It's one of those days where whatever intention you had in mind seems to simply disappear without much thought. I'm at a loss for words, and I'm processing through a loss that I'm not sure how to process through just yet.
I was supposed to be at Christopher's workshop/fundraiser today, was quite excited about it, looking forward to connecting with new people and just being able to be part of something so fun, but this morning about a half hour before I was set to go, unable to fight back tears, I called and pulled out.
Let me back up a moment...
Yesterday I was finalizing last minute details with my brother who was coming to babysit today while I went to this workshop. After we hung up it was time to get Nimue ready for bed and after brushing her teeth my phone rang. It was the default ring so I figured it was Drac calling from work, and I asked Nimue to get it while I getting a couple of things. I missed the call and figured I'd check the message after I put her to bed, so I had her hop into bed and wait for me to come do storytime with her when I decided I might as well check the message now, to get it out of the way.
"Hi honey, it's Mom. Joe died this morning." Click.
I just sat there in shock. Even typing this up, sitting here in this moment, I'm still in shock. I burst into tears and could not stop crying, and the next thing I know Nimue has her little arms wrapped around me allowing me to just fall apart in her sweet arms saying tenderly to me, "it's ok Mommy, I'm right here, I'm not going anywhere"... it still brings tears to my eyes remembering that moment.
She asked what was wrong, what happened. I explained that Nana's husband, Grampa Joe, had gone to the Goddess. She only met him once, she doesn't remember him, but she knew this was a sad thing for me to process through, just as when K had died, wow, coming up to a year next month, she said "don't worry Mommy, we'll find him, I'll find him for you"... the innocence of children is so tender.
Joe is Drac's stepfather. He's married to Drac's biological mother, the one who accepted me from the get-go of our relationship unlike the adopted MIL I have. She accepted me into the family, without question, and our relationship was quite strong for many years. Joe was always around, a sweet and playful man, we drank the same tea... I can still see myself in their kitchen running low and him pouring me a cup, then proceeding to head to the fridge to pour some milk into his glass, which always made me both shudder at the notion but secretly want to try it.
They moved out of their home and we didn't see them nearly as often as we once did. They met Nimue once, and we kept in touch with my MIL over the phone, though Joe had always been at work when we phoned.
We knew his health was declining. Diagnosed with lung cancer he seemed to be doing as well as could be expected, but then he started to have blackouts more and more frequently. Still, this naive notion in my mind told me that he'd be ok, that everything would be ok.
Even last month I was told he had been diagnosed with brain cancer. The day before my class with Christopher where we would be doing psychic diagnosis I was informed of this. And even then, still, I thought he'd be fine. I did. I really, really did.
I never thought to go visit. I never thought to hop in the car and see how he was doing, to really ask what I could do for them. I didn't think to do this because I didn't think there was anything that needed to be done... I thought he'd be fine.
He had been moved to a facility during this time, trying to help him get better, but maybe instead they were there to help make his transition easy. I don't know. The thing about Drac's biological mother is that she's a very proud womyn. She grew up and battled things that no womyn should have to battle, and giving up her children was no easy feat, I know. But she's stubborn as hell, and she's the first to admit it! She won't ask for help, she doesn't want help, and even when things are horrible she won't tell you until it's past the point of being awful and taking a turn for the better, or when it's headed south and there isn't much to be done. She, herself, suffers a great deal of medical problems. We've been surprised at how long she has managed to stay alive despite what the doctors have said. And while I know western medicine isn't always definitive in its diagnosis, she has survived things that most people couldn't, or wouldn't.
When she told me about Joe's brain cancer and I told Drac he was concerned. I wasn't. Why wasn't I more concerned? Why? Why did I think something that advanced would be able to keep him alive indefinitely? Because there's this childish notion inside that thinks good people won't die. This is my first real process through death, and it's full of questions and confusion, as though I were a child asking the hard questions of her parents.
I'm a 30 year old womyn who has never been to a funeral. To most this is an amazing feat. It's not to say my relatives haven't passed, I have lived through 2 wonderful aunts who I have loved who are no longer here, but I was a child when it happened, living in the states while they were in Chile, so I didn't see them at their end. I still only see them now, my Tia Meche teaching me to make homemade mayonnaise, going through dozens upon dozens of eggs, always patient, never scolding, until I got a batch right. Or my Tia Connie, who was a very poor womyn but spent more money than we could imagine how valuable it was to them just to buy a silly girl a bottle of orange soda whenever she came to visit.
I have this naive notion whenever I return to Chile that they're simply not here during my visit. It's childlike, yes, in a protective and secure way, but I kind of like it that way. My mother had taken me to see Tia Meche's grave site when we were last there. I didn't want to, but she asked, so I said yes. I had silent tears there, because it wasn't her. It may have been, what I said to my spiritual mother today on the phone, her "post office", but it wasn't her. She was everywhere.
Even when K died, the funeral was for the family only. There was a memorial for her DoveStar family, and I processed there, even though I didn't feel her gone.
My process through death is one where the spirit side of myself celebrates their growth, their expansion of self, their journey forward to their next life... I haven't yet figured out how to process through it from a human perspective, because it's so new to me.
You see the process around you: smiling means you're happy, so when others smile, you smile; crying means you're sad, so when others cry, you cry. I'm crying, for Joe, for my MIL, for Drac, because it's a loss, it's sad, but I don't know what else, how else, I'm supposed to feel.
If the shoe were on the other foot, if this is what my students or clients were going through I would tell them to simply be, as much as they can, in that moment, just breathe and be. The judging is inevitable. What we could have done, what we should have done, what we'll do now. That's the obvious next step. Death makes us reevaluate our relationship with others, so we feel the importance and the need to express love and gratitude everywhere, until that becomes old and tedious, and we return to our ignorant and unconscious ways.
We didn't come by enough. What's enough? We didn't express our love enough. What's enough? These questions. These fucking questions that play over and over, because you feel angry and you feel the need to be angry AT something... when it's all judgment towards yourself. The mirror turns and you look at what you could have done. It's a mind-fuck of a game. I don't want to participate in it.
I don't know what happens now. This is new to me, and it makes me nervous, like a small child, afraid of what will become lost next. It's not to dwell, just awareness. Joe was family.
It's not even a day and I'm already "was'ing" him. He's no longer an "is". I don't know what to make of that. I don't know how to process through that. And I know I keep saying that, but I really don't. I feel like I should know. I'm judging my level of processing here. From the spiritual perspective I am saddened but hopeful for his spirit... and part of that translates to this realm of reality, while the other feels alien to process of grief.
I've grieved for lost parts of myself. I've grieved for loss. I've never really had to grieve for family. And I have questions. Questions like: was he in pain? Was he alone when it happened? Did he know he was dying? Did he have regrets? Was he at peace?
Just questions upon questions.
The veils are thinning day by day as Samhain approaches, and honoring his spirit will be appropriate, but I wish... I just wish...
I just wish for his happiness, beyond the realms, I just want him to be in peace. And I hope that he is feeling fully embraced by the loving arms of the Goddess, who is comforting me and embracing me now as I learn the lessons of loss.
Joe, I am having a cup of tea with you, laughing at how many times you kicked my ass in Uno.