Today, there’s pain in the heart of the world. I can feel it, and I know many others feel it, too. It’s the pain we feel for those we lost during this difficult time.
Like many around the world, I have recently lost someone I love: my father. And although sometimes the feeling hits me hard, I know that he is happy now.
I find comfort and hope in the Baha’i teachings, because according to them, death is just another form of birth. When we lived in our mother’s womb, our dark, tiny home was suddenly changed into this wide, bright world, full of things to learn and discover. As we quickly left that sphere behind, we discovered that that short experience was only a period of growth and development to prepare us for this life.
“Consider how a being, in the world of the womb, was deaf of ear and blind of eye, and mute of tongue; how he was bereft of any perceptions at all. But once, out of that world of darkness, he passed into this world of light, then his eye saw, his ear heard, his tongue spoke. In the same way, once he hath hastened away from this mortal place into the Kingdom of God, then he will be born in the spirit; then the eye of his perception will open, the ear of his soul will hearken, and all the truths of which he was ignorant before will be made plain and clear.”
This physical death is like liberation for the soul. Once deprived of knowledge, it can now discover all the mysteries of the universe and divine realities. As Abdu’l-Baha explained:
“When the human soul soareth out of this transient heap of dust and riseth into the world of God, then veils will fall away, and verities will come to light, and all things unknown before will be made clear, and hidden truths be understood.“
My father loved reading. He was a writer and journalist, and as a man of justice and honesty, that brought him many difficulties during his life. For years he had to bear the consequences of his commitment to his principles. He always sought to achieve justice.
For many years he considered himself an atheist because he felt that something was missing from all that he had learned about religions and about God. But then he found the Baha’i Faith, and I know without a doubt that the day he decided to become a Baha’i was one of the happiest days of his life. My father was a passionate spiritual seeker, and this new faith filled him with joy and longing for knowledge; not a day went by without him reading a new book, and he didn’t miss any opportunities to talk about this great discovery in his life.
Now, after he left so unexpectedly, I know that my father is flying freely, discovering all the answers to those mysteries of the universe that he so intensely longed to learn.
For those of you who have lost someone during this difficult time, know that this is but a brief farewell. A next reunion will come and it will be glorious. It’s those of us who are still in this world who have to prepare our souls for the next life. Let’s strive to make our lives bear fruit: to be able to express love to everyone, to bring joy to other souls, to help those in need and to cleanse our minds and hearts, so that when it is our turn to leave this world, we can fly freely with our hearts filled with true joy — flying towards reunion with those we love. As Baha’u’llah wrote:
“Live then the days of thy life, that are less than a fleeting moment, with thy mind stainless, thy heart unsullied, thy thoughts pure, and thy nature sanctified, so that, free and content, thou mayest put away this mortal frame, and repair unto the mystic paradise and abide in the eternal kingdom forevermore.“
We are in this world for only a brief moment, and my father knew it. He was ready — he worked for the betterment of the world until his last days. He always told my mother that he would leave first, that he would go into the world of mysteries before her. And he did. At home, with my mother and my older brother at his side, he calmly and bravely detached himself from this world — and his soul was free.
The day after my father’s unexpected death, my little niece Rafaella, his first granddaughter who he loved so much and with whom he had shared a love for classical music ever since she could remember, had a dream. When she woke up, she joyfully ran to my sister’s room. With wide eyes overflowing with hope, she explained that in her dream, Raul (as she called him) had told her: “Rafaella, I am immensely happy! I want you to be happy with me, don’t be sad.”
That dream refreshes my soul because I recognize my father’s words in it. And every time I feel sad, I try to imagine him saying the same to me: that he is now immensely happy.