write more about his journey of the last few days, which has been a remarkable one on many levels (what else might I have expected from such a remarkable man?), but I just wanted to share this, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support for him and for me.

This photo was taken in October, when our friends Barbara and Michael were visiting from Los Angeles.

Gorgeous-Philip-1024x768

 

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More changes…

Jane here – and it might only ever be me now.

Today we were told, that despite everything planned to move to the Elgin hospital, there was not an ambulance because of the strike.  Later in the morning, though,  it became obvious that even if there had been, Philip is really too ill to be moved.

My poor dear man’s body has just had enough. His kidneys are no longer working very well, nor his liver; his skin is very sensitive and yellow, and his legs have swollen up with fluid.  The lung infection has proved impossible to shift and the coughing that happens when he tries to move the gunk that is inside is incredibly painful and distressing for him.  He cannot talk much because it easily activates the coughing reflex and he tries to avoid this.

I don’t know what else to say beside these bald facts; maybe I will find a way to say some more another time. Perhaps it is enough simply to state them.

I am full of disbelief that I am even writing this post at all.

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Update on the 2nd procedure

Jane here:  Thank you so much everyone for your prayers and support – the procedure did go ahead today but unfortunately they could not position the tube properly and so it has been unsuccessful yet again.  Not entirely unexpected but nevertheless a shock.

What is going to happen is that Philip will move to Dr. Gray’s hospital in Elgin early next week, continuing with the intravenous feeding, and with a view to organising being at home from there.  He currently has another lung infection (being treated with antibiotics) and we all felt that this was the best move, especially as Elgin is just twenty minutes drive from our home in Forres.   He may be up to posting a blog himself this weekend, I don’t know.

What more can I say?  Have the implications of this really hit me (or him) yet? I don’t know. What I do know is that I have waves of disbelief that this is happening at all, and he, believe it or not, has cracked two jokes today 🙂  What an amazing man I have married!

 

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Webs, circles and wheels of love, healing and light

Philip here.

Whatever shape we call it, once more I pray for your deep support, your prayers to join together in this event, where we open up to the unknown.

We heard this afternoon that the procedure should happen in the morning. I give thanks.  I feel deep gratitude for your loving presence in every moment.

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Things are unpredictable…

Jane here. Things didn’t go entirely to plan today, and my initial reaction is recorded here (with Philip’s permission – he has been too sleepy to post):

Oh my God. It’s 4pm on Friday 18th  November, the big ‘D’ day and they aren’t going to put the tube down!  Unbelievable. The doctor has had 2 emergencies to deal with apparently, and so of course he has run out of time. Ha.

Apparently I, and everyone else, has to learn about not being attached to a) timing of a particular event, and b) the outcome of an event.

Difficult when it is a life or death situation. But this is not the first time we have been presented with this lesson to be learnt.  Nor the first time that we have to see that we are not ‘special cases’, able to bump up the queue, or that just because we think in a certain way, that it will happen.

In fact it is the third time.  I watch in amazement after these events as I see that my mind got caught up in believing and thinking that a particular event was going to happen – the endoscopy the first time, when the actual result was that they couldn’t see anything to do it because of the amount of gunge in Philip’s stomach); it happened again last Friday afternoon when I forgot the first lesson (completely) and was given another outcome that I hadn’t imagined (the opportunity to do the procedure again); and now it has happened for a third time, and I STILL fell for it!  Amazing!  I believed that something will happen just because it was scheduled in a calendar; just because someone in authority had told me it will happen; and just because I wanted it to happen.

It’s true that this is often what does happen of course – but events conspire to interfere often enough for me to question all this.

It must be the same for outcomes too.  How do I know what the outcome of these procedures will be? It looks like there are only 2 options – get a tube down and have successful feeding, or not get a tube down and die (eventually). But how do I know that there aren’t other options that my mind has not thought of?

I don’t.

So the real truth is – I have no clue what is going to happen, or when. The only thing that is sure is what is happening right now, in the moment.  That is all. As Wayne Liquorman says, ‘What is, is’.

It’s quite funny in a weird sort of way – I just got caught again by my own ego!

The good thing is that time does not exist in the spiritual realm, and so everyone’s thoughts, prayers and love is still entirely relevant.  It’s just the mind that thinks that’s not the case…

AND – a scan was done this morning, and the initial results show that there has been no further spread of cancer (this is to be confirmed on Monday by a specialist). This is important because assuming there really is no further spread, there is a possibility of a surgeon placing a Peg feeding system directly into his intestine.  More about this at the end of Monday.

So a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has been thinking of us – it makes a huge difference.

 

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One light, many lamps

Light has played an enormously important part in my life, because from 1973 until 1992 I used the name that Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh (now known as Osho) gave me, which was Swami Anand Pradeep. It means ‘light of bliss’. When I became a disciple and took the name, he explained:

“This light is a gentle light, a light of the self, like a small earthen oil lamp.  A yellow, gentle, warm glow.  When you have a lamp like that in a room, and you bring in a second one, there are two lamp bodies, that is, two physical places for light,  but only one actual light. The light from the two lamps joins together completely.”

It was clear to me that the light he was referring to was of course an analogy for consciousness, and I spent the next twenty years seeking that light within myself, seeking to experience it, and connect beyond this one simple earthen lamp that you could call my body. I always loved the gentle quality of it being an oil lamp.

Jane has just told me about the 12noon praying/meditation tomorrow, and I wanted to make sure people knew what to do. Many people are already holding me in the Light,  for which I am deeply grateful, and I would like to invite all of you to join in with this. How you experience your Light or the Light of Consciousness is of course personal to you, and I welcome your Light in whatever form it takes. Together we will create One Light from many different lamps.

Here’s what I wrote last time:

I have an image of standing in the centre of a circle, and in the centre of me is my tummy, glowing with light. It’s a circle of some kind of beings of light, I don’t know how to describe them beyond that. They are bodies of light, sent from people all around the world who know me, to this special place that is outside of time and space. None of us need directions to get there, we just can go if we wish. We can go at any time and the circle is there. It will be there as long as any one of us chooses it to be so. The whole circle is illuminated with a gentle light such as from an oil lamp or a candle, and the light is the essence of these beings. The light is love, the love we all know, that resides deep within us and is the source and foundation of life.

We can call it consciousness, we can call it light, we can call it love. Our human words are only pointers to the truth. So yesterday Love is the Answer, today it’s Light. I’ll have to get another star!

 

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Praying/meditating for Philip on Friday

Hi everyone, Jane here.

I have just sent this email out to all my contacts, and I invite you to send it too, to anyone you know who might want to join us:

My husband, Philip Rogers, has been in hospital 5 weeks now, being treated for stomach cancer, with which he was diagnosed in October 2010.  He has been, and continues to be, a huge inspiration to many through his amazing writing on his Healing Cancer blog about his physical, spiritual and emotional journey throughout this last year.

 Please join me and many others in holding him in the light at 12noon on this Friday 18th November for a few minutes, as that is the day on which the doctors will try (for the second time) to insert a naso-gastric tube down into his stomach – he currently cannot eat or drink anything at all, not even water.

 All prayers, meditation, healing thoughts very welcome at this time, and/or throughout the day.

 Please forward this email onto anyone whom you think would like to join in.

 Many, many thanks in advance – and many, many thanks to all of you who read this blog and give your comments. And even if you don’t comment, I read the statistics regularly to Philip,  who recently turned to me with wide eyes, and said, ‘160 people on average have been looking each day since I started this. It’s amazing, isn’t it’.   He’s amazing, and he doesn’t know I’m writing this yet, but I want to give him as much support as possible, and thanks to you, I can.

 

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