In Consideration of Ceremony

Time, the radical reformer, lets nothing get in his way. He’s on a mission. Sometimes he brings along a bottle of champagne and a couple of apples. Other times, he wants to share some high grade Kush with chips and dip. Either way he’s coming for a visit and sometimes when you least expect it.

Partings are sweet sorrows

I lost two sister friends within the last two months. One of those lovelies preferred visits with some bubbly and a good meal. The other with the gift of some good Kush and a bowl of popcorn. Two entirely different women and I loved them both for those reasons and more.

What we learn and how we learn it

It turns out, I grew up with people who showed little restraint when suffering a heartache. A long time ago, when we said goodbye to my sweet grandfather, our Honey, we did not repress our sorrow and as a group we poured out our sadness. And we felt his loss, together, for a long time. The same with our Nonny, my sweet Italian grandmother. It was a high Mass with palpable anguish.

A place to stay untouched by death
Does not exist.
It does not exist in space, it does not exist in the ocean,
Nor if you stay in the middle of a mountain.       ~ Buddha

 Different strokes

Neither one of these magnificent women wanted services dedicated to their memory. Their reasons were their reasons. The one family plans on a celebration of life sometime “in the future”. It will be posted on social media. I should keep an eye out for the announcement.

But I’m not on the social medias where this will be posted. And the thing is, my heart aches for them now. A gathering with others that loved them like I did and more is what I’m used to doing. I’m used to finding out where the services will be held and carve out time for visiting and try to decide what to wear and get makeup on between tears.

“For thousands of years, funerals have been how we express our beliefs, thoughts, and feelings about the death of someone we love. The funeral ceremony helps us acknowledge that someone we love has died. It allows us to say goodbye. It helps us remember the person who died and gives us a time and place to share those memories with others. It provides a social support system for everyone grieving the death. It gives us a focused time for us to think about the meaning of life and death. And it offers a sense of continuity and hope for the living.

Funerals may be about the person who died, but they are for the living. A good funeral puts you on the path to good grief and healthy mourning.” ~ Dr. Alan Wolfelt

The fading away

I don’t want them to get put to the side just yet. That will happen in time. Right now, I want to attend a ceremony, a ritual. And then we can keep moving them forward – with stories and memories. And, as Time will have it, there will come a day when I’ll only think about them now and then. It will be those times I will evoke the threads of our stories and time together.

It’s all part of movement. The air moves and shifts when beings gather and honor together with tears and stories. At the same time, it can be a balm to hear the name of the person repeated throughout the gathering by the voices of others who knew and loved them too. The music of their name spoken aloud in story is sweet to my ears.

A ghost from the past

In the early years, when I worked at a small rural clinic, we had a lot of familiar relationships with clients in the community. These were folks you saw at the feed mill, at the grocery store, at funerals and weddings. I remember hitting it off instantly with a youngish mother who moved to the area. She had a menagerie of animals on a small farm where she lived with her sister and her kids who were in their early teens. Between her coming in the clinic and us making farm calls, she was a regular. A high headed, weathered woman, we sensed our spirits were kindred.

I was in disbelief when we heard the news she’d died suddenly. A fluke serious illness that seemingly had her sick one day and dead the next. Her services were in another state. So moved, I did my own tribute to her one early morning on my ride through the fields before going to work. The energy shifted that morning in the fog and mist on top of a horse. I think of her today as I do other friend clients.

The natural world’s response

Last week, there was a single doe hanging close to the house. She was coming out of the woods most every evening from the usual trails, but she was by herself. She looked wary and checked her back a lot. Nothing there that I could see or hear. But then, I thought, I hadn’t seen the doe with the single fawn and wondered if this were her. And, maybe she lost her baby.

This week, I see there’s another deer traveling with the doe that has twins and hangs around. And, I wonder if it’s the solo doe who might have lost her baby. If that’s her, I see how it might be very primal for her to lean in to this family of three. That’s the story I tell myself, anyway, and I feel better.

To ease one’s heart

To gather in ceremony, in remembrance of a loved one who has left the body, human or non-human, is a primal expression of sorrow. The natural world does this. And, I’ve witnessed amazing rituals with horses. It’s an honor to attend, even if it’s just to bear witness. It’s how we make our way, moving forward to healing.