i received a postcard from my pixie sister last week. i read it quickly before i left town. i took in the image. i read the words. i set the postcard on the stack of mail to deal with when i returned home. i sat with the postcard on sunday night. i read the postcard again. i stared at the photo. i read the postcard a third time as i began writing a response letter. the postcard has remained photo-side-up on my counter. i picked up the postcard again and read it a fourth time while i ate lunch today. only on the fourth reading did my brain actually see, read, hear, feel the last line she had written:
“lee’s birthday was yesterday.”
pixie sister and i met a lifetime ago in lee’s living room. for each of us, lee had been our reiki teacher and mentor for a few years before the day pixie sister and i met each other. lee had invited pixie sister and i to join her as she initiated a new group of reiki students. i arrived late, just before a group meditation. although we hadn’t yet spoken to each other, pixie sister and i instantly recognized our connection and irrepressibly giggled throughout the entire meditation because our sweetly mischievous souls couldn’t contain our delight at finding each other again in this incarnation. we giggled together the rest of the afternoon. we’ve been pixie sisters for always (since before rainbows, rain, sun, and moon were created) and our friendship reunited in this lifetime on that day.
lee committed suicide a decade later. technically, she died of complications from alcoholism, but in my mind i filed her death as a suicide, because lee knew for decades that drinking would kill her if she didn’t stop. she had stopped. during the years lee was my reiki teacher and mentor, she was sober. later, lee moved to her personal paradise of hawaii and started drinking again and lost nearly everything and moved back to texas. after returning to texas, lee did a few stints in rehab, quit drinking a few times, until she began drinking in earnest and didn’t stop until drinking killed her.
pixie sister remained closer to lee than i did. i knew an earlier vesion of lee, having met her a couple years before pixie sister knew her. i learned everything i could learn from lee and then moved on to other teachers and lessons and methodologies. i had already begun to move away from lee before i met pixie sister, before lee left her husband, older daughter, and beautiful house. i only saw lee twice more after the day i met pixie sister in lee’s living room.
in reiki (and in many alternative modalities), a student is initiated according to a lineage. my reiki lineage comes through lee. i connect with lee’s spirit every time i use reiki, honoring the wisdom she taught me. the lee i remember was fiercely powerful. i would have been afraid of her, except she immediately nurtured me with her jaguar mother spirit and taught me how to begin healing myself of health issues for which western medicine has no known causes and no known cures.
a good teacher can measure her effectiveness by students who exceed the teacher in skills and mastery. lee was a good teacher. pixie sister and i both exceeded lee. pixie sister and i didn’t kill ourselves, which automatically offers evidence that pixie sister and i exceeded lee. pixie sister is not an addict. i am a recovering addict. most likely, pixie sister and i will live long lives and die of old age. between here and death, pixie sister and i continue healing.
lee’s birthday was last week.
i couldn’t see, read, hear, feel that line the first three times i read it. there are some losses that were buried long ago but never grieved. lee is one of mine. lee’s suicide (or death by complications from alcoholism, if you prefer) brings up feelings of anger and sadness and despair and more anger and hopelessness and more anger and more sadness and an emptiness and an irreplaceable loss. supposedly we teach what we want most to learn. lee taught me how to heal myself. i wish she had learned how to heal herself. or i wish she had stayed alive long enough for me to teach her. instead, lee keeps teaching me through her death by giving me another opportunity to forgive, release, love unconditionally, grieve, and breathe.