What about eternity? Has anyone ever considered that we're not machines, that we have a soul that can't be destroyed? What happens to you after you die? These are the questions that Jacqui asks.
My sister, Jacqui, told me while she was still living on this earth, that according to Jewish law, when I saved her life before, it meant I was now responsible for keeping her alive from then on. Last year, in March of 2012, my sister, Jacqui jumped off a building; more specifically our grandmother’s 12 story apartment building; and it happened while I was away on a trip, shooting footage for a different documentary. I saved Jacqui’s life once, during the filming of my sister’s documentary in April 2011 when she overdosed on her nerve medications and I called the paramedics to come and get her. Because I saved her life once, I was responsible for her life, but I was out of town when I could have prevented her from jumping. If I only took her advice when she told me not to go on that trip in the first place, my other documentary wouldn’t have made much progress, but my sister might have been alive to see the documentary I was shooting on her. But the harder I try to go back in time and bring her back to life if only for a moment, the harder it is to picture her having ever truly existed on this earth. She appears in my memories now as a ghost of the present. I realize, though, that now that she is gone, her presence is stronger than ever to me, because she left me her thoughts, her music, words of wisdom, novels, beautiful visual artwork, and a relationship with her progeny, things I took for granted during her life.
Knowing I didn’t do everything I could have done for my sister while she was alive, I get to feeling guilty at times. I feel like I gave up on her and took her for granted, thinking she was going to stick around for much longer than she did. But at the same time, her last suicide attempt opened my eyes to show me that when she started to go downhill in sanity she may have been slowly disappearing into another realm. She’d tried to kill herself several times in the past and thought she was invincible after so many non-successes. She flirted with death so often that the line between life and death became blurred to her, so that when she finally crossed the line it was as if she wasn’t leaving life, only entering a heightened reality, that never let her hit the ground. I picture her fall as a human diving through the air to spread her wings, turning her into the bird that would fly her up to the heavenly realm all in one gliding swoop. What she was concerned about most on this earth was helping teach people to learn about where they were going after death and to save them from their suffering. She was a friend to all who would listen and she left bundles of love for all her friends to enjoy. This documentary is one of those bundles of love.
My mission is to help others with the film by spreading the message of love in it and donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of the film to a mental health organization.
I have been making this documentary for 18 years about my sister who went on a spiritual journey to become enlightened as a makeshift Buddhist nun in the streets of Los Angeles, but could not overcome her mentally ill background and ended up committing suicide at age 31 in 2012. She was brought up into a reformed Jewish family and was Bat Mitzvah’d at age 13. And since she was 14 she was a practicing Theravada Buddhist. Since she dropped out of college at age 19 to become a Buddhist nun she had a tendency to interpret religious texts and scriptures differently which led to her mentally ill behavior. She was diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder due to her creation of her own religion and off-the-wall ideas about spiritualism.
Jacqui’s life was special. She was a beautifully talented visual and musical artist, the essence of which is captured in this film. And she urged people to consider where their souls would end up in the eternal span.
Her spirit lives on in all of the people who’s lives she touched. Though she was constantly searching for that most important something that she always felt was lacking, love.
Nicole Zwiren and her daughter Maya
Jacqui’s Novel – Jasmine and Rick
Now available on the Kindle App: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O7VLNU4 for purchase. Please support the legacy of Jacqui and the new film about her life “The Gods As My Friends,” by buying her first novel, “Jasmine and Rick: After Nothing,” which is a Buddhist love story. It’s a hilarious book, very witty, and you will learn so much about Buddhism through this love story. You also will delve into the mind of Jacqui, who’s imagination is quite endless.
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