Death with Father


William M. "Bill" Bass, U.S. Navy, 1949-1952; Norfolk, VA. (Photo damaged in 2010 house fire.)

William M. “Bill” Bass, U.S. Navy, 1949-1952; Norfolk, VA. (Photo damaged in 2010 house fire.)

Dot & Bill, Playful Lovers, Blacksburg, Virginia. Summer of 1953.

Dot & Bill, Playful Lovers, Blacksburg, Virginia. Summer of 1953.

Dashing thru the Rice: Dot & Bill Bass leaving their Wedding for their Honeymoon, Saturday, August 22, 1953. Blacksburg, Virginia.

Dashing thru the Rice: Dot & Bill Bass leaving their Wedding for their Honeymoon, Saturday, August 22, 1953. Blacksburg, Virginia.

My Dad & I home on Riverview Dairy Farm, Rice, Virginia, March 1960. He's 30 years young, & I'm 11 months old. We had 44 more years together.

My Dad & I home on Riverview Dairy Farm, Rice, Virginia, March 1960. He’s 30 years young, & I’m 11 months old. We had 44 more years together.

Bill & Dot Bass, Rice, VA. Early 1980s.

Bill & Dot Bass at home in Rice, VA. Early 1980s.

Brothers Dudley & Joe Bass, Rice, VA. Joe's 18th Birthday Party, 15 November 1982. Photo damaged in March 2010 House Fire in Edmonds, WA.

Brothers Dudley & Joe Bass, Rice, VA. Joe’s 18th Birthday Party, 15 November 1982. Photo damaged in March 2010 House Fire in Edmonds, WA.

Brothers Joe & William Bass, Rice, VA. Christmas 2005, about a year after Dad's death, and our last together with Mom.

Brothers Joe & William Bass, Rice, VA. Christmas 2005, about a year after Dad’s death, and our last together with Mom.

Intro from July 2006: As a Prelude of sorts I first include sections from an email I wrote a few days after my father died early in the morning on Wednesday on the 1st of December 2004. At the time my life had fallen apart about a year earlier and I was bankrupt, divorced, unemployed, and half-mad. I was struggling in my relationship with Kristina and desperately trying to get my feet back on the ground. It was one of the worse times in my life, and a cauldron for eventual success. I was also deep in the Warrior Sage work and had not yet been disenchanted with the philosophies and practices of David Deida and his followers on the West Coast. July 2006.

Death with Father, November – December 2004

I am a rich man. I am blessed with an abundance of pain and growth and waking up and amazing things happening, a wealth of life experiences. It’s been rough. I sail my ship thru one storm after another, and it’s been rough. My stomach heaves as each swell rolls underfoot and each rogue wave washes the decks clean for each new beginning every moment.

Dad died early Wednesday morning in the ER. It was bitter cold and the third anniversary of my partnership with my fiancé Kristina Katayama. My brother Joe and I were up all fucking night. Death was messy and brutal. As Gary, the founder of the men’s group I was in then told me afterwards, “We come into the world messy, and we leave messy.” At least it was quick. So quick I wasn’t even aware he was dead at first, just sleeping.

About three days ago I got my father alone and said, “Dad, listen up. I want you to know I love you.”

“I love you, too,” he said.

“I flew here because this might be the last time we see each other alive.”

“I know it.”

“I’m serious. Not just because you’re eaten up with cancer but because I could go down in a plane crash or car wreck, tho I rather not give energy to that.”

“Yeah, I know it.”

“Dad, while I would love to have you around for many years to come, it’s OK with me if you give yourself permission to die.”

“I’ve already thought about that.”

“I know you’re a fighter, so am I, but there comes a time when you might just want to surrender. You gotta give yourself permission to go when you feel it’s time.”

“Already have.”

He just stood and looked at me. We hugged. And we parted.

He had lung cancer. Inoperable 3rd stage. Within the context of Jungian archetypes, Dad’s a warrior and a king. A former sailor in the United States Navy, he served during the Cold War for five years including the Korean War. His final, favorite, and greatest deployment was serving aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Midway. Dad traveled widely as a young sailor. He saw the Arctic Ice Cap and the Caribbean Islands. Toured all over Europe. Sailed the Mediterranean. Road camels in North Africa. Libya, I think. Maybe Tunisia, too. Got stoned on hashish in Turkey. Once, he said, in Istanbul. It was so strong he didn’t like it at all, so he tossed it into the water. Chased wild women in Italy. Chased my Momma in college.

He laughed as he shared the tales of his youth even after my mother chastised him. He enjoyed telling the tale of my mother getting her breasts stuck in the window trying to sneak out of her parents’ house one night in Blacksburg, Virginia. They weren’t even married. He was out of the Navy, both met in college at Virginia Tech and had just started dating. Dad pulled Momma so hard she tumbled out of the window into the boxwood bushes. They got caught, and my mother’s blouse and skirt was a mess. Big trouble!

“Bill!” Momma would snort, “don’t go telling people stories like that.”

Dad would pause a bit, look around a little bit more, grin, and kept going with more terrible tales of magnificent mischief. He’d laugh and horrify us about a fellow sailor with an unusually long penis. The Italian whores called him “Donkey Dick” and would run away and dart down the hallways shouting “Donkey Dick! Donkey Dick!” This unfortunate young man lay fast asleep on the bottom bunk deep in the bowels of the aircraft carrier. “His Majesty” hung loosely over the metal edge of the bunk. Sometime in the night the guy up top swung down to go to the toilet and accidentally stepped on His Majesty with his bare foot.

“Bill!” Momma gasped. “Stop it! I don’t want to hear any more, not a word, and I don’t want anyone else listening to this ridiculous stuff! It’s nasty! You hear me, Bill Bass!?!”

“More! More!” everyone else would shout and beg. “More! More!” And Momma would have a fit.

Later in life Bill Bass was a successful and prosperous dairy farmer, quick to adopt innovative farming techniques. He was also a quirky social engineer, one of those Independents who tacked from Democrat to Republican, from Reagan to Kerry. He often hired misfits and convicts and worked to help get them on their feet. I grew up working with thieves, murderers, and really wild men.

He was also the first farmer in the community to hire women in a traditional male environment. He met with lots of resistance and ridicule, but these women all needed work and here was an opportunity to work, and they took it.

He was also married to my Mom for 53 years, longer than I’ve been alive, and was very involved in his community. Dad was a selfless deacon in his church and a fearsome advocate in local farm politics. His Virginia farm at its peak was over a thousand acres including the territory he owned and the land he rented. He was very first stage in many ways, but open to looking at new ways and kept changing over time. He was very practical and hot-tempered and impatient, beat my ass, and I rebelled against him all thru my teens and early-mid twenties.

The Man liked everything from sitting in a boat fishing to hunting wild turkeys and rabbits to cultivating roses to watching his corn and wheat grow with pride and shooting at deer. He often missed his deer, although once he shot one on a bitter cold February day. The animal, a big buck with a large rack of antlers, leapt into Sandy River where it was accustomed to crossing, but the river, really a wide, deep creek, was frozen over. The deer died right there on the ice. Dad crawled out, sliding across the ice, hearing the river suck and gurgle underneath, grabbed the animal by its feet, and pulled it to shore as he back-slid along the ice. He then scrambled up a steep bank of loose sand and forest debris crunchy with frost, sling the bloody deer over his shoulders and across his back, and hump it home with gun in hand. I was as different from him as night from day, yet he was my Father and his blood ran with mine.

And I loved him.

The cancer came fast. It took a month to kill him. I was disturbed to see a once robust, vigorous, confident man reduced to a shriveled husk with fear palpable in his eyes. Death was several hours of shaking and stumbling, shitting all over himself, coughing up astounding amounts of bloody mucus, constant vomiting. Tubes and needles and oxygen mask. Cold. People coming and going. Hot. No privacy. Trying to preserve dignity. Green and brown bloody goo everywhere. Contaminated with ravenous, dog-hungry cancer cells and God knows what else. My brother Joe and I maintaining a masculine presence no matter what. Sleep deprived bulldozers we were. Warriors.

Earlier that night Joe, his wife Sally, and their daughters Lydia and Jessie came down to visit Mom and Dad and help out with dinner. Afterwards we were sitting in the den, the room Dad had built once upon a time. Over the years he’d expanded a small four-room house built in an abandoned hog pen into a large, beautiful but somewhat quirky farmhouse. We kids loved it. Dad sat in his chair in the corner, the one he often napped in, his breathing assisted with oxygen. He wore blue jeans way too big for him now and a loose, buttoned-up shirt. He stood up during conversation, took two or three steps, then his legs gave out. Dad collapsed onto the floor and sat up on his ass with his legs akimbo.

“Damn,” he muttered. His once strong arms shook.

“Dad, you OK?” I asked.

“You need to get to the hospital,” said Sally, a pharmacist. “You need emergency attention now.”

“Yes, Dad,” Joe and I both agreed. “You need to get in and see a doctor.”

“Don’t wanna,” Dad gasped. “They’ll charge me for the ambulance service.”

For a while he refused to go, then he relented.

“OK,” he surrendered. “Call the damn ambulance.”

Looking too much like a funeral hearse, the ambulance pulled up outside the front door, sirens silent, but bright lights swirling red and orange in the December darkness. The staff were polite and courteous, helped Dad inside on a wheeled stretcher, and drove off. The ambulance drove Dad seven miles away to the town of Farmville, hub of Prince Edward County and the Heart of Virginia. They drove across to the far side of town to Southside Community Hospital, where once upon a time I born back in 1959. Mom gave birth to my sister Beth and brother Joe there, too.

From the time the ambulance arrived to my parents’ front door to the time it pull away toward town, we could sense activity all around the neighborhood. We could just feel the neighbors across the way parting open curtains and raising up the blinds to peer out their windows with a sad curiosity of knowing. We could feel it, just feel it.

Joe and I followed along. The day before a doctor in the hospital had done a somewhat routine procedure on Dad in the hospital, running some sort of scope on a tiny tube down inside his bronchial tubes to peer into his lungs. Claimed he couldn’t get very far. Claimed too many tumors obstructed the way. But otherwise Dad was OK all considering. He went down so fast, however, we all suspected the doctor performing that procedure may’ve accidentally scraped the tissues enough to allow a secondary bacterial infection to flourish. A fever seemed to take over Dad, and the hospital staff seemed to ignore the connection. And in hindsight several of us wished we had pursued this angle as a matter of inquiry at least, but in the moment we didn’t. We all felt overwhelmed by too many responsibilities.

I had flown a couple of days earlier from Arizona. I had flown to Phoenix from Seattle for a couple of weeks to help my sister Beth and her husband Ray pack up for their move back to the East Coast. They were planning to move in to help Mom and Dad, as Mom had been sick with cancer. We didn’t know how ill Dad was at the time. Our Father had focused most of his energy on taking care of his wife. It’s where the rest of us looked, too.

Earlier during the first few days of November 2004 I was down in Jamaica with Kristina. There at a resort on the edge of sprawling Ochos Rios we participated in the International Monetary Conference hosted by the international financial aggregate we were beginning to work with which eventually proved to be corrupted by a Ponzi pyramid. We didn’t know that then, and it was there in Jamaica I learned my Dad was in bad, bad shape.  I was stunned, and I expected him to pull through. He’s a tough old sailor-farmer. After returning to Washington State, after a couple of weeks went by I flew on down to Arizona to Beth and Ray’s.

We celebrated Thanksgiving together Southwest style. We knew Dad was hurt, broke some bones, and was riddled with cancer…riddled…much worse than expected. What? Why didn’t he tell anyone he was in pain, dammit? Not wanting to take the focus off his wife Dot, that’s why. He adored Momma.

Dad was still active as one of the top Deacons in Sharon Baptist Church, the small, white-painted, clapboard church about two and a half miles up the road toward Green Bay, Virginia. He wore many hats as he served on several little committees, as many do in small, country churches. One day in early November while I was down in Jamaica, an surprisingly warm, sunny day for Virginia, he spun over to Sharon Baptist in his little, yellow Datsun pickup truck (he’d long since stop driving his old red, Ford Ranger behemoth of a pickup). The tailgate was jammed, and he wanted to pop it open so he could get the lawn mower and other tools out of the back. He was going to mow grass and clear weeds around the tombstones.

Nothing worked. Couldn’t unlatch the damn tailgate. He clambered up inside the box of the pickup and leaned over the gate to figure out what to do next. He whacked on that tailgate. No go. He struggled trying to lift and push-pull all at once. POW!

The tailgate swung out and slammed down. Dad tumbled out and crashed to the ground. “Goddammit,” he would say and laugh, “I rolled ass over teakettle and fell outa my truck. Hit the ground hard, too.” The ground was the church’s hard-packed gravel parking lot.

Dad stood up and hunched over in pain. “I hurt like hell,” he rasped. “Had a hard time breathing. It hurt like hell, you know. Went to the hospital for X-rays. Found out I broke ribs in several places. Broke a bunch of goddamn ribs. Shit. That’s when they saw the tumors.”

The doctors realized as they were studying the broken bones in his chest Dad’s lungs were riddled with cancer.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Mom asked.

“Didn’t want to, dammit,” he growled. “It didn’t bother me much. But these ribs, man, these broken ribs hurt like hell! Hurts to breath, dammit.” And as Dad would almost cry he’d turn his head aside.

Dad used to swear like a sailor, well, cuz he used to be one. Long ago once upon a time in a bygone decade buffeted by the violent outbreak of the Cold War, he was home on leave from the U.S. Navy as a young man. As soon as he arrived at the front door of the house, MeMa, the nickname we all called Louise, Martha Louise Campbell Jones Bass, his stepmother and my step-grandmother, stared at him in horror and disdain.

“Billy, I sure hope you shave that thing off,” said MeMa. “It looks like a caterpillar sitting up there on your lip. And you better not have any tattoos on you.”

Dad wouldn’t be allowed in the door if he sported a tattoo. There was a strong Christian association of such things with terrible sins among certain members of my family. One generation was packed with Fundamentalist Southern Baptists, Methodists, and Southern Presbyterians. Further down the line were rebels, down even further were radicals, and then, darn it, we start seeing strains of Fundamentalism creeping back in to re-infect the memes of our genes. Some of us would shake our heads and mutter, “Fundies just don’t have any damn fun!”

As he sat around the dining table with his father and stepmother in their blended family home in Richmond, Virginia, he wiggled his moustache. Well, it was kinda itchy.

“Oh, Billy, please shave that caterpillar off your mouth,” MeMa said. “I can’t stand it.”

“Please pass the fuckin’ butter,” asked Dad rather politely as he ignored her.

Pop, which is what we all called his father, Carroll Melvin Bass, bent across the table and smacked Dad across the face. POP! POW!

Before he left Richmond to go back aboard ship, Bill Bass shaved off his dark, handsome moustache. And that was the first and last time he’d ever grown facial hair other than sideburns.

Oh, I’m gonna miss stories like that. Some folks hear this story then laugh and giggle. Others squirm with embarrassed discomfort. Yet others would nod and declare, “That’s how to make a bad person behave right!” Decades later my psychotherapist would point out how these kinds of stories mark the stages at which violence became normalized within everyday households. Especially as “most people” refused to even see the verbal and physical actions as “real” violence when so much more horrific violence happened in “other people’s” homes.

While there are different degrees of violence, of course, there is still a clear and absolute distinction between violence and peace, between aggression and anger or assertiveness, between respect and blame-and-shame, between violence, nonviolence, and civil disobedience, and taking a stand right or wrong without resorting to violence. Yes, I’m gonna miss stories like that.

Dad eventually stopped cursing once he started having children and engaging in business. As he got older, though, it began to return as his bawdy sense of humor began to deteriorate into a suppressed anger at his premature dying. There was still too much to do in the world to be kickin’ off with Jesus this early in the game!

Once at the hospital curtains were drawn around to give Dad and us a little privacy. We were still in the general “internal” waiting area past the “outer” waiting area in the lobby. Since it was so late at night, around 10 or 11 o’clock, things were a bit slow. We’d heard stories there might be plenty of action from injuries arising from drunken knife fights and cranked-up shootouts over drugs, insults, sex, territory, and whatnot among the impoverished “low life.”

I wonder if anyone ever gave serious thought to what could be done to really change our society on all levels to finally obliterate ignorance, violence, hatred, bigotry, disease, toxic foods, and poverty. Any such change would have to be radical in nature and worldwide in all local neighborhoods. And not just the poor, either, but everyone in ALL communities. We were actually worried about fights breaking out among such desperate people in the ER so late at night, but, you know, the truth is none of that mess happened. Everyone who came in even if they looked as if they were “low life” was quiet and respectful. We just didn’t want any more stress for our Daddy.

Time spun in slow motion as Joe and I stood there next to Daddy. We’d wipe his face and clean his mouth and nose with a warm, wet cloth. It was clear to us he was going downhill fast. Yet we had no idea how close he was to death. Instead we had these naïve assumptions the doctors and nurses would do SOMETHING, but they didn’t really. Took his vitals every so often and a shot for the pain. The nurses would clean up runny poop. Dad seemed barely conscious, but he knew we were there.

A nurse took me aside. “Look,” she said. “I know this is hard, and there’s nothing we can really do at this point except keep him comfortable. I’ve seen this before. Lots of times. What you see is systemic organ failure. His entire body is collapsing. He’s going fast, and at the same time, we don’t know how long he’ll really last. So all we can really do right now is provide comfort care.”

Midnight. One o’clock in the morning. One-thirty a.m. Two o’clock…a phone call here or there…back home to Mom, or to Sally, or back to Seattle to Kristina, even Gwen…was it two-thirty now? Two-forty-five in the morning? Maybe it was three o’clock…around four or so Dad, who had been fidgeting and groaning quite a bit trying to get comfortable began to settle down. From time to time he would speak in monosyllables, ask for some water, or grunt quietly a yes or a no. He’d gone inside himself, hunkering down to ride it out, already moving on before Joe and I were ready to let go…

Finally, a bed opened up in a room several floors up. The nurses and attendants rolled him into the room with the lights turned down low and helped get him into bed. Daddy was calm and nearly silent. Asleep we hoped. Joe and I were completely zonked out and moved as fried-brain zombies stuck underwater in a swimming pool. Dad’s vitals were up and down and sideways, it seemed. Joe and I took turns holding his hands after the last nurse left. We felt his big, strong hands, square with thick fingers. My hands were exactly like his, exactly the same shape, but his hands and fingers were twice as large as mine.

So we got him stable. Or so we thought. A shout. Eyes rolled back. Mouth wide open. On his back. Facing outwards to the world, to the whole fucking universe. Totally open in his death. And Joe and I were too sleepy to even realize it at first. Good, we thought, he’s finally sleeping. We placed the alarm buzzer thangy with the long, white cord in his hands. Exhausted, we stumbled out grateful for the excuse to go home and sleep. Sleep. Like Dad was sleeping.

“Wait,” said Joe as he put out his hand to stop me and cocked his head to listen. “You hear that?”

We were halfway to the elevator and around the corner from Dad’s new room.

“What?” I asked as I instinctively dialed up the volume on my hearing aids. “What is it?”

“A shout,” replied Joe. “I swore I heard somebody yell. Sounded like Dad, though, but that doesn’t make any sense because he’s so far away with the doors shut.”

“He’s sound asleep, too,”

“Yeah,” said Joe. “He’s all medicated up on painkillers and was sleeping pretty hard. Still, it sounded like Dad. Weird, too, like a cross between a yawn and a howl.”

“Hmmn, must be someone close by in one of these rooms right here,” I said. “If it was an emergency they’d push the buzzer alarm.”

Half-asleep is not the same as half-dead, but it felt like it at times. We staggered out of the elevator into the lobby, rubbing our eyes and yawning.

I stepped outside and shivered and shuddered. I’d flown straight across from Arizona without any cold-weather clothes. I wore summer shorts and a light camp shirt with one of Dad’s sweaters. It was the end of Autumn in Virginia. I realized how unprepared I was and felt somewhat angry with myself. As an experienced wilderness adventurer and outdoorsman I took great pride in being prepared for almost anything. Except rushing off from a visit to the hot Southwest to the chilly Mid-Atlantic with all my cold-weather clothes back in the Pacific Northwest.

And then we found out later he was really dead. Momma woke me up at dawn with phone in hand. Goddammit.

How does a third stage man cry? In the first stage you stuff it. In the second you collapse and weep. I don’t know how a third stage man cries. Grieve without getting lost in the emotion? Surrender to the emotion and just go into it fully? Allow myself to thus feel the loss deeply as if God cut a big, huge chunk of something precious out of me forever?

Suddenly I was sick of all the labels and shit and just became me. William Dudley Bass. I was my own man. Finally. After 45 years. I was free at last. And I opened up. And wept and wept but always stood solid. I opened into the grief and the tears and the realization I didn’t even fucking know I had any responsibilities crying out to me. I’d been a free spirit, content to experience life just to experience life, the whole world revolved around me, and as a writer it made sense at the time as I viewed experiencing life as “work” so I could thus write about it. But I hadn’t written much in years.

Somehow somewhere I made wrong choices bad choices shut down and turned off the tap and became financially and creatively catatonic. I floated. Adrift. I realized I had spent so much time with my face turned up into the sky I was not even aware where the fuck my feet were on the ground.

I want one train, one career, one family, one woman. Now things seem to be coming into alignment. I had closure with my Father while he was alive and now I’m burying him. His shadow is no more. Gary and BJ have been absolutely generous and deep in their stand for me in this time – I am grateful for you two brothers. Not just this dying of my daddy, but all the troubles and challenges Kristina and I faced in our partnership. So thank you. I also appreciate you, Debbie, and you Kathy, for being there for Kristina as she struggles in her storms during these edgy times.

I am grateful for Arnie for the opportunity to work and generate income at his Piano Gallery down in Seattle when I was down and out during that dark spell. I am building my Train and can’t wait to push off.

I’m working with a new career counselor to revamp this career change I’ve been navigating without much success. Also, I’ve committed to write for publication again and eventually teach and present from my writings – I am a great creator and that is closest to my heart. I do feel somewhat scattered, a lot is going on, and yet things are falling into place. There is a sense of serenity and calm as I focus on the nuts and bolts of the train itself.

As I move from completion with Father to a new job that starts Monday to launching my train I am clearer than ever about the responsibilities of Fatherhood and the providing for my daughters. During this past week I have stepped up to the plate and now stand on the plate, whereas before, I am ashamed to say, I didn’t even realize there was even a plate to stand upon.

It is clearer to me more than ever how deeply I love you, Kristina, and how committed I am to our partnership and growing a life together. Now matter what you do or chose to do, even if you leave me, I love you. I will always love you. I am excited about going back to work, writing again, being with our kids again, and building our partnership as I serve you as deeply and openly as I can.

My purpose deepened over the last two days. I am here on this planet as an instrument of God. As a divine instrument I serve the world wide-open. I best serve human beings by serving their relationships. All our relationships. Wide-open and in breakdown. Doesn’t matter. And I am open, too, to going even deeper as Purpose reveals itself truer and truer.

On some deeper level I have fallen in love with myself. Finally.

All of you in the Passion Warriors’ Men’s Group (when I was in Fall 2003-Spring 2007) and all of you in the Seattle Couples Group (of 2004-2006) – I would not have been able to make it if it had not been for all your own sharing of struggles, openings, and pain, and Love! And for your stand, and the courage to reach out and touch one another and me, and we hardly know each other, yet in this work we know each other deeper than we sometimes know ourselves.

The hours and days after Dad’s death went by in a haze of December. Low light and bare branches. Relatives coming in from Richmond and other places around Virginia and North Carolina. People driving up from Tennessee and South Carolina. Flying out from Arizona and Texas. Due to the expense, Kristina, Gwen, and I elected to keep Morgan, Kate, and Talia back in Washington State. That decision proved to be one of my biggest regrets I had to learn to let go of.

December 1, 2004 was also the 3rd Anniversary of my partnership with Kristina. My father was only 74 and a half when he passed away. The funeral was the weekend following. Sharon Baptist Church was crowded with mourners. There were people in attendance I hadn’t seen in many, many years. As I’d not brought any appropriate clothes with me, not expecting a funeral, I wore my Dad’s suits. Rev. “Whitey” oversaw the preaching. He told stories both funny and dignified about my father and his many contributions to his communities. He especially relished sharing with us his experiences of my father and about Dad’s love of pranks and tall tales. I got up in my Dad’s too-large clothes and delivered a poem chosen by my mother.

I was so sad yet so proud of Momma. For the first time she ventured out in public without her wig of dark hair. She’s been dying her hair black for years, and after she lost her hair to chemotherapy wore a wig. Now she had the most beautiful snow-white hair and wore a periwinkle blue dress. She was a lovely lady at 73 and a half years of age. Mom walked slowly into the church together with me and surrounded by the rest of her immediate family. She sat down with a certain grace and dignity that comes over time…and with a little practice, too.

Death with Father. Yes, it was traumatic. And life goes on for the living. When one awakes into the awareness of all there is in any moment, one sees what is seen. Life goes on for the living, and the afterlife goes on beyond death.

Afterthoughts: These Deida-inspired groups in Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC ended up being charismatic cults based upon interpretations of “masculine-feminine polarity dynamics.” We saw too many couples roiled into breakups, divorces, or with their partnerships close to being otherwise shattered by feeling they had to force themselves into certain “boxes” prescribed by others to better or fix their relationship dynamics. Although we did experienced deep, positive results within the WS trainings, especially (with one exception) in the beginning, Kristina and I got the hell out after awhile. There were a series of negative experiences within the WS community for Kristina, myself, and a number of others.

One of the very worse of those for us came within days upon my return to Washington State from my Dad’s unexpected death and funeral. Other people, however, claimed to experience positive results of a transformative nature. One will usually find controversies between multiple points of view in many Large Group Awareness Trainings (LGATs). As one’s awareness of what constitutes violence, abuse, and coercion masquerading as consent, however, one’s recognition of such patterns of behavior rises as tolerance for such behavior drops. These matters, however, are for another story for another time.

Kristina and I privately married ourselves in May of 2005, became engaged that November, and finally got legally married in an outdoor celebration of love, community, and spirituality in a seashore park in Seattle on 11 July 2009. My mother was to pass away with cancer in November 2006. She died on Joe’s Birthday. As I like to quote Archflamenca Yvonne Frost, a former mentor of mine from my Wiccan days, as she comforted me in the wake of my dear Great-Uncle Aumon Bass’s death, “Tears are healing.” Yes, Life goes on for us still living.


William Dudley Bass
15 January 2007
Revised February 2012
Seattle, Washington

NOTE: This essay was crafted from journals and emails from those days and first published as “Death with Father, December 2004,” on my autobiographical & storytelling blog, Cultivate and Harvest, on Monday 15 January 2007, @, along with In addition, the mini-photo essay “Me and My Dad,” was first published in my older blog Cultivate and Harvest on Monday 15 January 2007, @ Then I edited and merged it into “Death with Father,” and re-published here this Sunday 15 January 2012. Thank you.  It was revised, greatly expanded, and re-published here at On Earth at the Brink this 26 February 2012. Thank you.


Copyright © 2004, 2007, 2012, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.



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