June 1, 2016: One Year from Jeremy’s Passing

Dear Friends,

It is very hard to believe that an entire year has passed since Jeremy’s passing — and yet, here we are.

Jeremy to EditAs I shared with family and friends earlier today, it’s an impossible reality that Jeremy died, one that I am living with every day. How to live without him here in the flesh? I don’t think I am any closer to having resolved this question; rather, I live out the answer each day by continuing to walk this earth — loving and appreciating my family and friends, doing all I can to help others, and experiencing the beauty in each moment, even the challenging ones.

There are many things that could be said about our beloved Jeremy. Of his enormous and tender heart, of his compassion and deep desire to be of service in this world, of his brilliance, of his understanding and wisdom, of his beauty, of his vulnerability, and of his commitment to healing and Self-knowing … but who he was and is goes beyond all of these descriptions. Every word I could ascribe to his Being-ness are inadequate.

I find myself on this day feeling quiet, and yet also wanting to create space for all of us who love him to remember him and honor all the ways he touched our lives.

As many of you know, Jeremy was, among other things, a gifted and visionary writer. He wrote a piece in 2004 that, ten years later, he recognized as prophetic. For me, this poem — called To Die While Living — echoes one of the great legacies of his life: that this life we have is a gift. Jeremy’s life has inspired me in a profound and permanent way to always remember this and to live, inhabit, and appreciate each moment as fully as possible.

I feel compelled to share this piece with you, as a celebration of him and an acknowledgement of what he discovered and then rediscovered, the truth of which continues to echo and reverberate for us all.

To Die While Living

Jeremy Raymond Geffen
January 2004

Throughout history saints, sages, and mystics have spoken about the phenomenon of “dying while living.” What does this mean? And how do we do it?

Dying means letting go of the known, at the deepest levels. When a wave arrives in your life that is sweeping away what you have known and loved — or thought that you knew and loved – to die while living involves recognizing and acknowledging what is happening, and allowing it to occur, with as little resistance as possible. Holding on with desire, fear, longing, or regret only creates sadness, stress, anxiety, and pain — with no change in the outcome.

IMG_0123No one told us this when we were growing up. What a pity.

The antidotes to fear, stress, anxiety, and pain are surrender, trust, kindness, and unconditional love — directed gently from the Self to the self. They soften the blows of change, transformation, and death. They ease the way. They make the unbearable somehow bearable.

Growing up, no one told us this either. Most of us had to learn it the hard, old-fashioned way, through trial and error. And through surviving depths of pain, loss, heartbreak, and grief that we thought were not survivable.

Ultimately, grace and love make this possible. Grace and love make everything possible.

In the end, we are not who we think we are. Dying while living makes this clear. Most of all, we are not the separate, limited beings we think we are — despite all appearances to the contrary, and despite however real and compelling these appearances might seem. And who we think we are is not in control — despite our best efforts to prove otherwise, day after day, lifetime after lifetime.

To die while living means to discover these truths, while remaining present in the body.

To die while living means to consciously let go of who we think we are, while continuing to eat, breath, act, and move as needed.

To die while living means to watch whom we
think we are dissolve and disappear into nothing, while remaining awake and attentive — watching, feeling, and releasing whatever arises and falls away in the process.

To die while living means to let go of the known, and to leap, or fall — or crawl — into the unknown, and to keep going — and surrendering — no matter what happens.IMG_0051

To die while living means to touch, to notice, and to feel the infinite, tender, sacred presence of grace and love that guide this great mystery of life and death. This same sacred presence is revealed in our lives and our being in every moment — if we only stop to look, listen, see, and feel our deepest essence.

To die while living means to be completely, utterly vulnerable and uncertain — to say, “I don’t know” to all questions.

To be reborn is to have this really, truly be okay … perhaps for the first time ever.


My dear love, I remain forever yours, and forever grateful for who are and for the gift of knowing and loving you …

jeremy with chick

23 thoughts on “June 1, 2016: One Year from Jeremy’s Passing

  1. Scott Ohlgren

    First met Jeremy while he was staring into a new visionary painting by Martina Hoffman at Tonic bar. Staring as if there was recognition. So honored to have known him.

    Thank you for writing this, Kristina.

  2. Robin Temple

    Thank you Kristina, what a lovely tribute to Jeremy, and reminder of the preciousness of time and the love that surrounds us. May you be filled today with that love.

  3. peter

    kristina dear,
    thank you for your beautiful words of love and appreciation and wonder.
    jeremy is a presence in our lives now, and i am sure he is smiling down upon us now.
    i send love and a big hug to you

  4. Omkar Naga Jaya

    Thank you, Kabir (Jeremy) and Kristina, for sharing so much in so many ways.

    Sending love to you, especially today.

  5. Jeanne Holmes-Buttner

    Kristina Anne,
    You write beautifully. Thank you for bringing Jeremy into my life. He was a bright, shining addition to my life as well as to yours. I miss him. I miss knowing that you were with him. Love you, Mom

  6. Diane Nunn

    Thank you Kristina for your loving thoughts about Rame and for sharing his poem. Even as a young boy he was a thoughtful visionary full of questions regarding possibilities for making our world a better place. What a blessing it was to be his 6th grade teacher, that time in the lives of children when they are really thinking their own thoughts and beginning to question some standard views and attitudes.
    How wonderful the two of you had your times together and yes how difficult it is to awaken each day without his physical presence. But how wonderful to live fully in the influence of the kind of rich spiritual bond which exists because of the beauty of your relationship.

    My heart is fully with you today and full of such dear memories of Rame.

    Diane Abbey Nunn

  7. bev

    Dearest Kristina, Thank you for this touching testimonial to such a great human being. I am so sorry for your loss & also the entire world’s. Thank you for sharing Jeremy’s writing, I’m going to print & frame it for my home. The wisdom & truth in his enlightened words come in a very timely way. May time be kind to you & help you heal while continuing your journey here. Jeremy helped me survive the aftermath of cancer and I am so grateful to him; he always has a very special place in my heart. Wishing you inner peace and joy.

  8. Carla Johnson

    His photos are alive…strange but true. When I looked at the first one I laughed out loud. There he is!! He is here – we’ve missed you! Instant connection. When I read your words, my heart broke open again – a good thing. You have put words to many feelings covered over. When I read his words, I heard his voice giving us the gentle reminder that there is no end to what is real.
    Thank you Kristina for this today. A long warm hug from my heart to yours.

    1. Kristina Holmes Post author

      Yes, these photos are so alive. I love his expression in both photos, the way the light dances in his eyes. He was in South America in both photos — a place I know he felt both free and connected. For all his love of technology and his deep commitment to medicine, I never saw him happier than when he was outdoors, gathered around a fire with friends.

  9. Marc Edwards

    Dear Kristina,
    I am here hiking solo in the magnificent Adirondacks feeding my body and spirit.
    I receive this gift from you, unexpectedly, but very heartening and nourishing.
    I recall that you worked as an editor, and i wonder if you are finding a place for writing at this time in your life. You do write beautifully.
    Much love,

  10. Charley Cropley

    I too did not realize it had been a full year.
    Your email reminded me of how much I admire Jeremy; his depth of devotion, his wisdom and his kindness.
    to die while living; precious teaching.
    Thank you.

  11. Kristina Holmes Post author

    Thank you all so much … it is a comfort and joy to hear from you. I will always love talking about Jeremy, all his complexities and idiosyncrasies and depths. It feels so good remembering him together …

  12. shana

    ahhhh Kristina- how wonderful and hard, how much struggle and how much grace, how this love of yours and for so many of us was so rich in many layers and served to open our hearts to more of life. We are blessed to have had Dr. Jeremy Ramie Geffen as one of our beloveds. And he was so blessed that he had you to love him so beautifully and to remain so loyal to him. deep bow to you both.
    p.s. brunch will never again be the same without you two!!!

  13. Rhonda

    Oh Kabir…Kabir…Kabir…
    Dear Kristina, thank you for sharing his writings and your heart-illuminated reflections on your and our Jeremy. All day today, and for many days past, I have been feeling the memory of the touch of his hand and the light of his heart glowing like fire embers in the depths of his gaze, and his search-light mind, probing into the dark places of life and soul, as well as the light. Reading his insight into the wisdom of dying while living, brings into focus how we witnessed him living the full arc of his experience…living his love to the fullest while dying, and giving it away to all of us, merging to live in our hearts.
    With a full heart and gratitude,

  14. Rudrani

    Sending you much love ,light,, and strength on the anniversary of kabirs passing.
    How full of grace that you were able to know,love, & support him thru his cancer journey. & that your love only deepened & became more alive because of it.i pray your heart is healing.
    I feel very connected to Kabir ,as we all are. I call on his spiritual& ontological wisdom often to help me on my journey thru cancer.

    Many blessings

  15. Nancy Rumbel

    Thank you so much Kristina for writing so beautifully about your love and longing for Jeremy. Thanks also for sharing Jeremy’s wonderful essay. Perfect timing for me as well, on so many levels. It is a wonderful reminder to come back to center and pause and reflect. Many Blessings I send to you! Love Nancy

  16. Kevin Mulshine

    Your message and Jeremy’s poem is a gift. Thank you.

    PS would you please contact me by email. I have something to share with you.

  17. Reuvain

    Seeing Jeremy here, and letting his words touch me, makes me smile and feel good. And miss him a whole lot. Thank you Kristina for your heart-full devotion to this beautiful soul, in all his expression.

  18. Peggy Wrenn

    Thank you Kristina. I reviewed Jeremy’s expression about To Die While Living. I always his words, and I loved the photos of him. Oh we miss him!
    “The antidotes to fear, stress, anxiety, and pain are surrender, trust, kindness, and unconditional love — directed gently from the Self to the self. They soften the blows of change, transformation, and death. They ease the way. They make the unbearable somehow bearable.”
    Somehow is bearable a world without Jeremy on the planet, here with us


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