As I Crossed Over: Caoilte’s Experience

It was winter cold, the morning I returned to her. The night was cresting a wave of a darker sea, brightening slowly with patches glimmering brighter than any sun. The light filled every span of sky, until I felt it filter through skin, it was, and was not mine. Boundaries seemed to dissolve, around me, around all I could see from where I was. With quiet curiosity I felt separation fall away, while keeping whole the one I knew as I.


The murmur of the surrounding voices, growing sharp with concern, began to fade into a song whose melody I once could follow, but to whose chords I could no longer belong. Why did they weep, my fiercest friends, when I was still here, tinged fair against the depth of sky, shining out all I had ever been? Could they not see me, holding out my hands to them, set free from the bindings of age? For a moment, uncertain, I remained, bewildered, torn, unsure which way to turn.

Then, in fully fledged joy, I leapt between silences, having glimpsed the threshold of a door, and then I knew: the cause of their keening, the body huddled on the floor that once answered to my name. I tried, but could not shout to make known I was there, the same. For a moment I wondered if I might remain alone, if I would wander the in between of worlds as I had done in other ways the whole of my life.

And then, suddenly you were there, grasping my outstretched hands in yours, as strong as I tried to remember you. This time we would not let go.

I forgot if there were other things I knew, lost as I was in the light-song of you. Joyful tears sparkled in your eyes, eyes like the bright moon, eyes of my love, I dreamed, mere dreams, to see again. Laughing then, you pulled me into your arms, effortlessly carried me, though between us you’d been so much the smaller of the two.

I did not know how to speak in such a new form, but love never needed words. Together at last, we crossed the bridge of light woven with a thousand stars. I’m here, you’re here, and the felt thoughts blend, both of ours.

For there is now no moment to separate us in time, no sequence of nights and days, no leaving behind. No veil, only mist, that parts to the keen eye, with the colors of belonging, an eternal tide, a dance we’re wandering, life into life, and ending in beginning, we do not die.

There is no death, only change. Playful time might rearrange as we let go of what was never ours to own and emerge, as if from the cocoon of a denser, more solid world, into the vibrant song of being, which we have always known. In joyous abandon, we leap into the arms of those who wait for us, united once more, finally come home. We cross the bridge of becoming, Brilliant and bold, and dance the patterns of the light. In us, there is life.


11 thoughts on “As I Crossed Over: Caoilte’s Experience

    1. Thanks, Ali! There are two explanations, I believe. One is most of us inately, perhaps as part of our evolution, fear the unknown and uncertainty. To most in this world, death is the greatest unknown. And that leads to the second reason. In some cultures, perhaps including ancient Irish culture, there was a language and context for dying. It was a subject readily discussed. People had experiences with those from the other side, and this was anywhere from tolerated to deeply spiritually significant, rather than taboo or met with synicism. We have lost, in western culture, a way to make peace with, attempt to understand and normalize death while we live. That is not only due to misconceptions about spirits and corporeal people who talk with them, but is also reflected in the way we treat, or neglect, our elders. Interestingly for me, I’ve been able to communicate with people from the other side most of my life, and so I’ve never feared dying. I’m afraid, if anything, of gnarly unpleasant ways to go. I know my family and friends, those who are ancient and not ancient, will meet me when it is my time. My ancient family have even said as much as well as, I think just for fun, have occasionally argued among themselves about who will arrive fastest to help me cross over. Lol. 🙂 No I think death is much harder on the corporeally living, particularly those who don’t know how to access the ability to connect with their loved ones after their crossing. I recently listened to an interview on NPR, of a poet, and she talked about losing her partner and how she lived with an aching sense of loss that could never be filled. Yes, when someone crosses over, we grieve. And yes, it is not ever the same. But at the same time, my heart went out to this woman who had no belief system that could make sense of, let alone entertain the possibility that, she and her partner might not be as permanently separated as she feared and they could still communicate in meaningful ways. How much healing would come from discovering that death is a transition, granted a severe one out of being physical, but that no one is ever “lost.”

      1. Yes, I see that completely. But thats why people believe in God and heaven, isnt it? I think you are absolutely right about the way we treat our elders too. Old people seem less afraid of dying, perhaps they somehow find acceptance, whether they have a faith or not, and are ready to move on. Sometimes it frightens me too. But its mostly because I need and want to look after Carys and my boys. Like you, I worry about ways of dying, gnarly ways as you put it. Try not to think of that. Worst of all is thinking Carys might go before me… I so dont want her to be alone. I cant bear that thought.

      2. Well, yes, that is why some people believe in god and heaven. You do need some sort of cultural acceptance of there being some way to communicate with people in the otherworld. It doesn’t have to be a religious belief system, though. What I meant by a way to understand and make sense of experiences of the world beyond is more, integrated, immediate, perhaps, than something like postulating a heaven. (Though don’t get me wrong, that’s definitely helpful, if it works for you.)

        I’m not sure if I’m making sense. A belief system can include all sorts of ways to make sense of experience. For an entirely different example of what I mean, theoretical physics is also a belief system–a best most current theory to frame and make sense of our observations about the very small and very large scale behavior of matter. I usually distinguish a belief system from a belief in something. For instance, the existence of rocks is something you experience, and you make sense of what rocks are through a belief system. But you don’t have to believe in rocks, because they’re right there to interact with. Religion is complicated, because it covers so much ground. Christianity and religions like that center a belief system around a belief in something, a deity or cosmology, whose existence is explained and often justified through the belief system, so which came first becomes a circular inquiry. But there are/were religions and spiritual understandings which built their cosmologies and belief systems on direct or cultural experience, so that experience informed the framework through which to understand it, and the framework was modified through further experience. That left much less to simply believe in, and much more acceptance, and diversity.

        I’ve met a lot of Christians who have a vague sense that their loved ones are in heaven, but are startled and conflicted when you suggest “heaven” is still within communication range, and their loved ones might be visiting them and comforting them with their presence, rather than simply looking after them in a vague way. And also, beliefs about god or the gods can be helpful, but aren’t necessary. I know many spiritual atheists who have had experiences with people from the other side, and it’s pretty undeniable. I’ve even been present for some of their experiences, and we both experienced the same thing. Sometimes all that is needed is an open mind, and then when, I think inevitably, you have an experience with someone from the other side, you won’t be as likely to overlook, dismiss, fear, or doubt it. What belief systems do is provide a framework in which to make sense of experience. If an experience is too counter to our beliefs about how the world works or what we think is and isn’t real, our brains might even tune out the information we’re getting completely. I’ve watched that happen as well.

        Oh, Ali, I can’t even imagine being a parent and contemplating the death of my own child. Honestly, regardless of the fact that people pass on to another world, it’s absolutely devistating for the ones left behind. I wish I could convey this to you in more than words, because words can be so limited. Carys will never be alone. She is not alone now, and she will not be alone in the next world either. This is true for all of us. It’s the people who stay here who feel so alone, even if technically we’re not. It’s a loss, a change, however you put it to yourself. It isn’t the same. But eventually it is possible to experience and know and realize not all is lost. Carys has so much life in her, Ali. I think she will live past all expectations and then some. Sending hugs.

      3. Thank you for that amazing explanation! I didnt know you could have spiritual atheists, but of course if the people of the spirit world exist outside of what we believe, then whether we believe in them is irelevant. It doesnt matter whether you believe in the rock or not, it still exists. Makes perfect sense to me! I just never thought of it that way before. Thank you for what you said about Carys too. When she is released from the prison of her body, maybe she will be able to do more than I can possibly imagine. Its hard for me to stop being mum who does everything for her. Its hard for me to think of her doing that final thing for herself by herself. I dont know what understanding she has, how will she know what to do and where to go? But perhaps not understanding saves her from fear. I often tie myself up in knots thinking about it! Anyway, thank you! Xxx

      4. Of course! 🙂 Ali, when it is Carys time, a long, long time from now, she won’t be more confused than the rest of us. The physical world limits her mind as much as her body. It will all fall away, she will be that radiant shining light she’s always been, without conditions on how to shine. And, more than the rest of us, she may already be more aware of her light while living than we will ever be.

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