• Toshia Shaw

The Rollercoaster called Life

Updated: Jun 28


This is what my life has been like for the last four years; more specifically, 2019-2020. The death of my father put a huge dent in my life, and it hasn't been able to smooth back out no matter how hard I try. The COVID-19 pandemic, the racial tension in the country, and now word of a dear friend transitioning literally knocked the wind out of me. A couple of weekends ago I put together a wine and paint night for my little family to try and unwind and enjoy. While sipping and painting an old friend called, I looked at the phone, and immediately thought, "I'll call her back." I went back to sipping and painting. The weeks that past was spent working, servicing clients, playing mom, and trying to get the hell out of graduate school. So yesterday I did just that, I turned in my last paper for grad school which indicates that I am indeed done and just waiting on my diploma to arrive in the mail. So elated, my family and I exchanged hugs, I shed tears of happiness, I did a mini twerk. I was on cloud 9. Went to work and celebrated some more with my employees (even though I had to buy the lunch, don't ask 😒), then my cell rang. I looked down at it and saw my other friend calling, she and the other friend that called a couple of weeks ago used to be three peas in a pod. I didn't pick up again, because I'm working so I quickly texted her that I'd call her right back as soon as I got the chance. She texted back, "Please do, it's about Pam."


I knew...instinctively I already knew. I finished up, really avoiding making the call to hear what I already knew in my heart space. I called her and she answered...voice shaking, she said, "Pam's gone...she died yesterday." I sat in my seat expressionless and lost. I said, "But I was going to call her back." My friend said, "What?" I continued, "I didn't pick up. I didn't pick up her call. I was going to call her back, I thought I had time." We both sat on the phone crying. I don't know how we hung up. I don't know how I gathered strength to even make it home, but I did. That morning I left home MHz at 550, I returned home at 250 (at the most). I was so hurt. I did breath work (well I tried), I tried to remember my Buddhist principles about impermanence and law of detachment. I tried to stop blaming myself for not picking up the phone. I thought I had more time.


(That’s Pam in the black shirt)


I talked to my friend until I fell asleep. I woke up chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, a chant, that helps soothe our troubled minds, removing the veneer of suffering, grief, hardship and pain, and replacing them with peace. The words Nam Myoho Renge Kyo were established for the purpose of helping people to stop suffering and start living. It helped immensely, and I read a few passages about death and dying. I was reminded that I am not in control, and that this thing called life is temporary. I did the Green Light of Forgiveness meditation to erase the guilt and to apologize for not picking up the phone. I told her to walk towards the light, and to accept her new role in the spiritual realm. To visit me when she has time. I told her I loved her and lit a white candle for her journey there.


We don't know how much time we have left on this earth, and it shouldn't be our concern if we are living right, and according to our purpose. Life is but a dream. I know it will take time for me to heal. I won't rush my healing. In grief it takes its own time. We are not in control. We must feel everything presented, I have to remember to rest in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. My body, my heart, and my mind needs rest. I will obey. Rest spiritual baes, take your time. Tell people you love them while you can. Then let go, let go, let go.



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