The Art of Being at Peace

My good friend Del Contival died, Sunday, at 12:50/31/7/2016.  Long before that at my 70th birthday party in 2013 he had a near death experience that revealed his attitude about his death.   This is my story of that experience as I learned about it and spoke about it with him at that time.  Don Macken edited his own footage for this occasion and it has served well for many people who knew and loved Del.  May it serve you too.

A few days before he passed, I went to Hawaii to visit with him. The following is my dairy of that time:

When I arrived in Kauai, at his home Del was sitting up in bed and very happy to see us.  He was talkative and attentive.   It was a marvelous evening.  

The next day he never woke up.   The nurse and Dr. both came in, described that he was well down the path to the end.  He has days or hours or whatever.   Last night was it!  we feel blessed to have had such a rich connection.

I didn’t realize just how beautiful till we realized it was really the last real connection with Del.   A short and quick end is what he wanted and he’s getting it.

Saturday, the third day, he’s still mostly out of pain and unconsciousness now pretty continually.  The nurse came and talked to him.  He actually tired to responded to her with his eyes opening.  She talks to him and he responds a bit.   We didn’t known that was possible.   Very sweet.   Even tender.   She washed him and the bed and changed the diaper, a lot of pain while moving him.  It’s over now and he’s back to a still, unconscious state again.  He’s probably exhausted.   Steady very slow breathing not very often.  We’re hearing from Hospice that this may be the last time to connect.   I’m going to say I love him and goodby, go to the light, go to the Master.  And that many people I know are wishing him all the best.   Perhaps I will know if he heard me, perhaps not.    

Del died today, Sunday, at 12:50/31/7/2016   His breathing slowed and broke into apnea.  The apnea gapes grew gradually slower as well for 15 or 20 minutes till they stopped finally and completely.  Joan, his wife who lives here in their house on Kaua’i, Charmain his daughter came from Montana, Neil Brosnahan, lives a mile away and has been a steady friend for ages, Stephen Lang, a good friend came in from the big island, Greeley Wells, who flew in from Oregon all misted up with tears of missing and gratitude that his pain was now over.  He is now content and we hope blissful, it is those left who now need to come to acceptance of the place he leaves empty in our world.   I find myself finding it difficult to imagine a world without Del in it somewhere.  

The Hospice folks were wonderful beyond describing and a sweet and efficient nurse was present at the death.  

Thank you for all the understanding and sensitive notes, remembrances and missives that have come in.


Here is a slideshow about Dell, this one was created by Conder Seasholtz,
I am putting it here for your convenience.

5 thoughts on “The Art of Being at Peace

  1. Thank you for sharing some of your last memories of your friend before his death. I find it an important to remember how short my time is on this earth to remind me to make the most of it.

    • Dear Greeley – Thank you so much for honoring Del. I had no idea he had gone to the heavens, until I received a reply card, to my yearly New Years card from Joan. I’m in the middle of a move, but would love to make a power point of Del’s World from my photo collection. I have photos from the days when he headed up the re-building of Jupiter’s and my stone cottage in Forest Fall. I also have a slew of photos from my trip to Chez Contival in 2012. I would love to connect. Del was such an amazing soul!
      In gratitude,
      Marsha Bentley Hale

      • Hi Marsha,

        Just got your response to the Del Movie. So glad you loved it and it meant something to you. Yes, get together those photo’s there are so many who would love to experience that. Maybe I could put them up on that would be fun.

        thank you,


  2. I believe society became uncomfortable with nudity because the majority themselves are not the exquisite examples you highlight in your movie. Where are the ugly bodies, the obese bodies, the deformed bodies, the leppers, the hideous? Yes, most of us appreciate beauty and don’t necessarily equate that with pornoghraphy. However it’s hard to find beauty in the flawed. This comment comes from one who has studied figure drawing with nude models and someone who has visited clothing optional hot springs and beaches. I think your film is beautiful but you asked for thoughtful comment. mrc 11/18/16

    • Thank you Mary. So glad the film meant something to you and you thought it was beautiful. You bring up a wonderful point. There are many bodies in the world, some more enjoyable to see than others. So that is kind of a point in itself: the kind of body. I was going for the point that we tend to shy away from all and any nudity and place labels and negativity on it in general. But your point is really well taken and adds another level to the discussion. I like it.

      Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful life and done some wonderful things and have no trouble at all with nudity! Well done!

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