I have always loved spring. Even as a child, I was fascinated with the idea of rebirth.
Growing up in the Chicago area, the new life of the season would begin to show in March. But it wasn’t until years later that the month of March took on a deeper meaning. This was the time I experienced the biggest event in my life up till that date—the death of my beloved grandfather.
At the time, my life was about to undergo a deep change—but I didn’t know it yet. I was in my mid-30s, dabbling in teaching yoga, but had not made it my life’s work. I was working as an artist painting in homes and businesses, but the work was breaking me down physically. Mentally, I was not satisfied doing what I considered superficial work.
My grandfather was my favorite person growing up. He took me everywhere—from fishing on the New Jersey jetties to the building he was responsible for constructing in New York City. When my mother called me that March to say she needed me to help my grandpa pass from his physical body, I was on a plane the next day.
My grandfather was near 90 when he passed. And, as it is for many, leaving his body was difficult.
And so I sat with him as he prepared to leave this world. I realized he needed “last rites,” and I meditated on exactly what this meant. As I held him in my arms, I felt the power of God working through me, and I knew what to say to the Universe as I offered a fitting last rite for my grandfather. The words simply flowed through me. And then he passed.
I had a profound spiritual experience in that moment. As I watched my grandfather take the hand of God, I felt his energy pass through my body. It hurt, but then he was gone, and I felt the space of stillness like never before. I truly believe I was in the transitional dimension with my grandfather, and that all my departed loved ones were there with the two of us. My life forever changed.
My father has a saying that “God taps you on the shoulder, and if you don’t listen, he hits you with a brick.” For me, the experience of losing my grandfather was the final “brick” that told me I had to change my life physically, mentally, and spiritually.
And the message was: I was to become a yoga teacher for good. I knew this without question. When I teach, the words come through me from a power greater than myself—much as they did when I offered up my last words for my grandfather.
Over the years, I’ve come to cherish the month of March more and more. It’s a yearly memento of my grandfather, and the life change that came to me as a result of his passing. Spring is the earth’s ongoing reminder that death is a part of life, and it’s always followed by the most beautiful renewal.