The Anniversary of the Cover of our Book

She used to focus on the anniversary of my passing, the 1st of every month. This year on the 2nd of December (15 months after I crossed Rainbow Bridge), she realized that she had forgotten to notice the 1st of December. It had come and gone. She felt so guilty until she realized that it was really a good thing. It was a sign of her healing. Oh I was so happy!

One year ago today, she was still grieving bitterly. It had been six months. She walked our trail, lost in her tears. Today she is going back up on the trail to honor the day when she made peace with her grief. To honor the day that her love for me became stronger than her grief over me. 

In Honor of this Anniversary, we are sharing Chapter 86 of 
"Jack McAfghan: Reflections on Life with my Master" by Kate McGahan in it's entirety. 
It was my gift to Kate and it is now our gift to you. 

We are not religious and this is far from being a religious book, but over time things happen that urge us to realize that, beyond a doubt, there is something much bigger than ourselves that is spiritual 
that oversees the design of our life here on earth.  

Jack McAfghan: Reflections on Life with my Master
Chapter 86

It was the first time she hiked the east part of the trail since we walked it together. She went up and up and up to the high places we used to go. She took a breather at the shady little halfway place where we used to stop to rest. She sat down on our big flat rock, looking at the view and picturing me there.

Do you see how you cry when you replay
The memories of my week of pain?
Emotional scars take longer to heal,
Shrapnel fragments cut and hurt!
They live on only in your mind.
Don’t think of those things any more.
That is not who I was.
That is not who I am.
Don’t think of me in pain, I’m not!
Pain and suffering just exist
When you have a body.
Pain is just your messenger,
Telling you it’s time for change.
I had to suffer for had I not,
You’d be clinging to me still,
Wanting me to stay with you.
It hurts when someone won’t let go.
Not only do we have to leave,
We must tear ourselves from one who clings.

Jack…is that you?
She heard me! Oh, She heard me! She spoke to me, her heart to mine!
It is! It is! Yes, it’s me! It’s me!
Oh Jack, she said, I’ve missed you so but I’ve learned I need to let you go. I thought I let you go that night. I didn’t realize I’ve been hanging on. I’m sorry, Jack. I just wanted to do the right thing.
You are. You do. You will. You always do the right thing. You always do the loving thing.
“Is it time for me to scatter your ashes?” she asked me out loud.
Yes, scatter the ashes. They are not who I am. They only represent my death. Don’t think of me as breathing my last breath. Don’t think of how our beautiful life changed overnight. Just think of the gift of our beautiful life.
“You’re so right. We had such a beautiful life.”
Don’t think of Jesus on the cross. This is not how he wants to be remembered either. Set him free from the cross in your mind so he also can rise from your dead. He is not dead! I am not dead! Set us free! By setting us free you set yourself free. Life goes far beyond what you can see or even imagine.
She was crying again, this time because she understood completely that it was time to close this chapter of her grief. She would no longer be death’s victim. She knew it was finally time; it was time to let me go.

Suddenly the sound of a great gust of wind approached her from behind. A big cloud of black birds, twenty or more, flew within inches of her head. The group vibration was strong. As she recovered from that, one final bird brought up the rear, skimming the space over her left shoulder. The experience gave her goose bumps much like the ones she sustained when the hummingbird moth visited her on the other trail that day.

Have you noticed that every time you cry something comes and interrupts your tears? That is me. I am unhappy to be the source of your grief. I want you to be happy when you think of me.
“How,” she asked, “how do I get over you?”

When you remain attached to me,
You keep the chain around my neck.
Please free me from your leash of love.
By doing so, you free yourself.
Remember how I was in life,
Always right beside you?
Always at your feet!
You did not have a leash on me.
There was no fence. I was not chained.
I stayed close by because I loved.
Don’t ever question where I’ve gone or
Where I am when you can’t see.
There’s nowhere else I am and
There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

She took a deep breath. “I love you, Jack. I now know what I have to do.”

She resumed walking the trail towards home. The crowd of birds still gathered ahead in the orchard of trees at the curve of the trail. As she rounded the curve, a great view of the western sky opened up. Painted into the setting sun was a cross as straight as could be. It took her breath away. She pulled out her phone and took a picture of it and that picture became the cover of this book.

c. 2015 by Kate McGahan

Yes, Joey was on the trail that day.  He will tell his own story some day. 

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