More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________
Thursday, August 19, 2010
It was August 5, 1973, the day we had to bury Pop. The funeral was scheduled for 10 a.m. at Levine's on Broad Street. My stomach was a mess and I’d been floating in and out of reality.
“Carl, please take one of these,” Mom begged. “It's just a very mild tranquilizer; it'll calm you down.” I wasn't big on drugs of any kind—perhaps an occasional aspirin or antibiotic when all else failed—but this time I felt it would get me through the events of this dreaded day.
“Okay, I'll take one.” I suppose it helped, but I didn't notice the effect of this miraculous substance designed to dull or numb your emotions.
The black stretch limousine was waiting downstairs in front of Mom's apartment. Arm in arm we escorted her off the elevator and through the manned front door into the signature transport. In an all too brief twenty minutes we arrived at the funeral parlor. Mom, Alan, Arlyn, and I had the option of seeing Pop one last time in a private viewing room before his casket was closed for good. Alan and Mom chose to view his body; I declined. To look at his lifeless shell was too painful. I needed to remember him in life as I'd known him; the vital force of energetic spirit who had become my hero through my years. I knew that if I'd taken that final look, that's what I would see every time I thought about him. Life was for living and I would go on with the strength of the memories that we'd built together.
There were hordes of people coming in to pay their respects. The crowds swelled out into the street as the doors bulged with his honor. Friends, family, business acquaintances, and even nearby strangers were drawn by the hundreds to partake in this farewell to a dignitary, a head of state; even if the political system hadn't recognized him. Everyone who had come in contact with him either directly or indirectly would reverberate with the tremendously hollow vacuum in their lives as the soul known as Sam David left for higher grounds. My only regret was that his stay here was but too brief. The onslaught of respect payers was so persistent, the eulogy was piped through the hallways and lobby so that those who couldn't squeeze through were able to partake in Pop's memorial.
Rabbi Martin Zion, who was Pop's best friend, performed the eulogy which was stunningly beautiful. I don't know how he made it through without breaking down. The flow of tears never ceased in the chapel that morning. After the service, endless lines of people expressed their condolences to us. It was very rewarding to see the immeasurable reach of his omniscient love.
There was a fellow waiting for the next funeral to start who heard Rabbi Martin's remarkable dedication. Arlyn was standing near him. “Who was this man?” he asked to no one in particular. “I wish I'd known him. What a special person he must have been.”
Arlyn nodded, “He was very special, unique...one of a kind.”
As we drove in the limousine to the cemetery, we began to recount the wonderful and silly experiences we'd shared with Pop as a family. They were too numerous to gather but many stood out in our minds and gave us great comfort. Too many families would never have the reward of such unconditional love, friendship and warmth that we were fortunate enough to have enjoyed. We would continue to live life as soon as we felt ready. That is what he would have wanted for us; to take every day to the fullest with no regrets in the end. I took great solace in knowing that even though he wasn't in the physical, he was within reach in the spirit world.
It took an uneasy thirty minutes to get to the burial grounds where so many empty shells lay silently at rest. The labyrinth of concrete and limestone monuments was confusing. After a bit, they all looked the same, only the names changed. Amidst a row of ordinary headstones and grave markers a miniature skyscraper built in special recognition of some lost soul would occasionally protrude skyward. Seemed like a perfect waste of time and money, but I would never presume to impose my beliefs onto anyone else.
Tires crunched on the narrow gravel pathways as they twisted and turned. Soon we arrived at the final destination where my father's vacated body would be interred.
Opening the doors, Alan said, "Here we go."
"Are you okay, Mom?”
“I'm all right,” she whispered softly as she steadied herself, holding onto Alan on one side and me on the other. We walked to the dark green tent which covered the newly dug grave upon which the casket was placed on leveraged straps which would lower it into the concrete housing below after we left.
There was a brief service with Rabbi Zion at the helm administering the traditional prayers and a brief but lovely final farewell to a great man. The sun was pitching its warmth upon us and all was silent. Then, we heard the wonderfully familiar sound of a twin engine airplane circling directly overhead. It was a harmonious sound that only Aztecs made; there was no mistaking it. Looking upward into the most blue of late summer skies, was a red and white Aztec. Mom, Arlyn, and I instinctively looked at one another, nodded with acknowledgment and smiled with tears in our eyes. It was Pop and we knew it with more confidence that we'd ever known anything in our lives. He wouldn't have missed his own funeral. He was obviously a master of projecting his consciousness. As quickly as the Aztec above had appeared, it vanished. Then, a few moments later, it reappeared. My family acknowledged it as an ever-consoling presence of my father.
In the limo on the way back to Mom's apartment, I blurted, “It was Pop, you know—in the Aztec.”
“I know,” she agreed. “I saw it. He was there. I could feel him.”
“Yep, it was Pop all right. Can you believe it, an Aztec overhead at the cemetery? How incredible is that? If that isn't a message, I don't know what is!” That is one presentation that I will never forget; it was stunningly real!
In those days, I had no notion of “living dreams” as they are called, but I was well aware of what they meant. Pop was telling us not to feel bad. He was free and still flying, but he'd be on his own as he made his way to a better place. The crushing pain of his major coronary was merely a release from the binding grasp of the physical which imposed its limits according to the laws of this worldly dimension. We would meet again in a much freer environment. There is no such thing as death; only a change in form as we leave one world and enter another. The only remnants are the fleshy bodies which identified the soul which resided within. The body is a vehicle for movement, for gathering of earthly experiences, for a full range of emotions, for a total collection of situations, obstacles, and solutions as they are overcome. It is the building which houses our black box; a permanent record of events and lessons which will be taken to the next worlds as we are ready to enter them for the continuation of our education. The curriculum never ends; it just changes format with each accumulation of knowledge from the preceding realm.
Born in Philadelphia, Carl David is the third descendant of a four-generation art dealer family specializing in American and European seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings, watercolors, sculptures and drawings. Read more about Carl and his book at http://www.carledavid.com
For more information, you might enjoy reading the complete book More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife. Purchase on Amazon.com