Paul Six took his final breath on August 22, 2012 at 7:10 am. He died as he lived, with an acceptance of what is, with a sense of humor, and with grace. All of you who knew Paul were undoubtedly blessed, as was I, with his wisdom, insight and willingness to give of himself fully. We knew he was a great soul. Just how great was revealed even more at his life’s completion.
I had the challenge and the blessing of being with Paul during his unexpected illness. He came to spend his 70th birthday with me and my husband, Tomas. I could see he was not well, and wanted to take him to a doctor. He wanted to wait until he returned to his home in Palm Springs. The day he was to leave, it was finally obvious to him that he had to get medical help. I took him to the emergency room, saw him through his intensive care experience where he underwent many tests, and was with him when the doctors told him the results they found: kidney failure, heart operating at 10%, and large cancerous tumor in his bladder.
Given the choice to undergo chemo, radiation and, if he survived this, a life on dialysis, or let nature take its course, Paul chose the latter. He told me that he felt complete; that he had done everything he had wanted to do, and that he did not fear death. The doctors gave him two weeks to one month to live, and since he could not go home, I sent out a letter to the Doorway Into Light organization here on Maui, and ccâ€™d Heather Parsons, Â (a certified death midwife) asking if they knew of anyone with a home with an extra bedroom. I explained the situation; that we needed a place where I could call in hospice to care for Paul as he made his transition.
Heather and her beloved husband Rob answered the call. They had only one bedroom, and so moved their bed into the living room so Paul could take their room.Â This was beyond anything I could have imagined.Â Paulâ€™s soul was obviously orchestrating everything, and we all got to watch the miracles as they unfolded, one by one.
Heather, (and I) became his primary caregivers. Heather is an angel thinly disguised as a human. She was phenomenal with Paul, caring for him like a precious friend. In addition, she has all the skills, so Paul felt very safe with her.
Other friends from Maui, Sher and B showed up to help.Â Two friends from the mainland Randy and Lucinda flew over, and along with Tomas and Rob, the 8 of us became the core family that watched over Paul 24/7 to make sure he was well cared for. The hospice nurses and helpers were caring and supportive. Everyone who found their way to Paul’s bedside commented on his presence and the peace that exuded from him.
One of the things I learned is that dying (unless it is sudden) is an active process. It is the final work that we must do to let go of our bodies, our emotional attachments, our mental constructs and thought processes, and finally our breath, the life force that animates us.
A wall hanging in our office says:
What matters most is
How well did you live
How well did you love
How well did you learn to let go
On all of the above, Paul excelled. He lived well and gave love through his exceptional gifts. His final gift was showing us all how to let go with a grace that opened our hearts wider than we could have imagined.
I wanted to share with you some of the teachings Heather and I received from Paul during this profound experience. Most of these were one-linersâ€”many that came when he was in that altered space between the worlds, in his final three weeks.
â€œWe are moving away from singularity toward the collective mind and heart.â€
â€œThere are two worlds. One is the world of questions. The other is the world of answers, and they are interconnected.â€
â€œWe have to tell people. They think it’s “out there”. Eternal life is inside.â€
â€œI believe everything that happens is destiny.â€
â€œIf you dedicate yourself to spirit, you have a kind of protection. It’s the way to grace.â€
â€œLetâ€™s all see how we can support each other personally and professionally.â€
â€œEverything you want is available to you. You might need help to bring it out more.â€
â€œWhat a transformation. It’s so beautiful. It’s so beautiful.â€
â€œThis is profound, deep, meaningful and passionate.â€
There were things Paul said that indicated he was ready to goâ€”some of them were really funny.
â€œWill you help me get to the airport on a certain day and year?â€
â€œAt some time will people get tired of this and move on?â€
â€œIs everyone getting off at this stop?â€
â€œI want to log out.â€
â€œThey are preparing a new personality for me.â€
â€œWill you help me with something please? Â Will you open the door for me?â€
â€œWhen can I go upstairs?â€
â€œA cruise might be a nice way to go.â€
â€œI feel myself slipping away, but itâ€™s not hard.â€
All of Paulâ€™s caregivers expressed gratitude to be with him during his time of transition. Randy prepared his favorite foods. Heather massaged him daily.
Sher and B drove an hour each way daily to sit with Paul. Lucinda sat with him at night, and with little sleep, was always cheerful. Tomas bathed him.
We all let him know how much we loved him, and that we were happy he was with us. We continually made sure he was as comfortable as possible. He, in turn, showed us how graceful the dying process can be.
During these final days, Brenda RobardsÂ a student of Paulâ€™s came to spend time with Paul and during this visit, it became clear to Paul that Brenda was one person that could shoulder his mantle and pass on his work. He instructed her to write a book, and that he would help her from the other side. Brenda is already receiving messages.
Three days before Paul died, Heather and I read his book to him, The Great Love. The essence of his wisdom is simply and clearly shared in delightful story form that will live on. If you want Paulâ€™s advice on how to make your life really work, you will find it in his book!
My sincere hope is that we all receive the gift of being surrounded by loving family and friends when it is our time, and that we can let go as gracefully as Paul. It will be our final gift to the ones we love.
A Heart Full of Gratitude and wishing you Bountiful Blessings,
Joan Heartfield, PhD
Paulâ€™s Maui friend since 1976
If you have a story about Paul to share, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be published for others to read.