My good friend Claire wrote me the moment she learned that Peter died on September 25th; her words are worthy to be repeated. “To know ‘Sweet Pete’ is to love him and be blessed to make your life richer, deeper, and more noble.” Let me share more of her loving, lovely prose with you:
The word gratitude comes to mind as we (Claire and her husband Lee) think of Peter. We are so very grateful for his life … Peter the gentleman, the sage, the beautiful soul. We are grateful that the stars aligned for you two to become one and be the most brilliant couple we have had the honor to know, and therefore learn about what is a true reflection of mutual love and dedication.
When we think of Peter, we first think of you, his vibrant and lovely soul mate. We are grateful for you giving Peter the greatest gift ever, that of being a loving wife, a creator of a safe and nurturing home, a perpetual source of stimulating conversation. We are grateful for you being Peter’s simpatico lover on all levels. We think of your flirty red dress that would flounce and flip when you danced on the terrace by the light of the moon. We are grateful for this loving man who brought you bushels of sweet peas, who had a smile of abundance, generously shared with great gusto.
We are grateful to Peter for putting pen to paper, leaving words of wisdom for generations to come. Words that matter about life, love, and the importance of honesty and integrity. How grateful we are that Peter inspired and encouraged you to be the best Alexandra possible, and you did the very same thing for him.
We are grateful for the years Peter greeted us at the door of your apartment, impeccably dressed – crisp, striped shirt – fabulous tie – colored ribbon lapel pins. Gratitude fills us for his strong hugs and how he would immediately ask about Sally, Marcy, Gogo, Paige (and when Shafer was born … Shafer!) Truly, he always asked about each child.
We are grateful for Brooke and her Peter Rabbit proclamation! And how grateful we are that you are being held in the loving arms of Alexandra and Brooke with you at home right now.
Dear Alexandra, we are sending a HUGE hug in this note. We are here. Call whenever for whatever. We are no strangers to grief and understand the pain of loss. We circle back to gratitude. How grateful we are and will continually be for the blessing of Peter Megargee Brown.
With love always, Claire and Lee
To all my friends who have reached out to me and my family in a rainbow of loving ways, my heart is wide open as I embrace your loving kindness about Peter’s death. Your words and thoughtful gestures of generosity and goodwill uplift me and help me transcend into the future light, seeking Peter’s guidance and wisdom.
Just before Peter died, he said “I love you” and “Thank you.” Love and gratitude are moving me onward. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. “Love & Live Happy.”
In these few weeks since Peter’s death I have surrounded myself with photographs of our forty plus happy years of our incredibly beautiful marriage. Your letters, notes and E-mails, your flowers and cards, are concrete reminders to me of how remarkably lucky we are to have shared such rich, full, fun, productive and romantic years together. Peter and I were two bodies and one soul. Now that he has shed his body, he is free to rise higher and higher into the light and timelessness and spaciousness of collective wisdom now available to him. His world of matter ended when he entered through the main gate. His Holiness the Dalai Lama taught us that you have to go through the main gate alone. You can’t bring your guru with you.
Many great thinkers, beginning with Aristotle, believe you can’t judge a man’s life happy until after he is dead. To have a good death is as important as having a good life because it exposes your essential character. The 16th century essayist Michael de Montaigne wrote in his essay that men are not to judge of our happiness till after death. “In the judgment I make of another man’s life, I always observe how he carried himself at his death; and the principle concern I have for my own, is, that I may die handsomely, that is patiently, and without noise.”
Peter lived a brave and fortunate life, and died a brave and fortunate death. While I almost died drowning, I was rescued by Sam, a lifeguard at East Beach in Watch Hill, Rhode Island many years ago. For those blessed with longevity, dying is a process that takes time. As Peter’s light was diminishing he was cheerful, happy, sweet, and kind to everyone, under all circumstances.
In these quiet hours of reflection and contemplating Peter’s entire life, I feel such joy that the end of his earthly journey was so beautiful. He was only in bed three and half days, and everything he said was uplifting, encouraging, and profound. Peter lived to the hilt right up to the end, when it was his time to let go. Because his transition was so peaceful, he was comfortable and felt so deeply loved and adored, the intermingling of joy and sorrow is inspiring me in everything I think and do. I’m embracing my new life with Peter’s spirit-energy everywhere. Every time I think of Peter I feel joyous. He made me so happy in his life and now that his body died, I realize he is immortal. He is with me wherever I am. I believe he and a host of angels are truly watching over me. I feel a peace and calm I’ve never felt so profoundly. My life right now is a grace-filled meditation. I think about Peter and feel the happiness that accompanies my fulfillment that he is on his new spirit journey. I’m living in the moment as mindfully as is humanly possible, savoring all my fantastic memories, all the love letters and notes, his books and the precious words of wisdom he has passed on to me.
Everywhere I turn, he’s here, with me, comforting me, cheering me on, grateful I’m enjoying our family and friends. We always toast Peter and have a place for him at the dining room table. His baseball hat sits on his captain’s chair at the kitchen chair where he painted his bright colored seascapes. I spend hours looking through his watercolors. I’m enjoying putting a DVD together with the help of a professional, Robert, who feels Peter’s essence through the photo journaling we've done together.
My heart is wide open to Peter’s presence in every aspect of my life. One friend wrote me that Peter and my love transcends time and space. “The love will be different, but it will always be with you.” Tammy wrote. Suzanne wrote that Peter will always be with me in spirit, and “you know it is okay to talk to him anytime. He is with you and listening, waiting for your smile.”
Many of you have asked if there is anything at all you can do for me. You already have. You embrace Peter and my writings, you remind me he is a mentor to you and your children. You’ve named your son and dog after Peter. You pray for us.
I’ve thought of a few things that would make me happy. If any of you have a cherished story about Peter, I’d love you to share it with me. Also, if you have any ideas about life after life, the after-life, whether you’re a person of faith or a scientist or have had any encounters with the dead, I’ll be fascinated and grateful.
Also I’m enthusiastic to have a Happiness Weekend at the Inn at Stonington. If you are interested to come for a weekend to further discuss the really important questions we can all ask each other, I’d be delighted, and I can assure you Peter’s love and clarity will be with us. Please call the Inn and let them know you’re interested (860) 535-2000.
Now that I’m no longer needed to care for Peter physically, I’m devoting myself to caring for my soul in hopes of continuing to share our eternal flame of love and devotion, always striving to live up to his example.
In closing, I want to celebrate Peter in my new life chapter, with full knowledge that love is eternal and that his death is not extinguishing the light, but putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. Peter is now the radiance of thousands of suns, moons, stars, oceans, trees and flowers, all reminding us that the universe is inside us, always here and available. “Wonder implies the desire to learn; the wonderful is therefore the desirable,” Aristotle teaches. Peter’s mantra was “Still Learning.”
Happy November. I’m off to have two sessions with his Holiness the Dalai Lama in Boston with friends. Happy Thanksgiving! Great admiration, affection and love.