Anniversary – to be Con’t
Yesterday was the anniversary of my adopted mom’s death. I’ll be posting more about that over the weekend, when I will be making some ancestral observances and ritual. I did not want it to go unremarked here, however, and this is the first access i’ve had to my computer since very early yesterday.
Fuensanta Arismendi Plaza 1950-2010 came into my life like a miracle from the Gods. She preserved and nourished me, and loved me dearly in all ways but the most obviously literal, my mother. It’s cliche to say of someone who has died that there isn’t a day that goes by that one doesn’t think about them, but it’s true and even being a shaman and ancestor worker didn’t soften the blow of her death. (You’d think working with the dead, and having that access to the Gods and spirits would make such a thing easier, more comprehensible, common place but it didn’t. Not in the least).
The first few years after her death i found myself wanting to collect everything that she had touched, every picture, every item, ever tiny scrap of paper. I realized early on i was trying to summon the corporeal sense of her presence but…it doesn’t work. When her partner died she burned almost everything that he owned. At the time she told me this, i was appalled. I tend to use things as mnemonic devices and there’s a comfort in being able to pick up a trinket and unroll a complicated memory. She told me then that they wouldn’t bring him back and that it was somehow obscene that these things existed when he no longer did. While I still cherish the things that she gave me, she’s right. They do not create that conduit. They do not evoke that presence. They do not in any way create the corporeal sense of presence here and now. Memory and ancestor work is the best we have.
For me, telling stories about all our adventures and how we met and sharing her letters (I have reams and reams of them), and hauling out her pictures (oh how she hated to have her picture taken) to and with my partner, who never met her in life, has been very healing. I worry that I will forget the ins and outs of our time together. I worry that one day I won’t remember what her culture Basel accent sounded like, or how she moved, or what we did when we went to that little town outside of Montreux that time when we were in Switzerland, or what it was like when we were together, what it was like to be so deeply loved by one’s mother, what it was like to have a mother who was also one’s best friend.
Grief still weighs me down and i know that when she died she took a part of my soul with her. There is a part of me that is emptied out of life, because she is not here to anchor me to living anymore. There is a part of me that went with her across that chasm of life into death. There is a part of me that will never find its way back and that’s ok. It’s fitting. I would rather that connection be shared still than to live whole with no part of my heart marked by her passing.
I will write more about this later.