Last night I attended a full moon gathering in the Phoenix area. Not only was there a full moon shining over the desert, I met lovely women from all walks of life who are now woven into my life in a very good way.
For those of you wondering what a full moon gathering is, I’d like to say that it consisted of a fire and drums and wild dancing around said fire.
It didn’t. Consist of drums or dancing. Nor was it idol worshipping.
But there was indeed a fire that sparked and danced in the desert night sky. There were women seeking out the wisdom of other women. There was story-telling. Affirmations of self and spirit. A blessing (which brought me to tears).
And I had an epiphany in the process. An epiphany of words with which I’ve been wrangling in my mind for a few months now and which is now settled. And believe me, in these days of grief, I look for any moment or happening that brings me satisfaction and gives a feeling of settledness.
As any of you who read my blog know, I consider the words and language used around and about grief to be of vital importance. Use the language of grief accurately so as not to impose further grief on those who grieve. Simple enough, yeah?
In the months since Handsome Husband’s death, my knowledge, my knowing, of death and grief, has gone layers beyond what I’ve ever known. My brother and my mom died within 6 months of each other in 1996, and my life changed forever. Those two deaths, and my experience of grief, set me on a path that deepened and colored my life experience and I thought I knew. And I did, to an extent.
This grief experience, however, brought about by my husband’s death, has gone into the very marrow of my bones and each particle of my breath in an around the clock experience. And it has brought me to an awareness of words and phrases commonly used in our language of death and sadness and life changing and spirit and soul.
We already know how I feel about using the word “depression” in reference to grief. (read earlier blogs if you don’t know and want to). I’ve had a similar reaction to the word “hope” as in, “you must have hope, never give up hope, as long as there’s life there’s hope” etc.
Hope as a word, as I grieve, is meaningless. Its a carrot dangled in front of me that is a promise for a future I don’t care about, can’t foresee, and has no true definition. Hang on, there’s always hope, I’m told. What does that mean? I want to scream from the innermost recesses of my gut. What does that mean? It means nothing to me. I’m disconnected from my life, my body, my emotions. What does that particular 4 letter word mean?
As I sat last night in front of the fire (hoping spiders wouldn’t crawl on me, drawn to the warmth), I listened as the women spoke their stories, and responded to one another, watched them reach out with their hearts and souls to me, felt Jen’s touch on my 3rd eye chakra, my heart chakra and my feet, as she quietly blessed each of us individually, I had my epiphany of just why I put myself in such company, no matter the effort it most often takes to push myself to go in the first place.
I don’t seek people out as I travel the country so that I can find hope. Hope is negligible, defined by each person who seeks it. I don’t care about hope. I don’t need hope. What I need, and what I found last night at this full moon gathering, is strength. I arrived full of pain and grief, tired and wanting nothing more than to curl up into a ball and moan in what is almost physical pain. I left feeling stronger, buoyed by the strength of the women who were present, strengthened by the connection and their open-ness and their beauteous spirits and the full moon rising overhead and the fire shooting its’ sparks into the dark sky.
As I travel this Odyssey of Love for my husband, I’m gathering strength from all of you met on the road, met at the FamCamps, the chance encounters, the relationships ventured. Each of you adds a sturdy thread to this heart of mine, patching and weaving into it, weaving your own vivid colors into my life, breathing life into me.
You don’t give me hope. You strengthen me and that’s exactly what I realized last night, with the women at this full moon gathering.
Near and far friends, just met friends, friends unmet but present nonetheless. You make a difference to me each day, each moment. You strengthen me.
Its really…kind of…you know….magical.