It's still November, but a different November than the month originally started, or how I originally perceived it. One week has completely shifted the entire month, which has completely shifted my entire presence in this moment... in that moment... it feels so separate, yet circumstances have been oddly aligned, and my process through it has been in part shattered grief, in part redefined purpose. It's such a strange place to be, it loses identification even in memory.
Back-tracking seems silly. Pointless even, but it serves its purpose, even now, to bring me back to the present moment, where I am still sitting in confusion, and loss.
Last I wrote, I was going to Lama John's day-long retreat on Access our Best Inner Resources for Service and Social Action: Meditations of Natural Wisdom and Compassion. It was a long drive down to Northampton, the weather spirits dancing in mystery that I felt but wasn't willing to fully interpret.
The morning was presented as an opportunity for us to identify benefactors of love, and I was impressed by the universe's gift to identify a benefactor even before the retreat began. It was a moment where strangers met, shared space and conversation, but without fear, which this person seemed to have been met with. It was a moment of non-judgment, I wasn't even fully present in the moment and that initial, momentary, meeting brought me into this space of natural awareness, and the cold rain as I walked to the church for the retreat was awakening.
The retreat itself was amazing, and I was feeling this abundance of love emanating so easily from me. I had lunch with a womyn who I had just met, just enjoying the conversation about our thoughts on compassion when I went to check my phone for any messages before shutting it off again for the second half of the day. I never did get to experience the second half... I got a call I won't soon forget, and the pain isn't as piercing as it was, but it's still there.
My friend Jonathan killed himself. I, alongside many of his friends who loved him dearly, waited, impatiently, hoping for the best, never considering the worst, not realistically. You can't ever really, truly, imagine the "worst" until it comes to you, so fast, it's blurry, it's confusing, it's unreal. Completely and totally unreal, though, it is, real. Painfully real.
I left immediately, making the long 3 hour drive home desperate to just hold Nimue, to connect with life, to safely release the emotions of feeling the loss of my friend. Even now, simply typing it out, I almost don't want to let myself go there. It still feels like an illusion.
I walked around numb for the next few days, until the one day that I started to feel like I could center myself fully, I got another call from my friend Joe... our friend Amy was in the hospital, and the doctors said she wouldn't make it through the night. It had only been 5 days since Jonathan's death. He asked if I could come to the hospital, to be there, to heal, to support, to do what she wanted me to do, which was to help her in any metaphysical and magickal way possible, so she could cross over.
I spent some time that evening speaking with Christopher about it, wanting to get his perspective, as it's not something I've ever had to do. It put into a whole new perspective about the art of priestessing, and how it isn't all handfastings and baby blessings. The Wheel does turn, and equal measure is experienced and nurtured and honored in its time. His words were extremely helpful, and our discussion on the detachment was precisely what I needed in that moment.
I went to see Amy in the hospital at midnight. Not caring what time it was, needing to be there for her, for Joe, and for me, feeling like she was, indeed, slipping away, I needed to be there to say bye, but I needed to be there to fulfill her wish.
I didn't know Amy very long, she's best friends with my friend Joe, who spoke often to her about me. I still remember the day we met at an Averi show when I was doing merch, and how she didn't even know my name but called Joe that night to say "I met her, I know it's her", and how she spoke about this light that I was emanating that clearly made her see it was me.
She considered me her mentor on this path. A title I didn't give much thought to, as it felt heavy, yet in reality look at the work that I do, priestessing is mentoring. That's part of the process of facilitating in many ways. Still, I saw it as being there, sharing with her as I would share with anyone... to hear, now, what she really thought of me, how important my role was in her life is both beautiful and painful to hear.
She was in ICU, unconscious, brought into the hospital unconscious, it was a strange feeling gowning up before entering her room. With each layer I placed on, the more detached I became. Not out of an act of coldness, no, never, it was to center myself in the work. I was there for a purpose, and I was honoring where I was at, but this was about her, her journey.
I won't go into details of the process of the foundation she allowed me to lay for her. It's sacred, and I want to honor her experience and hold it for her. It was one of the most profound moments I have experienced as a Priestess. Incredibly powerful, and I am more honored than I can say for her allowing me to do that for her.
She physically passed from this realm on Friday... I go the news a half hour before I went to Jonathan's wake. It does come in three's, and saying goodbye this past month from Joe, to Jonathan and then Amy, it was hard. It is hard.
Friday, itself, was painful. To be there, to hear exactly what happened to him... I'm not sure I have cried that hard in a long time.
I'm not going to ask the proverbial questions of "why"... I can't say that I know exactly why, but I can understand, to some degree, why. I was depressed once. So depressed, so lost in a darkness that I really, honestly, never thought I would survive. I never thought I would survive it. I would never have predicted this life, now. Never. I was suicidal, attempted to take my life on more than one occasion, and yet, I didn't. I awakened from the darkness, still in it, but not teetering on personal loss of self, but desperate to follow the voice of the Goddess who was guiding me.
In the balance of death I am seeing the rebirth, the Otherside and the beauty to where their spirits are, in the Summerland, in the Otherworld, embraced by the Goddess. Still, in this physical realm, it's strange and sad and terrible, a great many painful things, but I am holding space for them, remembering them, crying for them, crying with them... I miss them.
A lifetime feels like it has been lived in this very short month, even shorter week. I still feel slightly disconnected from everything around me, not interested in hearing the complaints of the world, the bullshit details of mass consumerism for Black Friday and how we "must" purchase the "perfect" gift for someone to show them our love. Like most who process through loss, your vision changes, and you simply want another moment with those gone, numb to the aspects that aren't harmonious, and it makes you feel just a little more disconnected from those around you, who mean well, but they themselves don't know how to comfort, and many don't want to.
My experience this week with cheap and thoughtless words of "comfort" has been upsetting to witness. The common, cheaply used phrase of "well, there was nothing you could do" angered (and continues to anger) me in ways I can't describe. Not out of a notion of guilt. As I've spoken about before, I don't identify with guilt, not in the way society poisons us with. It upsets me because what kind of world do we live in, what kind of people are we if we go around believing that we can't help anyone?
What would be the purpose of my work then? Yes, sometimes we tell ourselves this, share it with others to ease our own guilt, so that we don't beat ourselves up any further, but I have no desire to listen to it.
Granted I have not had much experience in loss, thankfully, but I reflected on what it is that I would want to hear, if it were me, and I attempt to stand in that space for others. I don't want cheap words, I don't want the proverbial "they're in a better place" when you yourself believe in nothing. You don't believe in a "better place", so where, exactly, are they? Even if you know that I believe in the after life, in reincarnation, in another realm, still, why...
It's exhausting to process through these thoughts, but it's a necessary part of the healing. It has been another layer of personal growth, an initiation that comes as initiations sometimes come: when you think you are least prepared for it.
For now, I sit in the center of the Wheel, observing the cycles turning, focusing on L.O.V.E. (Luminous Omnipresent Vibrational Energy... thanks Jack!).