Carla Zilbersmith has passed on. I have been reading for days now about the process of dying and how our consciousness lets go of this earthly realm. All my life I have been terrified of dying and it has guided my actions and in-actions. It is the reason I chose a path which was not really me and was afraid to choose a path that was untried and scary. My fear of death pushed me away from everything I passionately desired again and again.
Carla's very public exposure of what it is like to die, on both her blog, in her film and on Facebook, gave me a gift that nothing and no one else has ever been able to give me. It has shown me it is not such a horrible, terrifying thing to leave our known consciousness and enter into another. It is not the worst thing that can happen, this thing we call death, even though it takes us away from the immeasurable gift of life. It has shown me that step by step if we stay aware, we can go in a way that ennobles ourselves and others.
Carla lived her life with passion, hope, kindness, honesty and an awareness of the moment by moment beauty that is with us all the time. And she showed me how to do it by simply being totally present the very last time I was lucky enough to spend an hour with her. She was so there ALWAYS for everyone she cared about even when it might have been detrimental to her well being. The day I visited her a few months ago she smiled at me with that deep and loving smile and said, "Don't worry. You have a generous heart. You will be fine." It meant a lot to me to hear her say that. I so wanted her approval and love. She gave it generously to a fallible, not always there human being because she knew I needed it. That was Carla.
Her sharing of her death in a very real and messy way, made a lot of people uncomfortable. It freaked a lot of people out. It made some feel very guilty for how they had abandoned her. It even made some people demand that I stop sharing news about her. But it also made some people take a good long look at their lives and the choices they have made. It made some folks write me loving letters of support and compassion.
I learned from Carla how to be a human being: vulnerable, messy, stupid, fucked up, wise, witty, risk taking and compassionate. I learned these things because she was all these things with me, at one time or another, and her being that way allowed me to be that way as well.
I do not have an incurable disease. I have a curable disease: fear. And now because of watching how she dealt with all of this I have a deeper, rock solid courage. Not a bombastic, in your face courage to stand up to injustice - I always had that. Now I have the courage to simply be and when I open my heart to others who are worth opening one's heart to (not everyone is there yet, are they?) I believe in my heart of hearts that those people will embrace me and I them. It has begun already.
It took me a long time to see how truly good people can be and it is because of those who loved Carla and those she loved that I genuinely believe in the inherent goodness of people. It is because of Carla's example that I can see beauty in this world. Despite all its decadence and craziness, all its perversions and meanness, all its falling short, it is a "wonderful world." Such a gift Carla Zilbersmith has given to everyone whose heart opened up to her and to whom she deeply touched. Such is the power of a soul in grace.
Good Bye Forever, Carla and Hello for always.....be at peace in your next life...for no one can extinguish you. No one ever will.