Suddenly His Head Disappeared in Light

Eileen Haight

Eileen Haight began reading the Teaching of Adi Da in 1973. She became a formal devotee in 1980. A member of the Adidam Mate Moce (death and dying) Guild, Eileen presently lives and serves in the devotee community in Trinidad, California.

As this story begins, Eileen's husband Joe had been suffering for nine years from Alzheimer's disease. The following story is from Eileen's book, Alzheimer's Caregivers: The Choice of Love, which you can obtain here.

Joe and Eileen Haight

Joe died at 4:55 p.m., November 7th, 2003, in the most peaceful and easeful manner.

I received a call one morning from the nursing home, telling me that Joe was failing rapidly and that I should come. Adi Da was informed immediately, and I requested His Blessings for Joe.

I had moved away from our ranch and was now living in a ladies’ household near The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary in Lake County (California). My friend and housemate, Ellen, went with me. When we arrived, Joe seemed to be having trouble breathing and was being given oxygen.

The nursing staff moved Joe's roommate to another room to give us privacy. We started preparing. After straightening up the room, we placed flowers and a picture of Beloved Adi Da on the table at the foot of his bed. We placed a CD player on the side table and inserted a CD of a peaceful devotional chant.

That first afternoon and night, Ellen and I took turns reading Adi Da's Teaching aloud to Joe, meditating, and performing the Laying on of Hands. We also took turns resting and sleeping, so that we could serve Joe continuously throughout the night.

The next day his daughter Jeanne arrived. Before Joe entered the nursing home, I thought Jeanne and I had agreed on Joe's funeral arrangements, that there would be no embalming, that the body would be undisturbed for three days at the funeral home before he was cremated, and that I would be able to have a three-day vigil. Now she was having second thoughts, especially about the three-day vigil. She seemed very upset and concerned about the plans. I understood that people express their grief in different ways that the Adidam approach to serving the dying was unknown to her, and I could see I hadn't really explained our approach to her fully. I also understood that this needed to be resolved, as my relationship with her was very dear to me. Through my using the Devotional Prayer of Changes, this occurred Gracefully. In the meantime, Ellen went home and Helen Kate, Roy, and many other family members came and went.

It took four days for Joe to die. When I remembered that Joe’s process was in Adi Da's sphere, not mine, I decided to give up my plans, have trust and faith, and surrender the process to Him.

I noticed that when Jeanne sat next to Joe and held his hand, he smiled the first smile we had seen since Ellen and I arrived. She had only visited Joe once or twice in the nursing home; now she and her husband and her grown children were having a reunion, and even though Joe could not speak, I knew this was exactly what he needed before he could peacefully leave this world.

Then Carol, Joe's daughter-in-law, arrived and as it turned out, she became a catalyst to help Jeanne and I come to a happy agreement about Joe's final arrangements.

A one-time practicing doctor, Carol had given up her practice due to an allergy to surgical gloves. She now had a TV show where she answered medical questions and interviewed people who were contributing to better health. When she arrived, she basically started interviewing me about Adidam. Jeanne was sitting there listening. At last, I had an opportunity to talk to both of them about Adi Da and Adidam. Carol asked questions about the Teaching, the community, the founder, and our way of life. She asked about our practices regarding marriage, sex, and the care of children.

"What about the ritual you perform at death?" she asked.

As I answered her questions, I felt Adi Da's Presence. I was so completely happy. I thought of all the years I had been involved in the Teaching and had tried to interest my children and stepchildren in this Teaching, which was and is the most important aspect of my life. I felt this opportunity to talk to Jeanne and Carol was indeed a Blessing.

As a result, Jeanne came to understand why it was important to me to follow Adi Da's Wisdom and Instructions about death and dying. We came to a happy agreement, compromising on one or two issues. We had previously and still agreed that Joe's ashes would be buried in the family plot in Redlands and that Jeanne would plan a memorial ceremony there for family and friends in Southern California.

* * *

Just before Joe died on Friday, Jeanne left on an errand. The doctor came in to check on Joe. "It won't be long now", he said. I closed the curtains around the bed and performed the Laying on of Hands from Joe's feet to his head, which is suggested in Adi Da's book Easy Death. While I did this I chanted a chant called "Surrender the Body into the Life-Current."

Joe's breath became soft, smooth, and easy. Then he just stopped breathing. I waited a while to see if he would start breathing again, but he didn't, so I checked his pulse. There was none. Then there was a soft gurgling sound. I stood there a few more moments looking at his face — and suddenly his head disappeared in light . . . and all I could see was this bright light. Then the whole body was only light and the room was only light.

"I am hallucinating", I said to myself. Then the body reappeared.

Then, as if Adi Da was saying "Do you doubt me?", the head disappeared again into light . . . and the whole body . . . and the whole room. I felt Adi Da's Spiritual Presence, and I also felt that Joe was gone. I felt the vigil had occurred and that the Blessing had been more than perfect.

* * *

After the nurse in charge was called to confirm Joe's death, I had two hours alone with the body to meditate. Jeanne returned, and the funeral home driver arrived and took the body to the funeral home, where it would be undisturbed for three days. We were welcome to sit with the body as much as we desired.

It was dark when Jeanne and I left the nursing home. She pointed up to the sky at the full moon and said, "Isn't it beautiful?"

"Yes, more than beautiful!" I agreed. She had no idea that the full moon was a sacred symbol. For me, it is a reminder of the Bright, the Divine Source of all beings.

All through Joe's illness, I felt informed and Blessed by Adi Da Samraj — through His written word, through the community of His devotees, and through His very Person and the Relationship He offers to me and everyone. Because of my Beloved Adi Da Samraj, being Joe's caretaker had become an enjoyment rather than an ordeal.

I saw that Joe, too, was given profound Help and Blessing. Month by month, over the nine years of the Alzheimer's disease process, I saw Joe transformed from a fearful, angry person at the beginning of his illness to a calm, peaceful, and even humorous person who peacefully transitioned out of this realm into the Divine Embrace of the "Bright" Spiritual Presence of Adi Da Samraj.

Adi Da Instructed us, Guided us, and Healed our breaking hearts.


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Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
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