Dan Pearson Jones, Ph.D.
2nd UPDATE: I went by Dan's house yesterday, March 6th, and was reunited with several Men's group friends. The love and peace radiating from the group of people and the physical body of Dan was amazing. It was clear that Dan was no longer there. It was as if his body had finally assumed Dan's natural age, losing the amazing radiance that kept him looking and acting like a child. As I sat in the room with Dan and another fellow Men's group member there was peace and tears between us.
"Who is going to see me for who I am, now?" I said aloud. While his body had a fixed smile, Dan's laugh echoed in my mind. He was now everywhere for all of us, all we have to do is remember and laugh.
UPDATE: Dan Jones died in his sleep Friday, February 4th. See the Carring Bridge link below for more info about the wake and celebration of Dan's life.
+++ Original post, Wednesday Night, March 2nd. +++
Passing the open doors and empty rooms at Austin's Christopher House (local Hospice care) I got the feeling that I was in a railway terminal of some sorts, with people packing to leave, people just arriving, and people no longer within the walls. A mix of sadness and joy, knowing the purpose of the hospice care had been fulfilled while at the same time recognising the enormous greif that left along with the recent travelers.
Dan Jones has not left the building yet.
There was a small group of friends in Dan's room when I arrived. "Dan Jones" it said on the paper sign on the door. I saw the names of friends in the guestbook who had visited today. And the room, warm with love and strong flowers was comforting and solid. Dan's bags were packed for his journey, but there were still a few people left to bid adieu.
I stood by Dan's bed and watched his labored breathing and my tears finally flowed, having anticipated this reunion for several days. Dan was my champion a mere 9 months ago. His joy and strength gathered up my failing resolve and set me back on the path of inner work and inner confidence. He hugged me like a father, a brother, a friend, and I was quickly sobbing in his arms about my failing marriage and how I could possibly break the news to my kids and survive.
But survive I did. And months later Dan learned about his stage 4 pancreatic cancer. My world and the world of so many of Dan's sons and daughters changed forever. Valiantly we watched from a distance as Anya and Dan struggled to find their balance. And the Caring Bridge site was set up where we, the wandering, could share and learn of Dan and Anya's struggles.
And each time the email would arrive notifying me of an update to the Caring Bridge site I would hold my breath while I waited for the message to open. And Monday the doors were opened for all who wanted to come celebrate Dan's departure at Christopher House.
I knew that tonight would be a moment of remembrance of watching my father die, over twenty years ago. And I also knew that Dan's life had touched and nurtured so many people, I knew that I would probably meet some of those people in Dan's room. We swapped stories tonight. We cried and laughed. We held Dan's hand. We stroked his head, his withered body beneath the blankets, we listened to his continuous labored breathing.
And we smiled at one another. And I think we could all hear Dan's healing laughter. "Breathe!" He would say, giving us strength and looking at all of us with concern, "Breathe."
Good night Roller Coaster Kid, Good night Tao Jones, Father Dan, Brother Dan, Dan. If I don't see you again tomorrow, I will see you again soon. So tonight I say, "Hello Dan. I can see you. I am breathing with you." And there is joy.
I went to visit Dan's body in-state an hour ago and the room was closed and being cleaned. I will go to his house tomorrow for the wake. Appropriate the Christopher House is on Real Street.
A nice article about Dan in Creations Magazine.
Here is a link to Dan's How to Live Happily site.
A loving memory of the man: