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Hefe Tributes & Stories
Pete A. Nicholson
It was on a wooded mountain in a strange new land where I first met the man who would have such a remarkable influence on my life. He was bald and quiet, and unlike anyone I’d ever met before; warm but reserved, fiercely bright, and clearly serious about those few things worth being serious about, but in a manner shot through with an anarchic humour that resonated with me instantly, in my marrow. My brother introduced us, and within a few days, it seemed, I’d moved into his house on Cobb Mountain. We spent nights at the bath house, which he tended; languorous afternoons swimming in Mother’s Bed. We laughed, wildly, in the manner of two people revelling in a deep vein of humour seldom shared. This did not feel like a first meeting. I would quickly find, in my new–old brother, a true and lasting inspiration in my practice, my art and my manhood that is now irreducibly part of who I am.
Hef was a complete original. Wild, in the best and truest sense. Tirelessly generous and immensely strong, he was a catalysing force, always drawing his friends back to The Great Matter, which, throughout his life, he looked directly in the eye. Hef’s example helped teach me that life is not just about surviving and feeling alright in the midst of things that are clearly not alright, but about discovering what Lies Beyond and Living That, always. I can think of no greater gift from a friend.
I was fortunate enough to spend some years editing Hef’s writing. The thing that struck me most aboutHef as a writer was not his obvious and abundant talent, dazzling as that was, but the work he put those gifts to––his unwavering drive to refine that kernel of genius into something he felt worth a damn.
One of my lasting visions of Hef is his sitting up on the island of his bed, the floor around him scattered with scrunched up, discarded drafts. Hef’s exacting nature with his art was never a neurotic reach for some imagined perfection, but simply the burning to desire to have his writing communicate the heart, and no less. An exceptionally hard thing to do well, and he knew it better than anyone I’ve ever met. The writing he leaves us with sings with the fruits of this lifelong labour.
It is heartbreaking that Hef has passed, but this moment does not feel at all a dark one. I visited Hef a few weeks ago, which was a great, great gift. His sign was incredibly Bright. In these last weeks, with the eloquence, depth and precision I have only known him capable of, he communicated his peace with his illness, and his understanding of the greater process it was a part of. Amid the sorrow of the past days, I have wondered: How heavy hearted can you be when someone so dear to you is so deeply at peace, so absorbed in What Is Great? When this lover is resting, by Grace, in that one thing that matters in this place? Hef’s sign, one of utter trust and faith in his Guru, makes me speechless with gratitude and joy.
I will forever be grateful that I came to know Hef in this life, that we had the time we had, that his life bore such great fruits. Death is a thing we seldom talk about, because in the context of ordinary life it is terrifying. But Hef did not live an ordinary life, and his transition feels of a different kind altogether. It feels like an opening, simple and happy, to whatever needs to come next in his dance with his Lover. Whatever that is, Hef, may it be bright, and may the pain be gone.
I thank you, Hefe, for a great many things. I thank you for showing me how to be a man and a devotee, and to be that in a way that is not dry, humourless or about appearances of any kind, but that is truly serious and straight with the Guru, and lived in His Loving, Giving, Utterly No Bullshit, Riotous Spirit. Your fierce commitment to our Guru and your vows will always serve as inspiration, reminder, and kick in the ass.
I thank you, Hef, for being a true and great friend, the likes of which are so rare on this earth.
I love you deeply, fiercely, and totally, Hefe, in a way words do no justice to. I wish you great Joy and Peace, always, and take great solace in knowing you left us and continue on so deeply at rest.
My dearest brother, you touched so many people in your life, and we are all better for it. May your path from here be utterly full of the Grace you cleaved yourself to so profoundly while you were here. May you be Forever in His Embrace.
I love you.
Speaking to the one and only one who animated as Da Don Hefenanda-
Thank you for inviting me to speak at your memorial, it is an honor. This is the first time I have spoken to you directly since your transition, and I will speak to you from time to time as you live on in my heart. You are both a gurubhai and a brother from another mother. I have no doubt that we have been actual siblings in another life, because you have always been a most brotherly brother, as if of the very same flesh and blood, with very different characteristics that cross over in many different ways. Our connection will absolutely live on in the sphere of our Beloved Master's Embrace, forever.
I would say rest in peace, only it feels like whilst your body is at rest, the one who animated that body is free, more active, and more alive than ever. During our last supper together, looking out on Santa Monica beach, the meteor shower that occurred that night was a sign of the Blessings that showered upon you, and that you passed on to others with absolute generosity of heart in so many directions, with so many different kinds of people.
I said to you many times throughout your battle with Lymphoma that no matter what happened, we would never be apart. Well, you better fucking believe it motherfucker. I wish you God-Speed to the Domain of Light, and I am with you there and here, now and forever. I love you with all my heart. I wish I could bitch-slap death in the face for taking you away from us here, but only in the sense that losing one you love so dearly in the flesh is never quite acceptable to the heart. So, yes. I’m heartbroken that we won’t get to live and serve together again in this life, but I am also ecstatic for the life you lived. I am honored to have shared our deepest heart impulse to invoke, serve, and protect our Beloved Masters Avataric Presence in this world.
I take it as a wonderful sign that the date of the 7th, of your transition, was also the date of Santosha, of Divine Satisfaction, Perfect Contentment and Completion of submission to the world.
I am amazed at how complex and multi-faceted are the many layers of the Don, and this is obvious in the vast varieties of people you share deep connections with. To be so deeply understoond and accepted, faults and all, by Hefe, someone I so heartily respect, is a rare and precious thing.
Hefe, you will always be missed, honored and remembered at heart as the Hefe you were. The one you are now lives on in our hearts and above our heads. If I ever have a son, you are quite welcome to reincarnate as him, otherwise, I am sure we will meet again. On so many levels and planes of existence, I know we will continue to serve our Beloved Masters Work until we, and many more, are Outshined. Our work ain't over yet. The culture of the Innermost Temple of Adidam Ruchiradam has yet to truly exist, and you are absolutely an essential part of that, whether incarnate or in spirit. Neither of us entities will truly cease to exist until that circle of true renunciation has been well and truly established. So, I'll be seeing you in the round.
You spoke of Australia passionately and strongly, with a deeply rooted connection to the land and even the first people, and you said your intention to come here was a force to be reckoned with. I would like to invite your brothers Justin and Brent and your father Jim, and any of your family members to visit me in the hills of Melbourne, if they so wish. They are welcome to sit with Beloved Adi Da in the Temple here. You will always have a very literal home here at Silvan. I have no doubt we would have lived here together should your life have been extended. The time we lived together in Lake County (also with Matthew Nicholson), will always stand out to me. Steve “Humble” Brown and Danny Hebert were always around, and Thomas was never far away. I love and respect all you guys so much. It was always wild and ecstatic together, with such a completely crazy collective of devoted dudes. It makes me laugh just to think of it.
The first time we met was in Los Angeles, you showed me your automatic handgun. If I had a gun at this moment I would now fire it 3 times in the air, or maybe 5 — No…7 times. I would fire it 7 times in the air, right now, Don Hefe style. Then I would take your beloved combat knife, the one you carried with you even in hospital, always in reach, and I would jam that fucker right into the ground. That would be my salute to you.
God damn that fuckin Lymphoma. God damn those many years of excruciating back pain that no one could ever figure out. I’m so happy you are finally fucking free of it.
Shoot straight to the heart like an arrow you beautiful bastard, shoot that Star!
you mysterious motherfucker,
you wonderfully understated man of less verbosity-- yet utterly prolific monster of a writer,
you utterly devoted gopi,
I love you so fucking much it hurts.
Shedding many a tear for you,
Your proud brother always,
I would like to say that I think this website is a wonderful way to celebrate and get a right perspective on Jeff's passing. It's a gift in itself to see that sequence of photos of a life, and then the photos of his extraordinary beauty in passing, including surely a one-in-a-million special invocation from Ruchiradama Nadikanta. Yes. How could one ask for more.
As with all his friends we laughed much in our relatively few times together. Sharing funny stories such as the time when Jeff forgot to get a gift to offer Beloved Adi Da Samraj in person, in keeping with correct Guru devotee protocol. As his 'turn' to bow to our Beloved Guru came up, he frantically searched for Something that he could offer, but nothing was suitable on his person. At the last second, Hey Presto! He found a small piece of lint at the bottom of his empty pocket, and just in time, offered these feeble strands of cotton up to the Divine Maha Siddha!
Boy, we laughed so much that I had to stop driving, and another passenger in the car actually threw up out the window because of the force of pleasure and humour and freedom that we all felt. Clearly our beloved Guru was laughing loudest at such a 'defilement'. Such is the nature of Adi Da and His True Humour, and Jeff is right in there!
I felt Jeff was upstaged by another devotee friend's confession of an even greater transgression: That of offering fruit taken from Adi Da's own fruit basket in His abode. But Jeff had this to say about it (quote): "did [XXX] also do the fruit basket trick at the Manner of Flowers? oh man, I think I actually did that twice, and it was wrong both times. But at least I was not alone thank God! The lint though... that's original, that takes some thinking. I challenge all to top that one. :) xx"
Love you man forever, and looking forward to more ecstatic laughs.
My friend Jeff just died
For some of 1999 and the best of 2000
I lived with him in Los Angeles
with our girlfriends
Running the Adidam Global Mission
in a house in the Valley
and then Beverley Hills
I had no car and no money
Everywhere Jeff went I went too
I lived in his heart
And he lived in mine
I never had a man friend
Before or since
A sublime year
Serving our Beloved
Forgetting ourselves in Him
I see Jeff still
Surfing with him at Malibu
Shooting to the shore
The waves of the mind
Dissolved now in contemplation of His Beloved
Afloat on the Ocean of Mercy
I see him driving sitting in half lotus on the seat of his car
With a walking stick pressing the accelerator or brake
His spine too much in pain to drive normal
Knelt now at the Beautiful Lotus Foot of His Beloved
No starts no stops
Driven in His Arms of Love
I see Jeff lying sleeping on his bed in the Valley
The giant mattress we called The Cloud
Sleeping now in a Sea of Blankets close with His Beloved
Reached beyond the Sky of Mind
Awake to Bliss
I see him walking with me on Venice Beach
Remembering the Doors
We Ride Beloved's Storm
We eat our meal silently
Having come to a secret understanding
Walking now through the Door
Broken through to the other side
Jeff presses His Gift to Guru's Heart
And wakes in radiant chambers
I see him with me at Ordeal Bath Lodge
In the early morning hours
We lie in the pools of His Love-Bliss
The rays of the moon reach into the hot springs
And now Jeff comes Home on Streams of True Water
The wound of Love that never heals
I see him, my devoted friend, Jeff
Writing, writing, writing for His Beloved
To the end of the night
Writing words to inspire, to motivate, a call to devotees
To stand up and fight
To be His missionaries
To champion like warriors
The Only One Who Is
And now He puts his pen down
And shuts off his computer
And looks His Beloved in the Eye
Free of the torment of the body
Free of the empty worlds
He kneels before His Beloved
He's merged with His Beloved
His broken heart dissolves in the Heart of His Beloved
And by Sudden Grace
Jeff died and gone
Rises up in the Heart of His Loved One
Enshrined in Brightness
The Free Standing Man
"When you are born you are the one who cries, while everyone else laughs. And when you die, everyone else cries, and you are the one who laughs." — Arabic proverb
'If only I could have left this world in your place, I would accept it instantly and gladly.'
—This is the universal prayer of every mother, every father.
It is mine for Hefe as well.
A letter to Hefe, and to his Sepia,
But first, a little story: Cote d'Azure, July, 2013
Imagine this scene: Three travelers, driving along that terrifyingly beautiful coast, pulled up to the very edge of a protruding precipice. Mother and daughter, standing close by in amazement as Hefe went out to the edge, lay down and peered over into the earth, thousands of feet below, no doubt staring into nothingness.That was the hour of our mutual awe of life.
In that moment, Hefe, I discovered the genius of your courage, your humor, and your vulnerability. Your remarkable tolerance for every sort of pain was always evident by your continued patience with the two fiery women who accompanied you on that trip through Europe. This was no mere travelers' journey, it was an odyssey of the heart for all of us. With the wisdom of hindsight, I witnessed you diviing headlong into life, reveling in the simplest glories of each day, and always moved by the quiet reveries of those summer nights. And Sepia always upped the ante with her unmitigated strength and brilliant energy.Those times are now storied wonderments for me. In each of you, I discovered what it is to be alive in the moment, and I learned to take it all in to the fullest. That summer, Hefe, I think you understood intuitively what it was that would someday come about, and you made the most of everything that came your way.
Hefe, it was then that you truly became my son, mon beau fils, and my exquisite Sepia, it was then that I began the saga of releasing you into your womanhood. I am grateful beyond words to each of you for such irreplaceable gifts.
For Hefe on your departure.
You were surrounded by your brothers, that splendid band of thieves. And all your beautiful women came to say goodbye, to lay the flowers out around your body, wave the lights and incense. They put the cloths in place, and sang the prayers and songs of love, praise and sorrow to one who is extraordinary among men. Your family of origin circled you with all the intimate and unspoken love your childhood life produced.
And yes, this body weeps, this mind grows numb with disbelief. How can it be otherwise? These poor filaments of earth and air will not look into the face of death. Yet Hefe, you did just that, long before that tortured body dropped away from you. And that was your gift to all of us who care for you so.
For Sepia, then and now
But even so, before and after those events, It was you who spoke the words that gave him peace, gave him rest, gave him nourishment. Hefe had you by his side, and at his brow. And at the end of life, I deeply believe you were in his final breath.
You have wept far more than I could ever weep, and I have cried much, and more than much since then. My tears do not leave me, but yours will stain your face for many more days and nights than I have left to live.
My fierce and beautiful daughter, it is you who now cries most intensely. You had etched your name into his heart. It was you who carried him when he was broken and alone. You kept him alive, even when you were seemingly gone away...I know because I visited him often in his room on Kamalu Road. And it was you, as he confessed to me then, that made him write like a fool. You who thawed his heart, melted his mind so he would make that flower of mind speak so elequently. Those words now live beyond him, and tell us so poignantly how it was for him. He knew very well that only the kind of pain he felt in his heart can create the true poet. And so he went ahead and wrote.
Please, know that you were infinitely beautiful for him in so many ways. I witnessed his love for you over and over again in countless little ways. In those final years, you brought him such a love that surpasses time and place. Know that you kept him seeing how Bright he truly was.
You have given so much of your life, demonstrated what it means to serve and to love unconditionally. Your loving is the memorial to Hefe that will live far beyond your own life.
As Hefe often exclaimed, you are an exquisite woman. I am so happy to be your mother. Thank you both for allowing me to see the beauty of life lived fully.
Now, Hefe, you belong to all of us. Your dying is your masterpiece puja, your most eloquent of poems.
Moce, A bientot. Aloha mai.
Continue on your Odyssey, melting into the Great One Who Lives us all.
I love you both forever.
Your poetry is epic with beauty, insight, Sacred memoirs, color, imagery, life, and Light. Thank you for gathering these lines into poetry and sharing your narrative of the past few years while living in Beloved's Sphere. They will always serve as a marker of your time here, your remembrance of your loved ones, and of the profundity of your Beloved Heart Master in your lifetime.
How fortunate we are to have known the One who now has acquired you to the Bright. May your journey be filled with huge Love and Gracious Blessings.
Two of my morning prayers were answered today. I wanted to read your poetry again and to have a photo of you. How timely all should have arrived today! I also enjoyed your selection of Rye's photographs but especially loved the paintings.
Je t'aime. Que Dieu te benissent, Jeff.
I will always remember a car trip from LA to Lake County I shared with Jeff.
There was some urgent need for us to get to Lake County quickly because of a demand from Bhagavan.
That particular journey usually takes about nine hours, we made it in five hours by driving after midnight with Jeff driving the rental car most of the way. I was trying to sleep in the passenger seat but woke up to see Jeff using his knees to steer (probably because of his bad back) with the cruise control set to about 100 mph. I tried to go back to sleep but the wind and tire noise made it difficult.
I am sure he is speeding along with Bhagavan now.
I want to thank you so many of you for being there for me during this wrenching period of my life.
My life has been blessed with three sons. All were outstanding students, yet each so different in their worldview and their approach to life. Brent, creative and articulate, uses his gifts as a comedy writer. Justin, the scientific son, brings logic and sensitivity to his patients. Jeff, the spiritual son, found his identity through his vast knowledge of philosophy and religion, which he expressed in his writings and poetry.
Let me tell you about Jeff before you met him. Jeff was a beautiful child, with the sparkling, soulful brown eyes and flaxen red hair of Scotch-Irish ancestors. Both his mom and I were once redheads, so he had no choice. Every day of his early life, Jeff’s mom strapped him on her back Asian-style on her way to work. In her county hospital office while she read x-rays, little Jeffrey slept in an open filing cabinet drawer. I suppose that’s why Jeff never got sick…he had already met every germ there is by the time he was two.
As a teenager, Jeff was not like you know him. He was half-extrovert, half-introvert. He was a devilish prankster, and he made friends easily. But whereas his brothers gravitated to sports, Jeff was always drawn to the contemplative life. So he did not follow society’s beaten paths, he forged his own direction and left a trail. He explored the lure of quiet meditation during an entire summer when he lived a hermit’s life in a remote cabin in Northern California, occupying his solitary days with reading philosophy and meditation. I first recognized how serious he was when he shaved his head and announced he would one day become a monk.
In those years, Jeff discovered a second passion, the saxophone. For Jeff the lyrical jazz improvisation of John Coltrane was spiritual. His consuming passion and focus led him to spend 6 hours a day honing that skill. Again listening to his own muse, without a shred of help from us, he applied to, and was admitted to the highly competitive Interlochen Music Academy in Michigan. Interlochen is a feeder music high school for Julliard and other music-oriented colleges. At Interlochen his teachers told us Jeff was a music prodigy.
As he finished high school, Jeff announced he wanted to spend a year in India training with a master of an instrument called a shennai, an instrument somewhat like an oboe. I knew that for Jeff, he had found a perfect path…he was leaving home to pursue his two great passions, music and the life of a monk. He traveled through India, Thailand, Burma and most of Asia. It was then that we first realized that he had a unique writing style. His long letters sparkled with vivid images, unexpected emotions as he captured experiences so different from the life he had lived in Malibu. What a unique literary gift he had for seeing and feeling humanity.
Somewhere along his travels through Asia, the monk’s existence won out over music. He dropped music and focused his passion on becoming a Buddhist monk. Now I saw that Jeff was finding and formulating his own answers to many of life’s deepest questions through the study of Eastern philosophy, so different in its emphasis on the spiritual rather than the materialistic, and yet so similar in its search for why we are here. As Jeff returned for his college years, we in his close-knit family all saw that the balanced prankster/extrovert-spiritual/introvert we knew in his high school years was now completely dominated by his spiritual side. Going to dinner with Jeff when he returned from his Asian quest was now an undertaking, and quite honestly, sometimes a little painful. Jeff was there all right…he listened and he laughed at others’ stories, but he offered no comments and he suggested no topics for conversation. Now he specialized in monosyllabic answers to questions. We loved each other, he just didn’t want to talk about it. In his worldview at that time, he found peace and solitude in just being together.
In his college years Jeff majored in religion…what else…and read voraciously. He had a massive library. Once again Jeff changed course. I discovered if I wanted to get Jeff into a two hour discussion, all I had to do was ask a question about religion. He was finding his own way to enlightenment by sharing his knowledge others. He was defining his own path, discovering the discipline that would gave meaning to the rest of his life.
But which discipline should he follow for his own life? For a while he gravitated to Korean Buddhism, but sometime during those college years in either New York or Boston he met a guru whose teaching seems to have special resonance with educated, spiritual, deeply philosophical people. Jeff became a follower of the guru Adida, and a member of the worldwide community that follows his teaching. I will not presume to understand Adidam or his fundamental principles, but I can speak with conviction about the community he created. They are gentle. They are sensitive and giving. They are incredibly loyal. Quite simply, the community members are among the best human beings I have met in my passage through life.
When Jeff first became ill with lymphoma, Barbara and I flew to Kauai to be with him during his first course of chemotherapy. Our time together turned out to be deeply meaningful, as we realized how much we each loved each other. Jeff’s quiet constrained side faded as if he was returning toward his extrovert childhood self. Jeff became more open and vulnerable, less inner-directed, reaching out again to the world at large. In a strange and beautiful way Jeff’s illness made our family even closer. When Jeff returned to LA for more advanced treatment, his brothers and their families…Dawn, Lexi, Sydney...became deeply involved in his care. Jeff’s enduring legacy is that in living out his personal tragedy, he forever changed the lives of each of us…he created unbreakable bonds within our family.
Jeff’s final year was, from the physical standpoint, extremely difficult for him. He had innumerable courses of chemotherapy, and as each failed, the new set of drug infusions was more potent than the last. In effect he would be clobbered by a one week drug infusion. He would struggle through the second week as more and more cells in his body died. Sometimes he was unable to even walk to the bathroom. Just as he regained strength in the third week, it was time to return for the next infusion and begin the cycle anew. As the tumors progressed, he was forced to begin opiates for pain. Jeff hated them because they dulled his bright intellect. In Jeff’s last year I learned about a strange contradiction in the meaning of courage: it is a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die. As Jeff faced unrelenting therapeutic defeat after defeat after defeat he taught me the meaning of courage.
What was the source, the wellspring of Jeff’s courage? It came from love. I saw that the single greatest blessing bestowed on Jeff, the source of his indomitable courage, was Sepia’s love. Jeff told me many times he could not have held on to hope until that very last day without her. Sepia dedicated these last two years of her life to Jeffrey. Sepia’s love and caring for my beloved son will be my most beautiful and enduring memory from the two years that we all…Jeff, his family, and his community…battled cancer together. The lynchpin of Jeff’s support was Sepia. This was the font of his courage, the reason he could find a reassuring smile for each of us despite severe pain and daily nausea and the withering toxic side effects of treatment.
In the last two months, Jeff’s friends flew in from all over the world to be with him. Their support gave meaning to his life even as it ebbed away. Many of those who came from far away were members of his Adidam community. Australians Matt and Felix slept on the floor of his ICU room; NorCal Steve and Canadian Tomas stayed in Sepia’s home for several weeks with Jeff near the end. Many others many stayed for long periods through the last year, so Jeff was never, ever, alone. The community was there for me as well, and so their support of Jeff and me will never be forgotten, not by me, or Barbara or Jeff’s brothers or their wives and children. Seeing the incredible number and depth of friendships that Jeff achieved in his life makes me tremendously proud to be his dad. At his informal memorial in Sepia’s home, as his many friends spoke about his life, I thought of the memorial to Christopher Wren carved in a Manhattan church: “if you would seek his monuments, you need only look about you.” The depth and breadth of those friendships is now a source of solace for the unique pain felt by a parent who loses a child. Jeff’s was a life well-lived.
At Jeff’s memorial, his many friends from his community spoke passionately and reassuringly to me about the concept of “transition” from life on earth to spiritual existence. It is a fundamental tenet of Adida’s teaching, captured so beautifully in Jeff’s last words. Each of us have our own dream, our own vision of the spiritual life. I must admit that I am uncertain what it is or what it will be, but I do know that Jeff is alive in the minds and hearts of all who knew him. And so I also know that each in our own way will see Jeff in the sunset, hear him in the thunder and feel him in the rain. It is that knowledge that allows me to continue on.
Jeff passed away three weeks before the publication of our book The Heart Healers, which captures the astonishing story of the greatest medical breakthrough of our time. Jeff was the editor of the book. I wish he were here to see the tremendous initial reviews it is receiving, because his words and ideas are on every page. In the past 2 years, even after his initial diagnosis, the book became our mutual labor of love. So now the book and his words stands as my own treasured personal memorial to Jeff. The experience we shared is my own private literature, to be read over and over. The dedication of the book, which I wrote long before his passing, says, “This book is filled with stories of courage in the face of adversity. One I do not tell is that of my oldest son, Jeffrey, who personified this quality as he edited this book.” After Jeff’s passing, I decided to use my substantial honorarium as I know Jeff would have, buying a number of books and giving them to his friends. If you are reading this and did not get the book, you are a friend. Let me know.
Finally, I am comforted by Jeff’s last words to us, written on the day before his passing, and by learning from several different friends that on that same day, he spoke quite specifically about his serenity in confronting death. Thomas Edison’s final words were, “It’s very beautiful over there.” I believe those five words speak a century later to Jeff’s vision. My greatest fear had been that his passing would be painful for him and that as a doctor and parent I would be helpless to alleviate his pain. The final blessing of his life was that his passing lasted only moments, as if a Great Spirit’s finger touched him, and he slept.
I want to thank each of you so very much for your notes, cards, emails and calls during this single most difficult time of my life, with the passing of my beloved son Jeffrey. For a while I found it difficult to do even the simplest tasks. Your outpouring of support has been absolutely critical to helping me find my way out of my gloom and despair. Thank you for teaching me once again that a friend in need is a friend indeed.
Our family met Jeff in the later 80's. He became fast friends with my young children D'Andre and Dana. He was in college at the time. He tutored them in math. He was a good hearted young man, trusted by our family. He loved our children and they loved him. In later years my son D'Andre and Jeff formed an in breakable bond. No matter where in the world Jeff was he stayed in contact with us. His last conversation with Jeff was 2 days before his passing. It is still so sad that we didn't get to see him. Before he left us. He and my grand daughter D'Andrea shared the same birthday, February 7th. A few years ago, he gave her a special birthday gift, she was so thrilled. But it saddened her that she didn't get to meet him in person. It's still hard to believe that he is gone from us. Jeff we hope that you journeyed well, and really hope to see you again, someday. You were really one of the best!
I am greatly moved by reading the stories and praise for Jeff by his father and his friends, as well as by reading Jeff's incredible letter, which was written with great compassion and love for his family and friends before he passed. I first met Jeff probably in LA but it might have been at The Mountain of Attention. Although I did not have the opportunity to get to know him well, however, I know we shared some wonderful moments together--my sense of the communication between us was one of heart-love, joy and humor, and the sacred secret that friends have who share their devotion to their same chosen Guru or Spiritual Master.
I learned of Jeff's passing while in Southern CA serving my own oldest sister's passing/transition. My sister passed just two days before Jeff did. My beloved sister also suffered greatly with cancer and had done everything she knew to do to try to beat it for over 5 and a half years. I have been in the mourning process for her since that time as Jeff's family and friends are, too for him. I feel so grateful to be able to read this beautiful memorial site--it allows me to be reminded again to feel more deeply and transparently beyond the superficiality of my ordinary physical body-based presumptions into the Mystery that death or transitioning out of this life seems to provoke. I was with my sister, when she decided to "let nature take its course" after living with and battling stage IV cancer for over 5 years.
She was a woman of love and caring in life and I was Blessed in so many ways to be her intimate, her sister and her friend for all of my life. She asked me to support her in her desire to discontinue any further medical treatment and to be able to be at home for the last weeks or months of her life. Of course, "I" didn't want to let her go, but my overwhelming love for her required me to put her wishes and desires first, even if that meant, which it did, that I was accepting her need to let go of her body and pass from this life. There was a profound freedom and realness to this and other conversations that she and I had together about our lives together and her most difficult health situation and the choices that she wanted and did make, and what their consequences would be. To let go of her loved ones, her son, her husband, our relationship and that of her relationship and our mutual 3-way intimacy with our middle sister and all of her friends. I saw her abandoned herself to God and ask for His Help to be free of fear.
We prayed and requested many Blessings from our Beloved Heart-Guru for her physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health over all these last years and months. She was truly and Really Blessed by the Touch and Hand of God, and these Signs of Blessing were everywhere around her. She did have an easy death in that sense. And even after she passed, I sensed a palpable communication from her spirit person of absolute and utter Joy!
To read Jeff's letter and to hear about his life, his talents and fierce devotion to his spiritual life and Guru is once again most heart-opening and I feel grateful to Jeff for his selfless communication of compassion and love for his friends that he would take the time to write of his own experiences of the Mysteries in which we all live, whether we have experienced them or know them to some degree or not--whether it be "out of body" travels or the understanding that death is an actual transition for the spirit and not an ending in that sense.
Through my tears, I can say for sure that death and life are all about Love and Joy. And I thank Jim, his father, and Fithian and others for expressing their love for their beloved Jeff. And I thank Sepia for serving Jeff with happiness and love, and being a bright light of companionship for him. It's obvious in the pictures and the videos how much love, joy and humor you all shared together. In remembrance of Jeff, a sweet and dear man and devotee, and with love to all his family, his intimates and friends, Love always.