After the fall

When I went to Mass yesterday (I tend to go almost every day) there was a sign on the Church door saying that the pastor had passed away on Saturday. He was quite young and it was an unexpected shock. A very nice, gentle priest, I sat through the Mass feeling the emotions beginning to surface. He was not the priest who converted me to Catholicism, but he did head the parish where I converted (priests relocate every few years). So it’s pretty sad. But on the plus side, afterward it seemed like I could feel his presence a bit as I went about my day, like an angel with his personality stamp watching over me. That’s what it felt like, anyhow.

But what I really want to write about is the photographs I took a few days back. Turns out Father might have actually passed on Friday night (November 1). A friend told me that he was scheduled for a Saturday morning Mass but didn’t show. That’s when some other priests discovered him. He’d already left us by that time. So quite possibly Friday Nov. 1st was his last day on Earth.

Earlier on Nov. 1st I attended Mass at his parish and soon after went outdoors for the photo shoot. I was in super good spirits, just having been to Mass. It felt like God was with me big time during that shoot.

Now, I recall while posting my photos here, thinking it a bit strange that I was captioning one of them with a poem about dying (Joy Will Find a Way). I mean, as far as I know, I’m not ill and I wasn’t aware of anyone else being unwell either. I also called another photo “Ready to Fall.” That photo was of a red maple leaf about to fall off a branch. The red maple leaf is a strong Canadian symbol (central to our flag) and this priest was a very proud Canadian. He never failed to sing Canada’s praises on Canada day (some priests entirely overlook it).

So I’m wondering if on some intuitive, artistic level I was picking up that Father was about to leave us. (A similar mystery occurred when I wrote a rather foreboding poem about “death in the skies” a couple of years before 9/11.) Anyhow, I’m not sure, and quite possibly I was just thinking about Remembrance Day, which is coming soon. But I might also have been subconsciously sensing that these photos were taken on the last day of Father’s walk on Earth.

So I dedicate both of these photos to him. A very nice, intelligent but, above all, humble priest.


  1. My deepest condolences on your loss. Sounds like a great tragedy to your parish. Yes, I believe that we can connect with the passing of loved ones before or during death. I have read countless anecdotal evidence about this. Exactly why that happens I don’t know. But it seems to strongly hint at the interconnectedness of souls at higher levels. One thing is for sure, the death of a loved one helps us to appreciate the gift of life that we have and exsistence suddenly becomes so much more precious.

    I remember reading about Terrence Makenna’s experience of reality as he was in the last stages of his terminal cancer. He said his appreciation for the beauty of creation became so intense that even the sight of a bug walking across a leaf made him burst into tears. I can see that kind of appreciation for the beauty of creation as witnessed through your eyes, coming through in your photo work.

    I once heard a quote that “death gives life its meaning. If it didn’t exsist, we would have to invent it,” because without it, there is no modus operandi for exsistence in the first place. Some people believe that the universe creates life as a physical vessel through which it can experience itself, because it is supposedly the only way it can achieve relative meaning and purpose in differentiation to its all-encompassing wholism at the higher dimensional levels. Part of this theory is that god, the cosmic mind, great spirit (by whatever name it may be called) cyclicly fragments aspects of itself to experience amnesia both on the individual and species level, to then find itself and return to wholeness. That journey supposedly, is the driving force behind spiritual and biological evolution. This theory makes a lot of sense to me.

    I also had a terrifying dream experience at around the time that 911 happened. I was sleeping when it occurred, but from the dream-space I was jolted awake, lathered in sweat to the sound countless voices screaming in sheer terror. Unaware of the event, I thought it was just a regular nightmare. I dried myself off and managed to fall into a light uneasy slumber. When I finally awoke, and shuffled out of bed, I turned on the TV and of course saw those mind-numbing images of the towers going down. I then realized what those screams had been. And for quite a while, I actually wondered if I had just simply woken up into a nightmare again.


  2. Hey Lee, thanks for your kind words. I’m not surprised that you’d have a dream/experience like that around 911. You seem to be open to these things, even though you can also focus into a tight stream of thought and writing. Nice combo! 🙂


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