01/04/2011 08:31 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

How My Husband's Desperate Words Helped Me Find My Compassionate Heart

A few months before Kenny's cancer diagnosis, we were arguing about what I called unnecessary spending. Me and my "volunteer" salary and Kenny on unemployment. When I couldn't get through, when I felt unheard, I resorted to a mad, mean, sarcastic retort, yelling, almost red-faced, "Get a job!" To that he said, "Maybe I should just kill myself."

I was in shock -- utter disbelief, insurmountable shame -- that my words could evoke such a powerful response. I still had no clue how much turmoil was boiling under that calm, deliberate, and plodding exterior. But immediately I, too, felt the impact I meant for him and cried out, "Oh no, Honey, I didn't mean for you to go there. I'm so sorry, my Darling, my tall, strong, handsome, cute, smart, sexy, adorable husband." But still, even though I pulled back my rage, my temper, my "fresh" and stabbing comment for which in my childhood I would have been smacked in the mouth and punished, I still didn't realize how powerful his cry for help was. How could I have known that only two months later, he would be sentenced to death by metastasized melanoma cancer? Little was I aware that his body had already been ravaged by the disease without us even having one clue. No pain, no bulging tumors, no erupting moles, and yet, there it was, silently killing my husband, the negative power having its way with his precious body, imprisoning his mind and emotions. Even this was hiding, and lurking, and eating him alive.

This moment of taking back my rage opened a place in me that saw, for the first time and in such a way that I could put words on it, how entwined I was in his family karma. I responded to him a lot like they responded to his perceived weaknesses. Of course, he fit perfectly into mine, as well. What that looked like is yet to be discovered. The point here is that in my realization, a little, thin trail opened before me, and as I stepped out of the forest into the clearing, there I found my compassionate heart, and I began to see what he was reacting to in me: the judgmental, scolding, nothing's-good-enough wife and family, all rolled into one.

So instead of blaming him for not having a job, for spending money frivolously, for amassing huge quantities of stuff, I began to have compassion for his story. While all these years my ranting and raving had no appreciable effect, this one single nanosecond of compassion opened up a whole new world of discovery. My God, it does work to take baby steps. And another of the precious teachings of the Spiritual Heart reveals itself to me. What did I discover?

By now it was only a month or so before the diagnosis, and life as we knew it was about to change unmistakably, irrevocably and permanently. What's the lesson here? If you keep on doing the thing that is not working, you'll get what's not working. If you change just an iota, a hair's breath, in the blink of an eye, new worlds of opportunity become available. If you remind yourself that unconditional loving is the foundation for a deep and abiding relationship -- and, by the way, that it's always there underneath all the fodder of the world -- it's just a matter of shoveling that fodder into a pile where God can transform it into gold. You'd spend much less time, if any, fooling around with reactions to negativity that cause it to fester instead of dissolve, and more time in the Heart of God expressing the "good things of the Soul." Unconditional loving, compassion, understanding, acceptance and a list a mile long of positive responses to life's beauty and life's challenges.

I leave you with a heart full of gratitude for all the gifts I am heir to in this unprecedented era of awakening in my life. The greatest portion of the gratitude goes to my sweet and adorable husband, who, in a pure, selfless act of generosity, gave his life in service to my awakening. I know that that's not all that happened and that he didn't die just for me, but then again, maybe he did. After all, we were told that we assisted each other to pass into the realms of Spirit many lifetimes before. No wonder this was the most profound experience of my life -- a culmination of eons of passings with his dear and precious Soul, and certainly, as John-Roger has prepared us for our final and most important transition of our lives, it was the most profound and beautiful experience of this lifetime for Kenny. I am left in awe and give thanks for it all.

For more stories about Ken's process of conscious dying and the joy and peace he experienced as he neared his death, log onto