As I wrote about here Susan Aisha Masri was “pregnant with stars” - and she announced it in front of 250 Sister Goddesses last year at Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. And now my heart is breaking because Susan Aisha is herself among the stars as heaven’s newest angel after succumbing to cancer this week.
Susan Aisha was one of the dozen women in my “pod” at Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. During the five month program, our pod ate meals together, got emotionally - and physically - naked with each other, lifted each other up when we bragged, bowed in gratitude when we shared blessings, danced together, laughed together, and believed anything was possible when we desired to manifest big dreams.
Others tell me that most Sister Goddess pods peter out after the program ends, but our pod was special. It’s been a year and a half since we first met, and we still email at least several times each week. We got together in February for a spa reunion and sacred sexuality workshop in Austin. We remember each other’s birthdays. We celebrate our triumphs and grieve our losses. We get really gritty with each other and hide nothing - or so I thought. But more on that later.
First, let me tell you a love story about Susan Aisha. I could never describe Susan Aisha better than you’ll know her from reading her own words, for Susan Aisha was a poet, wordsmith and artist who could rivet a room just by opening her mouth. So let me share with you a few of her magical words.
I once asked her what her perfect job would be and she wrote:
Become a Whirling Dervish Sex Goddess Diplomat Foster Parent House Decorating Clothing Designing Architect Wonder-Driven Dancing Yogi Earth Sculpting Faerie Princess Queen Poetess Comedic Actress Painter Who Communes With the Spirits and helps people. A Singer by night.
Susan Aisha was also the kind of woman who knew just exactly what to say when a sister needed comfort, encouragement, or wisdom. When our mutual friend Linda tweaked her neck, Susan Aisha wrote:
I pray every conventional and non-conventional means of healing appears at your feet instantly, whether 2 Martinis and a full-body massage by the hottest imaginable local surf-king, or a lomi-lomi massage by -- it just so happens-- one of its leading expert teachers who is a friend of your friends and staying nearby... I am conjuring the vision of everything you need to heal and be loved, showing up.
And when Ninja P (who Susan Aisha called “Princess Ninja P” because she never wanted her to forget her girly side) lost her beloved cat, Susan Aisha wrote this:
I think we just become part of our animals at a soul level. When my cat Maya was ailing my kind neighbor brought her boyfriend over to sing- to help ease kitty's pain. It was then that I learned of his grand theory about cats having their own God (Cat-ma), and their own heaven - although they can visit us in ours or even stay if we are especially close. That sealed the deal for me. I know I will cuddle with Maya and romp together around the stars and giggle, when that time comes.
And when she was in transition, considering coming to visit, she wrote this:
If I laid out all the levels of change present, you would know I am in a Divine place. When I sit in the wellness of my new-form-to-be, I will come down to be with you if the date is still up-coming, not past.
It turns out Susan Aisha will never come down to be with me - the date will always be past, at least in her old form, and this loss saddens me deeply. And at the same time, there is something perfect in it.
Susan Aisha was pregnant with stars - with possibility, with hope for the future, with belief in the highest good for everyone involved, with love, passion, and creativity. She was special, in a way I couldn’t quite describe. In an email I once sent her, I said, “I can’t quite put my finger on it, love, but it’s as if you’re tapped into something the rest of us only dip our toe in during dreams. It’s as if you’re channeling what the Universe would say if it could speak in poetry instead of in whispers of the wind or strange coincidences that guide our path.”
And perhaps I was right. Perhaps Susan Aisha wasn’t meant to be long of this earth. Perhaps when you’re that connected to Source, when you’ve learned the lessons you’re meant to learn on this earth, when your mission is complete and your sacred contracts come to an end, your time on earth is abbreviated - and your light extinguishes quickly, like a shooting star dashing across the sky, leaving a trail, and then flaming out - at least in physical form.
And now, with Susan Aisha gone, the world is pregnant with stars as her spirit unites with the Divine and scatters her pixie dust over us all. Our time with her was too short. She was, perhaps, too special to stay with us. Perhaps her time on this earth was just complete, her lessons learned, her love expressed, her gifts given.
And yet, I feel an aching grief over her loss. Perhaps she was ready to go, but I was not ready to lose her.
Now, having just received the news about Susan Aisha, I am grieving not just her loss, but the suddenness of it and my inability to say goodbye. Susan Aisha was a very private person- and she didn't want anyone to know she was sick. I guess she wanted to go out like a Goddess, cloaked in secrecy, wrapped in her own terms, alight on the beam of brilliance that brought her here and took her home.
Part of me wants to feel hurt, to feel rejected, to feel pissed off that she didn’t want to say goodbye to me and so many others. As Mama Gena terms it, I could “go to the swamp,” and tell myself all these stories about how her choice to exit privately means she didn’t love me as much as I thought she did, how our friendship wasn’t real, how the intimacy I thought we shared in our Sister Goddess pod wasn’t enough.
But that would be misguided on my part.
This was HER life. HER choice. HER death. HER terms. And she did it HER way.
I have to smile through my tears.
You can’t lose someone without skipping ahead to the day when it will - inevitably - be you. And I have to say, I would want the same freedom. If you know me at all, you know I’m not a very private person. I would probably blog about my own death. I would tell friends. I would gather those I love. I would want to be held, to hold those I love, to speak every word of love, to be reminded that my life mattered, to remind others of how they touched me.
But who knows. Maybe I would respond just like Susan Aisha. Maybe in those final moments of facing the end of my life, I would want nothing more than quiet contemplation with God and my own heart. Maybe I would run from the tears of others so I might find joy in the endings. Maybe I would hole up in a cabin in Big Sur with my husband and daughter and tell nobody else. Maybe I would die amidst a field of flowers with only the wind to witness my final utterance.
It doesn’t matter how I want to die. What matters is that we grant each other the freedom to live - and die - how we wish to live and how we wish to exit this life. We spend a lifetime trying to please others. We do things we don’t want to do. We say things we don’t mean. We agree to tasks that mean nothing to us. We take jobs we don’t love. We stay married to people we don’t adore. We wear things we don’t want to wear. We suck it up and give in. We tell ourselves it’s just what you do in order to fit in. We worry what everybody else thinks.
But if you found out you had only weeks to live, would you still want to live and die how someone else thinks you should?
In fact, I don’t want to live or die the way anyone else thinks I should now - and I’ve chosen to live that way since I lost my father just as quickly five years ago. When he died, I made myself this promise. I would live as if I might die tomorrow every day of the rest of my life.
Susan Aisha went out on her terms, and as much as I’m teary because she didn’t let me show up bearing flowers and kisses and hope for healing, I honor her and respect her choices.
And I would do the same for you.
So how do you wish to live and die? Tell me. I really care.
And may Susan Aisha Masri’s soul forever rest in peace. May we all say a prayer that those who loved her can grieve and feel joy again. May we embrace the joy she brought into our lives and fully experience the sadness of her loss without closing our hearts. May we know that she is in a Divine place, the same place she seemed to inhabit while she was here on earth, straddling two worlds.
Feeling pregnant with stars,
Lissa Rankin, MD
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
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