“…here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)”
— e.e. cummings
Today is All Saint’s Day.Tomorrow is All Soul’s Day. It is also a Full Moon, cycle of completion and fruition.
I woke last night to a bright light in my face, Grandmother Moon.It was All Hallow’s Eve, the night the veil is lifted between this world and the next.My Dead Loved Ones were closer and we whispered through the night, delighted to be together, consoling one another that on this side we’re doing OK, and on that side we’re doing OK.I’ll see you again some day, I’ll see you again some day.
I went outside in the deep fog and said prayers with Grandmother Moon.I greeted my recently departed and asked they take special care of some friends who just got there, and others who will be arriving soon.They will.The air was damp and cool in the night. My dog was by my side, wagging her tail, and I cried because I don’t want to say goodbye to her, someday soon.
This edge between the living and the dead is razor sharp.Life without our Loved One is living with a carved out space in our hearts that nothing can fill in.It feels like falling, like in those dreams where you are falling – but you don’t wake up and you keep on falling.It feels like nothing can help or save you and that you will never again find peace in your heart. My slim advice: cry and remember your Love to whomever will listen, as long as you need to do that. It will soften and shift.
It is a sharp edge also because of our own terror of our own death, of saying goodbye to family, kisses, strawberries, butterflies, babies, wind, water, dogs.We are afraid, most of us.And these days, because we are so separated from Mother Earth and our place in all things, because we have tangled and reduced our connections, we feel even more lost.
It will be OK.It will all work out, on both sides.
Remembering and honoring our Dead weaves new connections between the worlds, and roots us deeper to The Mother.When it is our time to die and to leave – and we will, like it or not – we may die in terror or in another more peaceful way. I pray we each die with a sense of connection to this side and to the next.
What helps me stand at the sharpest edge:
- Spending these days when the curtains part to visit and praise my Dead, along with millions of others around the world, connects me.You could make a special place to remember your ancestors and loved ones, put out a photo, light a candle, bring a bit of candy (we have lots of that hanging around today!) and a pretty leaf. And then remember Them with sweetness and honor as you go about your day.
- Stories and thoughts from other people: Fresh Air from WHYY: Terry Gross interviews poet Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno about her collection of poems, Slamming Open the Door.
- Being proactive and getting information: Funeral Consumers Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting a consumer’s right to choose a meaningful, dignified, affordable funeral.
- Really good books: You Only Die Once and who doesn’t love Gary Larson! This is a good one for kids: There’s a Hair in My Dirt