Tribute to Sandy Scott

by Lori Abramson

You don't always know why a person enters your life. You just know that they belong there, and the answer doesn't even matter.

I met Sandy Scott 17 years ago at a job. We each got shakubukued by two different people at the same time. Being rebellious souls, nobody was going to show us the way to indestructible happiness, damn it. But Buddhist compassion ensued and we both received Gohonzon a week apart. I loved teasing her that I was a week more enlightened.

Those words now echo in my head like a Springsteen song that I can't shake, even in my sleep. In the universe's infinite wisdom, tables were turned and Sandy took me on a journey to her enlightened life, which has brought me to within spitting distance of mine.

Sandy was born in New Jersey, moved to Spokane during her early years, sang in a jazz band and toured Viet Nam. When she came to LA she practiced in Horizon District for ten years before moving to San Diego.

I lost Sandy November 27th. She died peacefully in her sleep at age 60, leaving behind a 42-year old daughter, her dog and me. At the time of her death she weighed 65 lbs. Cancer had eaten away the bones away in her left arm and tumors were protruding from her head, but her eyes were clearer and brighter than I'd ever seen them.

She was sharp as a tack until the end, only slowed down — but the doctors were treating her like a confused idiot. They had given her three months. She gave them more than a year She gave me the power of attorney over all medical and legal issues, which gave me the right to argue with the heartless medical professionals that crossed Sandy's path. What a bunch of heathens! (My sincere apologies to heathens everywhere.) Every last one of them failed Bedside Manner 101.

Sandy was enlightenment personified. She was completely lucid all the time and her blue eyes were crystal clear. I would sit by her bed and hold her hand and talk about how great her life was. I reminded her of some of our crazy escapades, and we laughed a lot. I gave her list of everyone who was chanting for her; she felt so fortunate and appreciative.

We made plans for when she died. She told me that she was worried and scared. I told her that being Jewish, it was my job to worry and all she had to do was chant daimoku, and that I would take care of the rest. I said that her hotel bill was paid up, and she could check out at any time, or stay as long as she liked. I told her she was my hero. She was in incredible pain and looked at me one day and said, "It must be really hard for you to see me this way." Her fighting spirit humbled me, and her compassion for others made me weep.

Two weeks before Sandy died; the doctors told me she was hallucinating. I am here to tell you, from the bottom of my soul, she was talking to spirits. I witnessed it myself. That is what people do when they are getting ready to move on. All your relatives and friends gather around to guide you. I am convinced Sandy is presently having a tequila party with Dusty Springfield as we speak. They sang together and were very close.

Nobody was going to rob Sandy of her dignity--not as long as I was chanting and my mouth could work. I was determined to enlighten a few souls, so when I visited her, I shakubukued just about everyone on the staff. Sandy could not remember gongyo and was having trouble reading, but she chanted daimoku every day. She was more concerned with how the people around her were holding up than with herself. I was blown away by her life condition and this practice.

Sandy's passing has been a life altering experience. I saw for myself that if you chant and make good causes you will achieve enlightenment. I feel more sure of myself and less swayed by outside influences. Sandy occupies a space in my heart. I have felt her gentle presence around me a few times since her passing. She let me know that she was incredibly happy and that my happiness was assured in this lifetime as well. I miss her laugh. Wonder if she misses my bitching. 

This experience appears courtesy of the “Horizon Newsletter.” 

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