Dying: A Natural Passage by Denys Cope

I have been writing a lot of poetry and prose on death and grief lately because  of the recent death of a beloved friend.  It was a very difficult passage in my life that we all move through.  I was highly fortunate to witness and share (from afar) my friend’s two-year journey through all the stages of ovarian cancer.  She chose quality of life by using natural means to walk through the disease.  Her courage and grace were unparalleled and a  healing light for all of us who were touched by her life.

I visited my friend Robin this past July for the last time to celebrate her sixtieth birthday and share our last goodbye and lasting love.  It was extremely difficult for me to come to terms with her illness and dying after a friendship that spanned forty-two years.  She was a wonder – full playmate with fairy-like spirit.  When I visited – she and her partner Marsie were reading a very important book: Dying: A Natural Passage  by Denys Cope, a hospice nurse for over forty years.  Robin suggested that I read it too.  I did read it and along with my friends’ example, Denys’ book changed my outlook from one of deep sorrow and suffering to one of rebirth and love through the natural grief.  Dying: A Natural Passage is a hands-on, easy-to-read practical guide that gives loved ones real tools needed to support the spiritual and very down-to-earth business of death, dying and continuing life with courage, dignity and clarity.  I cannot emphasize the word ‘practical’ enough.  I have since purchased several copies so that I can keep one for myself and share the rest with friends.  Through the difficult and diligent work of people like Denys and all hospice practitioners – very many of us and our loved ones dealing with death are comforted and healed inside and out by our last choices before passing into a new life.  My friends and I are forever grateful to Denys and all hospice workers for gently teaching us that there is a peaceful and healthy way to pass into a new life.  Most highly recommended reading for everyone.  A wise and easy book to read.

To learn more about her work, visit http://www.denyscope.com


In Native American wisdom, that my friend Robin so cherished  ~ “Wholeness is not seen as the duration one has lived but rather the fullness with which one enters each complete moment.”     Quote from the book Who Dies by Stephen and Ondrea Levine

Thank you to all family,  friends and fellow bloggers from around the globe who so sensitively supported me through this difficult time and commented with true compassion.


On Getting Lost

It’s good to get lost sometimes.  Sometimes on the road and sometimes in general.  It can open the way to a new vista both literally and figuratively.  I got lost the other night on my way to an art center in another county.  I googled the directions haphazardly (no GPS), as I am prone to do, and figured that I could easily find my way.  An hour past my designated arrival time with the sun setting and sensing that I passed my destination, I started my usual inner dialog getting annoyed with me for yet again getting in the car without really knowing where I was going yada yada yada.  However,  I found myself mostly alone on a winding rural road that led me through fields of goldenrod, odd striped cows (or bulls) and semi-wild meadows.  It was almost sublime, and I vowed to return with camera in hand.  This (Sunday) morning I retraced my tire tracks and happily discovered a beautiful area of New Jersey within twenty minutes of my home.  And on my ride to there – I solved a dilemma that had been plaguing my painting and artwork.  In every way lately – on the road – at my easel – and above all in my daily life – I am finding a new and better way after finally giving in to getting lost.


 lost in its bloom the goldenrod alters my perspective

ag~ 2012




A Summer Moon

A Summer Moon

born to
a summer moon
always yours
to hold

with golden curls
that honeycomb
the morning’s
early glow

through fields
woods and meadows
on pond seas

we play
catching rides
on children’s swings
laughing in the breeze

we hunt seaglass
the color of your eyes
tumbled by the shore’s
rocky waves

pray to the goddess
and converse
with trees
amongst the craggy graves

the warmth of tea
bread and butter
a smile through tears
on your face

we watch two eagles
soar and glide
alone and together
hearts fill with grace

this breath
of life but
a firefly’s

catch it
the sweet dimple
of evening’s
soft light

born to
a summer moon
always yours
to hold

a shooting star
blessed with grace
finds her way

for Robin ~ beloved friend forever

Rest In Peace ~ July 18, 1952 – August 13, 2012


Healing Through Grief ~ part two.

I’m listening God.

Thank you.

Play. Show up not slow up with your painting and writing. You are gathering info and insight and color knowledge – do not worry about the end result. You need to learn / are learning what not to do as well as to do. Stay present and open up to the process of the garden design to allow freshness and new color to develop / unfold. Pay attention to details – show up – breathe in the beauty – breathe in the sky.

pink tulips
and dandelion
alone not alone

Alone not alone – the dichotomy – connected so strong to spirit / light / love / earth / air / stars / water – each other – alone to see to respond to awaken to heal to grow – spring opens you up – the same as tulips. Crocus energy as Robin says – despite winter elements – reaches for the sky.

pink tulips breathe in the sky

The key is to keep writing and painting (creating). Paint the pinkness of the tulips. Paint the fragrance of light. The tulips capture / grow this. The stillness yet the motion of opening growing. Try many brushstrokes – the color will lead / decide – the strokes will show the growth / opening – the texture carries the fragrance too. Use music (listen) to feel the light color fragrance vibration. The touch of a small brush – edges in poetry and painting – delicate real / illusionary yet real to the eye. Paint for the soul – include the eye – ear – nose – touch of the hand – warmth or cool of the skin – taste of the tongue – breathe it all in – capture the essence of the flower.

Walk into the bloom – stay awhile. Flowers always speak to artists in color light fragrance. Capture the petals glow – the dichotomy again – something so fragile yet so strong like yourself. Call in your own essence – that part of you that is flower-like – the freedom to grow in the sun, breathe in the sky, color the earth. Use your connection to paint / poet this. Call to the tulips’ energy and ask for help / guidance and the essence. Ask the sky for help too – imagination and sight – another dichotomy all wonderful. Show up and allow the breeze to carry your spirit into work – it’s all the same. Allow the fragrance to permeate all around you – let your soul flow – be unafraid to blend the two – reality and imagination – quietly a sophistication results.

cornflower blue
saying I love you
over and over

ag ~ 2012

wind in the trees
wind in the grass
wind in my dance

With gratitude, Andrea

Healing Through Grief ~ part one.

God ~ what is it that I / we need to know for my / our life now?

Thanks for asking.

That pain is part bliss – that part of bliss that is love removed / changed / growing in a different form and therefore feels like loss / pain. Grief is a blessing. A blessing of loving so greatly that loss hurts for awhile. In time, all grief fades and we share once again in the beauty of that life we loved / love so deeply. That love never fades – it actually grows because it is purer – richer – wholer – more neutral.

You’ve / we’ve reached that stage of growth grief that is so much a fabric of human life on earth. The rotting log knows no such emotion – it is and that is what we are growing towards – but first the illusion of loss and therefore grief.

The grief you hold for Robin now is expanding you and allowing you to heal. If there is no decay / loss how can you be / become if there is no fade to nothing? Nothing is neutral – nothing is healing – nothing is before the seed. You understand the earth and nature so well – it’s cycles include death, decay and rebirth. All that is past is past and you truly loved your friend in the moment – she will not be gone – just nearby in a different (for you) dimension. Soulmates do not part – merely separate on earth for good reason to continue the bonding and wholeness through death and pain. See the rebirth – the light – the tender and gentle energy expanding. Your loss is your perception of her love for you dying / passing with her – it is here forever. No end to love = energy. You need only look to the stars to see her light blue eyes and smile. Do not mourn what is past as loss – it is always with you. You need only access the feelings in your heart.

To be continued. My conversation with God / Spirit / Intuitive Self

ag ~ January 2012