As you may have gathered, I follow spiritual assignments very closely. At the reception yesterday, some of you had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie, the wise one. She came bearing gifts as she always does. This gift was a packet with instructions on how to read “The King of Prayers” for 49 days after the body has dropped. It is a Buddhist tradition to help the soul find its way through the Bardos and reincarnate. The Bardos being a Tibetan word meaning “intermediate state.” It can be loosely used as the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth.
Stephanie hoped she wasn’t imposing and I quickly shouted, “You are my spiritual guide – I do what you say!” We were both awestruck by the uncanny parallels between the 49 days of Bardos, and the fact that our lionsurvived his virus/cytokine release syndrome/HLH for 49 days from PICU room with the zebra to PICU room with the lion. As Stephanie put it, “maybe he had his own Bardos.” Honestly, I would not put it past Luka to have reached such a heightened level of enlightenment. We did call him “Buddha baby” sometimes. Perhaps he did take it upon himself to disconnect his consciousness from his physical body, as that is essentially what he did for a majority of those two months. His obsession with lions especially in those last days of miraculous awakening was definitely more intense than it was before. And his peaceful transition was indeed perceived as an opportunity for liberation — as the medical consults and exams stopped, machines didn’t beep as much, and we could all focus on spiritual healing and paying respect by giving his soul permission. I truly believe that Luka had a level of transcendental insight in his own 49 days of Bardos, and it is just now that we are discovering this. He was finding his way through the Bardos, and now it is our time to do the same for his soul.
So, I followed the spiritual assignment andeven read the first few pages to Maia Bee as a bedtime prayer. We were struck that the first line was translated as “O Lions Amongst Men.” As this Pride can attest, our Luka was indeed a Lion amongst men.
Both Zach and I have remarked that Luka’s coffin, as beautiful as it was and is, didn’t give us a feeling that his soul was there. We both felt that his soul was lifted during the day on Tuesday as he said “mama” and waved “bye bye.” But what we did feel is that the gorgeous watercolor painting of a fierce, brave, majestic lion that was resting right below the coffin was giving us both strength and wisdom during the service just by the stare of that eye. For, that lion was painted by none other than Bren, our PICU nurse on those last two days as Luka transitioned eternally to the Lion. The same Bren who is Bruce‘s sister and kindly donated all proceeds from the purchase this watercolor print to the future Luka The Lion Foundation. Her creative representation and generosity is just as awe inspiring as our brave Luka, our Lion King.
May you feel invited to share with us in reading this prayer, King of Prayers, for the next 49 days.
The beauty lives on through these gorgeous watercolor prints, perhaps a holiday gift for your Pride. Bren is so graciously donating 100% of proceeds from the purchase of these, "Luka The Lion" by Bren Sparling prints to the future Luka The Lion Foundation. Click here to order your print.