The Arc of a Life

Bon Voyage, Terry

Last week a man I knew succumbed to brain cancer. He was one of the senior figures in the local metaphysical community — he’d had stores and expo booths and ‘centers’ and so on for decades. He was something of a character — passionate about Harley Davidsons, for instance, and spent much time cruising with biker buddies in his day. He also had a penchant for dallying with women he met along the way (working his Libran charm), to the perpetual despair of his wife, who ultimately divorced him after many years of hanging in a not-married, not-legally-divorced limbo, while their kids grew up. He had a distinct streak of rascal in him, and commented regularly that he regretted nothing.

I met Terry about 10 years ago, when I’d heard hethoth
was running groups at his center on a subject of interest to me. After attending one group, Terry suddenly started calling me for long conversations. He hadn’t even realized at first that I had been to his center; he’d received my card from another (forgotten) source, and just called me — a stranger — to discuss this interest he’d heard we share. And then he called again, and again…

Meanwhile, I wasn’t particularly resonating with his groups, and stopped attending. But one thing that did come of this crossing-of-paths was friendship with a woman who was Terry’s primary support person at the center. Turned out she was much more than “support” for a long time. However, what eventually transpired was, Terry just suddenly told her to leave — him, the center, everything.

She was devastated; he was The One to her, despite
his fuzzy marital status at the time (among other questionables). The center was also
her community. When he banished her from himself and everything/everyone else there… well. She went into a vortex of tremendous pain and darkness, and began phoning and emailing me with every detail of her experience — the relationship with Terry, her misery, all this stuff she had kept bottled up for years — because he was a teacher/therapist, after all, and she had loved him and remained discreet.

During this terribly awkward period, I had Terry calling for long philosophical talks, during which he also “explained” his relationship with this woman; and then she would call to continue her processing-of-everything, and these two stories (he said/she said) were vastly different. Terry was clearly trying to keep a certain image of himself intact, and the woman’s stinging emotions were exploding like the fermented contents under pressure they’d been for so long. Being in the middle of all this fast became a source of considerable unease for me; I ended the “chats” with Terry, and have maintained a friendship with the woman to this day.

Fast-forward to more recent years. Terry was still running his center, and had found a woman to partner with in the business. She became a very popular draw for the suburban seekers who frequented their programs. She also had more business and legal savvy than Terry, so he had quite a nice thing going for awhile. It was during this time he graciously encouraged me to run a few of my own experimental groups there, for which I was appreciative. The center flourished; the partner’s contribution was extensive — via her popularity and also her financial ability to bring many upgrades to operations. However, again, behind the scenes, this partner and Terry had something going on that soured, and she pulled out, leaving him with quite a void that would never again be filled.

Downward Spiral

All kinds of trouble ensued from that point: a new “assistant” came to help him, who blatantly flaunted to anyone within range that their relationship was “more.” Curiously, he seemed happy to let her go on like this; what it was about this one that was different than the others to him? we wondered. (I’m suspecting his advancing age was an influence; she was very young… ) However, she betrayed him, taking anything of value that she could from the center — and trotting over to someone else with it all, literally giving the other guy a “spiritual-center-in-a-kit” with which he opened his own similar business, downtown! He even named it almost verbatim the name of Terry’s place. It was incredible. Had Terry done something to make this woman angry enough to retaliate like this?  …Or had she always perceived him as a “mark” to be swindled this way?

Next up, in short order: the river next to the center flooded, washing out the entire place and its contents. (Quite a metaphor for all the emotional turmoil that had been wrought there!) Complete disaster for Terry, who apparently had no insurance to help with his losses. End of center, and a heartbreaking time for him. Almost immediately thereafter, he started suffering ‘spells,’ which were ultimately diagnosed as seizures due to brain tumors.

At this point, re-enter both his ex-wife and my friend, the “banished lover.” The ex — living on very modest means — found herself taking care of all of Terry’s worldly affairs as his health deteriorated. The burden she assumed was formidable; no point in going into detail. Then, in an interesting twist, my friend also stepped back into the picture, and became a source of primary emotional support for Terry, visiting him almost daily in the hospital, as he was letting go of life. She drove a long way each day to pay these visits, again offering him her love as his time neared, which he seemed to enjoy.

What was interesting to see (from my “bleacher seat” in this whole drama), was these two women — former enemies flanking this man at one time — becoming friends and support for one another. These two souls, of all the people in Terry’s life, stuck it out with him to the bitter end. My friend remarked Terry was her main teacher (not to mention love) in this life, and even on his deathbed her learning continued… if not by his intention. Her compassion for him was, in turn, a learning experience for me! She has inspired me in recent months with her giving spirit.

Terry transitioned within days of Ted Kennedy’s passing of the same disease. My friend (remaining anonymous here, as are all parties involved) discovered his two young-adult kids outside the hospital upon her daily-visit arrival; they told her she had missed him by about an hour. She went inside to console his ex, and the two of them ended up spending hours at a restaurant, talking it all out about this man they both loved more than anyone. They had plenty to share with one another: good, bad, and downright ugly.

Such was the arc of one man’s life. Kind of sounds like a new age soap opera, doesn’t it.

Terry’s wishes were to be cremated, and his ashes scattered upon the Nile. (He was into all things Egyptian. His remains, however, will not likely make it to Egypt, though the actual plan has not yet been revealed.)  My friend and I have pondered what kind of afterlife scenario might have greeted him, and what he’s been up to since crossing the great river. We also wondered — why brain cancer? He was all about the mind; any connection? Perhaps now this and many questions he had about the greater scheme of things have come to light. God speed, Terry.

(Post script: After finishing this post, I happened to hear an excerpt of an interview with Mona Lisa Schultz, the medical intuitive, in which she claimed that when a person’s crown chakra is blocked, it it indicative of their disconnection from Source, and what is likely to follow is a fatal disease. It wouldn’t surprise me if Terry’s last couple of years of tragedy instigated a disconnect like this. I send him prayers… )


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