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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Speaker for the Dead

Bloom when you can, where you are.

"Sometimes lies are more dependable than the truth."
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

Fall. Pumpkins. Goblins and ghouls.

Parties and costumes and not a clue.

We are straddling the time between...

Summer and Winter

Plenty and Paltry

Life and Death

Ancestral Altar
I remember.

Samhain, All Hallow's Eve, Halloween, is the time of honoring those who have passed beyond the veil. This night is the time when the veil is thinnest between the worlds. It is honored (or feared) as the dead return; hence, costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and candy.

Each year I hold my loved ones in my heart and honor the love we shared, the support they extended and the adventure that continues in their absence. The photo is of my honored space on the north wall at the eastern side of my home. Each item represents an aspect of my life past - a place, time, or experience. Perhaps, a person.

I am challenged at this writing to type the words I considered. The Speaker for the Dead tells the story of one who has passed. The Speaker shares that person's life - their hopes, dreams, challenges, and accomplishments with clarity, understanding, and compassion. My intention was to be Speaker for my mother, who passed in March 2012.

There are a number of problems with this process. I do not know her well enough to answer even the basic questions. My story of my mother is filled with angst and woe (and a bit of resentment, still). I can only guess and suppose what challenges confronted her based on the distress she handed down to me. What I can offer is how my life is, because of who she was.

My mother had an obsession with putting money away. Beyond saving, she learned a tuck and hide (from her father) that I picked up. She didn't actually talk about it. I just knew that there must always be money someplace that no one else know about. I have learned to manage, budget and save, even in the most difficult of times. That was a gift.

My mother was a great cook and had great patience for sifting and measuring. She knew the value of better ingredients if one expected to have a delightful result. When others were using lard and margarine, we still baked with butter. When imitation vanilla came on the market, we bought pure. We were poor, yet she never lowered her standards for baking. Besides encyclopedias, we had lots of cook books to read.

While I was not impressed as a child of the 60s, my mother sewed most of our clothes. They were butt ugly. People laughed at me all the time. It seriously sucked. I was in college, working at Sears, before I could buy anything fashionable. When I had children, I made their clothes. The time and energy invested made me feel wonderful. I bought a bolt of fabric and made outfits to match. From newborn to grade school, I worked days and sewed nights. (I had some prairie persona going on.)

Something happened to my mother and she spend lots of time and energy pitting my father and siblings against me. Too bad. I didn't buy in. They did. Too bad, some more. There were moments that I felt overwhelmingly sad, hurt, lost and rejected. I made countless poor (less useful) decisions hoping for my mother's acceptance and approval. Running down the road one day, I realized that it didn't matter what I did, it wasn't coming.

I love my children, no matter what. I tell them so. When they were teens, they would offer scenarios to challenge the promise. No way. They are my family and I am committed to love and cherish them. Today they are adults, making and living their own lives and decisions. Do I agree? Not always. Love isn't dependent on agreement. Love is.

Samhain is the time when I open to the deep and abiding love I have shared in a time and place that has passed. I thought I would have this piece with my mother sorted before she died. I went when they called because I have been dragging this piece around my whole life. Something had to shift. That whole deathbed declaration fantasy... just didn't happen.

This moment we are in, here and now... This is it. Step up. Reach out and love another. There's no day but today.

Om Shanti Om

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