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Lions Roar : November 2017
THIS DHARMA LIFE Thank You, Michael CARINA STONE on the tragic death of her husband, the Buddhist teacher Michael Stone, the challenges he faced, and the gifts he gave. COURTESYOFCARINASTONE I ARRIVED AT MICHAEL’S emergency room bedside in the dark early hours of July 14.Ashelayinacoma,the first words I could find were Thank you. Too much brain damage. Too much swelling. Heart in shock. I studied him, looking for the continuity between this moment and all the pre- vious ones—our nearly seven years together, our art, love, and children. I put my cheek to his under the overhead brights. His skin was sweaty and eyes tear-stained. Face of a buddha. In this rupture, Thank you. A vitals machine beeped. A nurse. An ocean of collapse. Two weeks later, we assembled along the shore of our home island in Brit- ish Columbia for Michael’s memorial ceremony. At the moment we were to ring the opening bell, a speedboat whizzed by and a man leaned out to shout, “Congratula- tions on your wedding!” My heart sank in horror, until I realized how funny, how Michael, this was. How lightly he held the deepest things. Two years before, we had gathered like this for our wedding. Wedding, funeral. Life, death. I knew there was no separa- tion, but now I’m coming to feel it in my skin. I want to process this with him, talking late into the night after the kids are in bed. The ephemeral nature of life aroused and fascinated him. That things could change in a moment liberated him to live fully. I knew Michael for almost a decade. I was drawn to the lightness with which he held serious Buddhist prac- tice. He worked at the intersection of personal, political, and ecological awakening. He meant it. He had a way of connecting that made people feel deeply seen and understood. And he was funny. Michael taught silent meditation retreats in North America and Europe, as well as yoga and meditation workshops that combined practice with study. He wrote and published. Amidst travel, writ- ing, and meeting students, our family grew and flourished. I saw his buoyant, generous heart giving in so many spheres, outside and inside our home. Our chil- dren adore him. He is my best friend. Thank you. Michael and Carina Stone share brunch with their children Olin and Hudson, then three years old and six months old. LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2017 23 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE