I am working hard to clear my head and align my spirit so that I can be 100% focussed on my dissertation and successfully complete it this year. I feel that in order to make this happen I need to expunge much that lingers peripherally in my head and allow the passion to percolate to the surface where if most happily can reside. I love my academic work, it is exciting and really makes me feel alive but there are leftovers cluttering the pathway and I feel that by publicly reaching in and acknowledging them I will permit my eyes to see, my ears to hear and my heart to sing. Dance with me sweet spirit.
This past Saturday we laid my Mom to rest in so many ways: physically, spiritually, emotionally, and in ways I think we have yet to appreciate. In an equal number of ways I am trying to clear myself of familial baggage knowing that this new old generation has lost it’s last remaining centering point and will now be independently deciding what is important with respect to generational topologies and meanings; not that we hadn’t been doing this for many years but now there is no real reach-back as the apron is finally and completely gone.
We all do the best we are able when it comes to our children. Sometimes parents struggle with the toolkit and other times it wouldn’t matter how fine the toolkit is, the ability to use it wisely or with refined understanding just might not be there. Then there is the ability of the children; what kinds of toolkits are they imbued with, how well are they able to discern their gifts, how well are they able to appreciate and respond to life-terraforming events, and to the dynamic that becomes their universe? Do they play well with others, can they share with empathy, and do they understand and are able to survive well within the richness of the world around them? These statements talk to all of us and yet sometimes it takes the crushing defeat of our mortal existence to allow these life attributes an opportunity to surface for others to see; to surface and help define the shape of the apron-less adventure that is about to begin.
Our independent and disparately crafted farewell came together like deconstructing a train wreck in reverse. Salutations became like rough-hewn lumber stacked in amongst fine tissue paper while members of the middle generation worked to plane surfaces in most creative ways and then restack the deck to allow the finer pieces to act as compliments or segues for those either unaffected or needing a respite from the not-so-transparent dance of side-taking and one-upmanship in the setup. It was a like a forced marriage in reverse; the younger family as door attendants joked about asking attendees which “side” they were representing. The chapel entrance brought many treats, many tentative surprises, and many unexpected joys. Wedding and funerals: it seems that families without dominant patriarchs or matriarchs struggle to understand how to fill the gap in between these two life altering events and instead rely upon extremes to notch a hole in the family tree for future generations to puzzle over.
After bloodlines and their respective supporters had found their places in this purposefully chosen quaint chapel and the remaining arboreal decks had been bevelled into place, the over exaggerated staging of the floral and pictorial scenery was played and replayed with great solemnity for fine effect and finally the play was set in motion.
For a few moments the Gods took over and the disparate became a connected theme of love and happiness, richness and joy: a story with a common message and theme, a story that Mom may have hoped for but never believed would have been so publicly articulated. Across four generations and from a childhood remembrance, Mom’s story has been inked and etched in the finest way a loving parent could be remembered. And then the Gods departed leaving us with a fragile, translucent gift: appreciated by some and invisible to others.
The requisite let-loose refreshment event went well and served its purpose of tension release, safe family boundary crossing, and much relief to many. Gaps had been filled for many of the non-blood supporters and family impressions were either confirmed or dispelled and my sense was that there was much dispelling but maybe that was my wishful thinking. Cousins also seemed to finally feel freer to reach across and connect and stand back to watch the new last generation wrestle with their fresh and immovable lots and wonder just how well the new family dynamic would hold together. The air was lighter albeit with lingering tensions and these tensions ebbed and flowed for several hours as many took their leave knowing that thank you and farewell was farewell. A memory, a tacit gift, something to mull over for a day or two and then in time; I wonder what ever happened to… ?
The final act was now upon us. The wind was cold and the ground may have been sacred but this final moment only helped to show us that for some, pain is a life-long career and what may seem quite analogue with an ending for many was nothing more than one more chance to rip open and keep alive wounds real or imagined and provide head shaking material for bereft writers of day-time mindlessness.
Solemnity, heavenly invocations, words of scripture, comfort and craft, careful and gentle interment of the last vestige of our mortal being covered with the assistance of all in attendance and then without missing a heartbeat across and above the freshly settling earth an ever so unsubtle conversation was struck concerning chattels believed due forthwith and with the added subtlety of litigious support should the message be unclear. Who says we don’t know how to multitask today?
I still have and appreciate my love beads from when I was 19 years old and still know what these symbols meant to me, and many in my generation. My hope is that my granddaughter, and her generation can finds ways to embrace the good and the heart-felt vision that my generation held so dear at some point in our past. In doing so I hope that their hearts lead the way and they find balance in the other competing elements in their lives and when they come to cover up my generation’s ashes, all they leave behind is a sprig of something beautiful or maybe a bead from my necklace and with that end, the air is clear and I trust that my granddaughter and her peers will have no room in their hearts to waste time on anything other than the joyful gifts of the heart they have been left with.
OK – enough – spirits awake after a good night sleep and let loose the final remnants of data analysis and swiftly step into the world of my dissertation.