Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Four Years Gone

Time loses all meaning in death. Time ceases to matter to the dead. Whatever comes next does not follow the trail of suns across the sky. For those left among the living, years can pass and still… a word, a song, a smell can open the lid off your sadness. That’s what grief does, it ebbs and flows like tides coming in and out. It’s a natural rhythm, a natural process. The ebb is important because it gives you time.
“Time heals all wounds,” is a common phrase. But until you live it you don’t understand. It doesn’t heal in the sense of you “get over it.” I hate that phrase. You don’t get over death. You don’t get over hurt. It changes you and eventually, it does not sting as hard. You will never again be the person you were before the loss. You may come close. But not the same.
So the ebb is important, because it gives you time away from the reminders so that you can move on with your life, and put feet in front of feet, moving forward. Blindly or not, forward is important. That way, when the flow comes again, and the wave crashes in, it’s not as hard or sharp. The grief is there but it doesn’t break your heart. And one day, when you realize that, that awareness of it will be what breaks your heart. And the next time, it will bring you peace of mind, because you will know you are over the sharpest part.
That doesn’t mean you’re over the loss. You’re just over the spike of grief. Then comes the sadness.
Four years ago, we put a beloved friend and pet to sleep, unexpectedly. Her death and my ensuing grief amidst my ancestor work were what prompted me to start this blog online. Making offerings to my ancestors is easy, as they are mostly names of people unknown to me. When you lose a family member, someone who was a piece of your heart, it’s hard to find any comfort except in the knowledge that you are not the first person to lose someone… but that’s where the comfort ends.
Four years and 188 posts on my ancestor work later, it hurts less to think of her. I can talk about Luna without crying, but not without my heart welling. We’ve lost a second cat and gained another, and the joy our remaining pets bring us holds the sadness at bay. The only defense in the face of grief is love, and to keep loving what is still alive.
I remember how uncertain we were when we adopted Luna, never guessing at what a friend she would become to us. She slept on me and would dreamwalk with me almost every night. She would often appear in my meditations and journeys, only to discover her curled up beside me after I was done. Any time we held a circle, she would run in and sit quietly for the duration. When I am lucky, she comes to me in my dreams still, and I wake feeling her rabbit-soft skin beneath my fingers. I used to cry for grief. Now I smile in gratitude.

This afternoon, Mara curled up for a nap on Luna’s favorite cushion. And it seemed fitting that the spaces Luna enjoyed, sunk her energy into, are enticing places to the other cats, as if those who never knew her can sense the echo of her in our lives and in our home. It speaks to me of the depth that those who came before us walk the earth with us in reverberations of life and love. On the anniversary of one of the hardest decisions of our lives, we put treats and catnip in Luna’s old food bowl on the ancestor altar, and we lit a candle for her, speaking her name... 
We love you, Luna, Lunabelle the Jackalope cat. I still see your ghost turning around corners and curling up in the corner of my eye. We miss you, every day, and we share that love we had for you with other special cats who had no one to love them. We will see you again someday. Until then, I'll meet you in our dreamings.

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