Monday, 2 November 2015
This has been a time of great change and movement for me and my family over the last 6 months. Settling down in our new home after the turmoil of rogue landlord and assault, I have given myself plenty of time to allow our roots to finally dig down deep into the loamy earth of Glastonbury. Feeling at home at last and peering out over the land to see what delights are in store for our time here.
Entering the autumn and its descent into the stillness and anticipation under the Earth that is winter. My favourite times of the year. My favourite seasons. From the start of harvests, with its golden seas of fields, the second harvest of apples and fruit and picking hedgerow harvests, the 3rd harvest of Samhain and that still moment when the veil is tangible. I anticipated that time, when I walk the land, connecting with it, the animals, the spirits and the dark brown crumble of the fields stripped of their harvests. I love this time so much. I look forward to the cold visible breath and the early morning mists of Avalon. Long walks in warm woolly wraps and gloves and arriving home to the smell of comforting cooking, rich thick stews, topped with dumplings. Apple cinnamon cooking to complete a day full of sensations.
Then another shaky moment. I am thrust back into connection with my estranged birth family - counting my children and chosen friends as my true kin. Hearing my mother was dying and wanted to see me produced all kinds of unexpected emotions. I have for sometime felt I had already grieved for her, assuming she was now gone from me, a kind of death without actually dying. I don't think I'm a cruel person and regardless of the reasons for removing myself from my birth family I decided to visit her. I'm glad I did. After seeing the small, broken figure in a wheel chair, half her size and hardly able to stay conscious for tiredness I felt nothing but compassion. When she told me she was sorry and that people can make huge mistakes I knew this was a good time, we made our peace and I went to her funeral 2 weeks later to say goodbye again.
Its been a time of death and all its' work. From a college assignment into researching the heritage industry and its attitude towards human remains. Death in the family. The opening of the death café group locally and the count down towards Samhain. All happening together. I didn't expect to have a personal involvement with death just yet even though my mother was in her late 80s. The women in my family live long long lives. I expected she would go on into her late 90s or even like her great aunt - 104. And so I let go of whatever I had been waiting for regarding my mother and made peace. I didn't cry at her funeral - I did that years ago when I removed myself from the family. I thought I had done my grieving so her physical death wasn't the blow it might have been.
Still affected me though. I still grieved though I think in a different way than before. It was sad because we had made our peace and not had time to rebuild any kind of relationship. But then, maybe we did. I saw her presence by the coffin at the crematorium and sometimes I talk to her, feeling as an ancestor she is more real to me now than before. I remember times during her life when she had been motherly, memories that had got caught up and hidden in the net that held all the hurt and upsets that caused the rifts. I saw her as she was, a woman from a different generation with the hurts and hang ups from her own life. Her family issues, her religious constraints and all the baggage she held on to.
In the last conversation we had, she told me something I had never known. Something that may have made a difference to how I related to her growing up. I wish I had known, but knowing at last is better than never having known it at all. I honoured her and her soul at the day of the dead festival this weekend. I honoured her and her lessons to me at the chalice well on Samhain as I honoured all my friends and family that have gone from here. I remember her and that I did actually love her. I think she knew...