I had the great privilege of attending a family memorial acknowledgment of the life of long-time former Snr CS AOLA Griffee Blythe over the Fourth of July weekend.
Griffee passed away on June 28, 2008.
She had left the Sea Org in 2004.
Her last several years on staff and in life were tortuous spiritually for her.
With the advent of the GAT, Miscavige had it ruthlessly implemented in A.O.’s and SH’s through his RTC Representative NW. As Inspector General from 1998 through 2004 I regretfully forwarded that campaign.
The RTC reps learned from Miscavige to treat senior technical terminals with a particularly cruel sort of disdain and invalidation. In LA the reps’ favorite target was Griffee, since she was the most senior and well know tech terminal in the PAC area, and because she was resistive to GAT’s dehumanization of the auditing process. She was blamed for all failed or resistive cases in the PAC area – though years later after very expensive RTC supervised reviews the great majority of them were either worse or blown off completely.
For many years Griffee was known as the last port of call in PAC. If all else failed, staff and public alike knew that Griffee would always be there for them. She exuded a friendliness that is hard to describe. I recall having to go upbraid her for something or other once. I got myself all worked up and stormed into her office. She looked up from her folders with an infectious smile that stopped me in my tracks, unmocked my ridges. She literally disarmed me with her presence. Within minutes she had me laughing.
That is the Griffee I knew. Since speaking with many members of her family and staff and public who knew her I have come to recognize that is the Griffee that most people knew.
Perhaps having realized that and wrestling with my own involvement in the invalidation of her and everything she stood and lived for, made her funeral such a touching experience.
Griffee’s daughter Tish organized the farewell event. The evening of our arrival Tish showed the twenty invited family members and friends a special video presentation Tish had produced herself. With only music and still shots Tish managed to capture Griffee’s spirit of play and purpose of helping remarkably well. After seeing the presentation I was impressed by how well Tish knew and appreciated her mother even though she had not been afforded the opportunity to spend much time with her until the last year of Griffee’s life.
Soon that presentation will be available to all Griffee’s friends on You Tube.
In the late afternoon of July 4 the group hiked to a granite promentory in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It was the spot where Griffee’s mother and father had their ashes spread after they passed away years earlier.
We walked trails through an eery and unusually thick fog. It was actually the underbelly of a low lying cloud bank that made the mist lighten and thicken as it slowly bobbed between the ground and forty to fifty feet above us.
When we reached the appointed spot, a large outcropping of granite boulders, Tish walked to the edge of the rock cliff with Griffee’s brothers and sisters. No words were spoken. Mickey Blythe emptied an urn containing Griffee’s ashes over the cliff. Within seconds an updraft lifted the ashes into a small cloud that rose above the cliff. Simultanously the cloud bank above descended below the tree line and at about Tish’s eye level, and ten feet in front of her, the ashes and the cloud mixed in a subtle dance – the ashes absorbed by the cloud. When all the ash was consumed, the cloud began to lift again above the tree line.
I felt that same disarming, peaceful and playful presence I had experienced when years earlier Griffee had, with only a look, turned my pent up antagonism into mirth.
My wife described a similar feeling as did others who attended.
Friends can rest assured that the spirit of Griffee is alive and well.
May she know that she is not forgotten.
May she continue to fly in peace.