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July 20/Third Quarter Moon
There is no before or after, there is just everything at once.
With the primary phase of the Third Quarter moon we head into the last week of a lunation that began with Josh and I in the woods not knowing yet that Dad had died. In fact he probably died as I woke that first morning at a campsite at Bearskin Lake. I wrote that morning in my bed and was filled with so much love, for everyone my pen touched on including Dad, for my upcoming trip, for this sense of purpose I have newly found through my expression here in this newsletter. Next week, when the New Moon comes again, it will be both a beginning and an ending. And really each primary phase is. Each moment contains it all. And when you see time that way it looses its linear aspect. There is no before and after, there is just everything at once.
I didn’t really mean to write about Dad today. I was going to write about how helpful making a service for him was. Dad had directed us to Center for Spiritual Living(CSL) and we found so much of him there, in the people we met and the culmination of the service itself. We had managed to talk funeral when I saw him in April and the only thing he really cared about was doing the service at CSL and having Jim Valley play. It was the ceremony, the music, and the prep leading up that provided so much. Reverend Francis brought the structure to us. The Daughters spent the week preparing our words. The kids each falling into their role, even Henry from far away. Meeting Mario the evening before as we set everything up and hearing about Dad arriving to CSL in the first place, early on, when he was first mourning my stepmother, Shirley. And watching the special care they took for Linda. And it feels so right to bring this lunation around to the funeral ceremony as it began with my wedding ceremony. There was something created in all the individual choices, something tangible and heartfelt and forgiving in the symbols and meaning that I will take with me always. One thing Josh and I learned from our wedding is that a lot of things in your relationship get sorted with the process of creating the event itself. Well, now I can see how that can be true with the making of a funeral as well.
One other thing I thought to explore here this week before we finish this lunation, is how much harder it is to see mom after my travels to Europe an an extended break from her. There is a uselessness that I feel that is so hard to get passed. I think she has a little bit of recognition of me. She will give me a small smile. But if I try to talk to her, there is stress. She is stressed by the interaction that she can’t quite reciprocate. She frowns, shrugs, and brushes it off. And her dismissal hooks me.
Through the pandemic mom came over to my house to make video calls to my grandma. It was a touchstone for all of us, Mom, Grandma, Bill/Will and me. And we would make weekly visits down to visit her in person, weather permitting, because this all happened outside. Mom was hyper focussed on making the Mankato visits happen and would want to go every single day. My mom was very intense at this point at seeking connection with Grandma. You could tell Grandma was overwhelmed by it and couldn’t quite meet her there. There were many moments of joy.
Mom was concerned that Grandma never called her by her name. And I could see that they were losing the capacity to fully meet and hold the others’ attention. Eventually on the drives there or back mom couldn’t hold on to which direction we were headed. The time we arrived back to my house to drop me off after our visit, and mom couldn’t remember we had just gone, was the most heartbreaking for me. Over time mom lost her drive to see grandma and these visits changed, their interaction minimal. The last time mom visited, mom and grandma sat beside each other in the rocking chairs. There was one moment where they reached out to each other and made eye contact and that was all. A momentary recognition and then a return to their own small worlds. So that is all to say, the old ways of interacting don’t work. And I haven’t found new ways yet. And what I find the hardest is I don’t know my why to do it, unless it is to give Bill a break. And that is reason enough. But it is still hard to see mom.
As sad as this post may be, there is the joy of blamelessness here. That phrase comes from buddhism and I think of it as having no regrets. And maybe that is the difficulty in seeing mom now. I have are some ambiguous feelings about how things have changed since I went on my trip, but they were changing even before. Mom was no longer coming to my house for tea or calls. And my purpose had increasingly came from the baths and the conflict there had been painful. Increasingly it is getting hard for mom to descend the stairs to the kitchen for dinner. It’s a progressive and cruel disease and we have wrung as many experiences as we could from the years since her first diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment. There is something to celebrate in that and to recognize each moment contains it all. More soon.
Much love, Tina
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