Back to the cemetery

Last week we attended a talk at Greenwood Cemetery about the Egyptians by the Brooklyn Museum of Arts curator, Egyptologist Edward Bleiberg. I was fascinated to hear how the affluent were able to install tombs laden with riches and items to ensure a safe passage into the netherworld. The process of mid to low range earners creativity to do the same was even more compelling.

This is a short post, not discussing all those wonderful details, but about something else- totally related to the dead of those and other times. The talk was given in the evening during those in-between times I like to write about and experience. The times when the veils are more permeable for communication for those in both worlds.

We watched as the evening darkened. While the speaker shared in a low lit room, we felt the presence of the dead become more and more palpable. When we exited into the twilight, the air was stirred by a gentle breeze. By the time we entered the car I knew we weren’t alone.

As soon as I arrived home I smudged with pungent sage. The feeling of being accompanied by a different energy lasted throughout the following days. It was very strong. Lots of voices attempted contact but they were not clear enough for me to decipher.

This past Sunday we were elbow deep in suds as we scrubbed our doggies. The ancestors speak when they’re ready. They were finally ready or maybe they felt I was ready to listen. They gave me their simple message. Please don’t forget us. They wanted me to share it with you too.

I’m the first to say that I don’t forget my dead. I pray, I light candles, and carefully tend to my altar. One thing I heard at the talk that was different was that the Egyptologist spoke about families having picnics at the tomb sites. Truly celebrating their dead. Interesting, isn’t it?

It makes me wonder about what other ways I can commune with the dead. Seances, Misas, meditation, and the like, for sure. Maybe a trip to my family’s burial site with a full picnic basket and blanket is next in order. I’ll let you know. You can let us know by writing a comment too.

Through the veils,

With love and light,

Theresa

The Grief Train

The monstrous carriage rolls into the station. Its metal wheels screech to a halt. The doors open and the conductor yells out, “All aboard!” I stand at the edge of the platform, take a deep breath and just as I’m about to enter, I stall. Not again.

One thing about grief is that it just doesn’t do its thing alone. It dredges up every last death I’ve mourned. It surprises me in its depth. It shakes every bit of intellect I have and throws me into the dark waters of emotion.

Our dear friend crossed over to the spiritual world a few days ago. Because she wasn’t my sister or my mother, this time, I don’t have to tend to the particulars. Because she wasn’t my coworker, who died suddenly at the age of forty four, I don’t have to hold a support group for fifty clients whose mouths were gaping at the wrenching news that had come ten minutes before I was informed I’d be supporting them in their grief.  This time I’m not ten and I don’t have certain responsibilities, like sitting quietly as I make sure that all of my family members are all right- pretending that I don’t mind that no one is asking me how I feel.

This time around, the train is here at the station, but it’s different. I have a spiritual family who is hugging me and I am hugging them. I am at the disposal of her children, who are all warriors in their own rights. I get to remember how she nicknamed our dog and how she was persistent and got the landlord to change that stupid countertop she hated. I get to remember how she calmed me down and told me not to worry because I hadn’t done something perfectly. I get to remember how she tended to me as I was initiated into my bountiful spiritual practice. I will remember how she wasn’t afraid to tell the truth, that she complained when she wasn’t happy about something and that she started exercising in her sixties-telling me we can always change and be open to new things.

This time I don’t think I’m going to get on that grief train. I am going to do my best to keep her love for life within me. I will miss her but she will always be with me. Sometimes the tritest sayings are actually the most healing. Today, I will easy does it. This is the day my HP has made- I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Mortality Muse

 Lately I’ve tooled around with the idea of death-my own. There are many reasons why I would. Turning on the news brings images of horrendous devastation, in a month or so it will be the anniversary of my sister’s death and so on. I’ve also been a nurse for the last many, many years and have been at death’s bedside in some shape or form in what seems like always. I’ve had close one’s die, the earliest being my slightly older sister when I was eleven. The last was my mother’s, a little over a decade ago. I loved them dearly. With all the deaths I’ve encountered, I’ve leant myself to them in some way, physical, mental, emotional and, especially, spiritual.

I recently completed the Brooklyn Half-Marathon (13.1 miles of all of you non-runners). I finished exhausted. I’d over trained and didn’t enjoy it as I usually do. I told my partner that if I were ever to die running and she overheard someone mention that’s just how I would want it, that she should deny it for me. I told her that I’d much prefer to die propped on pillows autographing my published books for my fans. If by some chance I hadn’t been published and any one said that I hadn’t realized my dream, that she should argue that point too. One of the last editors that I sent my manuscript to may not have taken my book, but she took me under her wing. That was enough, I realized. Yes, I still want to be published the old-fashioned way, but I have received more with my rejections than I could ever have thought possible. As my brain streamed along the points I want clarified after my death, I decided I wanted my children to know that there is no third sibling, half or otherwise lurking about waiting to cash in on their meager inheritance. They could feel free to fight over paying my debts as much as they want to, together!

I realize that my death anxiety comes from a lack of control and powerlessness of how things will be. Not, I see, in the future, but in my past. I’m not so worried about whether I have to hang out at St. Peter’s gate until I come up with a good joke. If I’m in pain, I trust that some good doctor or nurse will load me with analgesics until I float. Whether my death is sudden or slow, I believe that with the support I have, that somehow I will persevere until I cross to the other side. I’ve decided not to worry about meeting my mother at the pearly gates and that she will complain that I spent too much money I things I didn’t need. Or that my sister might say, “You shouldn’t have done that when you were fifteen, thank the heavens I was your guardian angel and got you out of that scrape.”

Since I have no idea what my last day will be like, I am choosing to live until I die. I say that with the humor and love and deep appreciation for all those who have gone before me, in fear, in grace and acceptance. I have faith that I will be taken care of and the petty thoughts that consume me will be put to rest. I keep all of those who are in the pain of experiencing the death of their loved ones, anticipated or otherwise, in my heart. I pray for all of those who are in the process of crossing over and are in the pain of leaving the ones they love behind. This topic is so much bigger than a thought, a phrase, or a paragraph. For some reason I’ve been moved to address it and I have. For me, living means taking action an sharing what is important to me. I have so much love for so many people, that I want them to know that I am happy, have no regrets and wish them as full and as useful a life as I’ve had up until now. I hope I can read this blog in thirty or forty years and remember how I felt and what I was thinking today. If not, today is enough.