Our dear sangha sister Heather Parker, who bravely and with great grace had faced and lived with a cancer diagnosis since Jan. of 2016, transitioned to the other dimension, where all sorrows and pain cease, Tuesday Sept. 12, 2017. She had spent a gentle week in hospice, receiving love and care from her sister, her mother, and the staff.
For many of us Heather was an inspiration and a blessing. A number of our sangha members were able to spend time with her over the last year and grew to know and love her more deeply. Her courage, laughter, and dignity in the face of surgery and many treatments and high levels of pain she lived with were remarkable. She is truly one of our teachers whom we will carry with us forever.
One sangha sister wrote, “Heather is a beautiful soul, a keeper of the light. She had a beautiful painting on her balcony of “no mud, no lotus”. She was radiant, in the face of suffering. She knew intimately and deeply that suffering is a part of life, is the other side of joy. She found joy in small moments and in relationship, even in the midst of her pain. Heather embodied the teachings as well as anyone I have ever met, and, thus, was a great teacher for us all. She will be deeply missed.”
Another sangha brother wrote, “Heather has been an inspiration to me for as long as I have known her. Not long ago she spoke to me about the return of her cancer and I sat beside her I I was wrapped in her strength. She was, indeed, glowing. She has reinforced my understanding of the goodness of the universe. She was (and still is) a wondrous teacher of compassion and acceptance. I will miss her greatly as I am sure that the entire sangha will.”
There were many different sangha friends who visited Heather, brought flowers, food, and offered a supportive presence over these months, and others who donated money for extra food support and who sent lovingkindness. Heather is our third dharma sister to die of cancer over the past many years and each time our sangha has shown what it means to be a caring sangha.