The Bhagavad Gita teaches that death and rebirth (reincarnation) are both certainties, and so one should not grieve. Rejecting grief is something I’m not sure anyone can do, as it’s a natural process. I often grapple with these concepts as a theosophist who firmly believes in reincarnation. And so this is a difficult subject for me to write about because I continually have this fear of being judged by others for my innermost feelings. This, of course, is ego talking. And I think part of our journey here on earth is to be able to recognize ego for what it is, listen to the lessons it can teach us, and try to rise beyond that.
We all have Teachers. Mentors. I believe these are spirits we have chosen to learn from in each lifetime.
Recently, a friend and mentor of mine passed away. On May 17, Heavy Head departed this plane of existence. Our friendship began when I was doing research about Native Americans for a story I was writing (one I never finished). Heavy Head is Lakota, and so we met to discuss my research and he shared his knowledge with me.
It turned out the purpose of our friendship had nothing to do with writing. This was just what initially connected us. I know, now, that he was a Teacher. And in fact, he paved the way for another Teacher.
Some time after we’d become friends, he called me and said, “You need to go to this lecture in the park at Riverbend. This man is doing a talk on Seminoles.”
I went to the lecture and introduced myself to Richard Procyk, author of Guns Across the Loxahatchee.
While Richard and I first connected over history, we truly bonded when it came to theosophy and mysticism. I had met another Teacher, and Heavy Head was the one who opened the door.
Heavy Head was a wonderful friend. I helped him with fixing his car on a number of occasions.
We enjoyed wine together.
He would call me when he couldn’t get his television to work.
He gave me a few books, which I will always treasure.
He gave me a bag of hair from a brown bear. (Yes, truly!) This came from the rez in North Dakota. I still have it in a special box.
Once, he gifted me with a dreamcatcher and told me that it had been made by a woman who could dance and make rain. I think her name was “Rain Dancer,” but I am not sure.
I will always remember the sound of his laughter and his kind eyes.
I also have a number of the wrappings and feathers that he used in his hair, which he would keep. He gave me several of them. The other night, I dreamt he was standing before me with a bright blue parrot on his arm. He introduced me to the parrot and said, “Isn’t she a pretty bird?”
I told my mother about this, and she said, matter-of-factly, “You have the feathers he kept in his hair. Some of them are from parrots. Parrots repeat what they hear. It means you will always be able to hear Heavy Head’s voice, any time you want.”
Last night, I dreamt that I had been meeting Heavy Head at a crossroads for many, many lifetimes. In the dream, I met him at this place, and he was sitting beside me at a table in a restaurant. We would talk and enjoy each other’s company, but then, at intervals, he would say, “What are we doing here? Why are we here?”
I would reply, “We have been meeting here for a long time, Heavy Head. Don’t you remember? We always meet here.”
He said, “Ah, yes,” and this situation would repeat itself over and over, each time we met.
I can still hear his voice, even now.
And one of the last times I saw him, at his home as his health declined, I held his hand and said, “I love you, Heavy Head.”
“I love you, too,” he told me.
Catch many horses, my friend. I will meet you at the crossroads, again, in the next life.