Tag Archive | family

A Samhain prayer

On this Samhain Eve

I stand at the head of a long line

The last of my bloodline that there will ever be

I look back at the face of those that came before me

I see my nose and my chin

I see the red of my hair

I see those who went gray and white as I am changing

I see those who walked like me

I see those who loved trees and plants

I see whose who taught me to see the faeries

I see those who taught me to see life

I see those who taught me love

I see the ones who hurt inside so they hurt me

I forgive them

I see the friends that have gone through the veil

Before me

I see those love imprinted on my heart

I see all the shining ones who stand there

It is not my turn to join yet.

This year taught me how close it came to joining you

Some day I will see your shining hearts and faces

I keep you close to me

You taught me so much

I am grateful to have been loved

I am grateful to still have love around me

Hecate, this is your day

You are holding the veil back for us

To send love through

Faerie Queen, you sparkle on the other side

We bow in your honour

And we dance

Brighid, we turn our heads toward winter

And know your quiet strength

Is there for the asking

Elen, your swans pass over

Taking the new souls to Tir Na Nog

And we listen for the sound of wings

This Samhain I honour all those

Whose feet trod the path I walk

Walk with me

Teach me

Tell me stories

Let my ears and eyes be open this night

Let my hands and heart know what is important this night

I wait for the Dark Goddesses

Teach me

Tell me stories

Let my ears and eyes be open this night

Let my hands and heart know what is important this night

I wait for the dead

Teach me

Tell me stories

Let my ears and eyes be open this night

Let my hands and heart know what is important this night

2016

Beloved Dead

Goddess, I miss him so much

Some years are worse than others

I miss my shadow

I miss my near twin

I miss his huge smile

I miss his hugs

Oh Goddess

Why does it not getting any easier?

He’s gone and he always will be

I miss his humour that was different from everyone else in the family

I miss when he didn’t get our jokes

I miss him trying

Goddess, grief is an unfillable hole

Yes, grief reminds us we loved

But oh, it hurts sometimes

It hurts to stand alone in the memories

Memories that only he and I held

I miss him hiding behind me when dad hit me

I miss being his protector

I miss him in the audience when I sang

I miss being his audience

Goddess. I’m selfish

I miss his love

I miss his smelly feet

I miss knowing I could call him if I needed

I miss the secret names we called each other

I miss seeing his eyes when we came out to each other

I miss the wonder of knowing he was gay too.

I miss knowing I wasn’t alone with my secret

I miss that he will never know how Harry Potter ended

The last book he read was number 6.

I miss that we can’t share Star Wars rebirth

He kidnapped me to the very first one

Insisting I would love it.

Goddess, I miss my baby brother

And it hurts so much…

Dem Swedes in the woodpile

Going through these old photos of my great grandparents makes very conscious of how much loss they went through just to have a family. Their first two sons died 2 days apart, Axel at 3 and two days later George died at age 1, the next child, Ella (Veldma) survived until she was 18. Then came Hattie (Hatta or Harriet), Della (Lilly), my grandfather Carl, William Blaine who died at less than a year, Elsie (Alla), Robert was the last one. So three sons and one daughter died as children and three girls and two sons lived. The ones who survived Hattie made it to 73 and the others were all over 80. Great Grandma died when I was 5 at 95 in 1959.

I’m thinking my mom advocated for us all having Scottish names after growing up with the Swedish ones. All the girl’s names were suspiciously like the names of the Borden cows in the commercials when I was little. The names in parentheses are the first names they were born with and the other name is the American name they went by after they moved to LA. They started out in Minnesota when it was a territory and then Hilda (Halda) moved them all to LA around 1900 because she swore she was not going to live someplace colder than Sweden. I found the citizenship docs for the kids but Minnesota became a state in 1858 so I have no idea why they needed them if they were born here even if Isaac and Hilda weren’t citizens.

It must have hurt to lose 4 children. I can’t find any death certificates that say what they died of but they were living in Duluth at the time so maybe there was an epidemic of some sort in 1890 when the first two boys died. What killed Ella/ Veldma in 1908 at the age of 18?

Hilda is listed as a Smeddotter on her emigration report in the church records in Sweden. (Why church’s had emigration records I have no clue) Smeddotter means blacksmith’s daughter. So I have smiths on the Swedish and Scottish sides, probably where I got the urge to whack metal with large hammers. Funny, how things you like to do can maybe travel along your genes as well as what you look like. Kind of cool.

I know they all spoke Swedish until Hilda made them join the Presbyterian Church because it was the only church that has services in English and she wanted the kids to learn English because now they were in a America. There was one problem with this. When she got very old when I was little she would slip back into Swedish. I can remember my Uncle Don trying to get her to say “Jam and Jelly” and she’d reply “Pass me the yam and yelly” which used to reduce me to giggles.
Hers was the first funeral I ever attended. For some reason I spent most of it with my grandmother in the car. That was fine with me because Grandma could tie a handkerchief into a rabbit and make it hop up and down her arm and she kept Livesavers Chocomints in the handbag. I wish they still made those.

The biggest change after she died was the unanimous refusal to ever serve lutefisk at a holiday meal every again. Everything else Swedish was fine but no lutefisk, ever!

I got so much from them. My love of photography, grandpa gave me my first Brownie camera so I could be like him with his Leicas. Most of the photos I have of us as kids are from him. Dad took slides and so far they resist copying because they are too colour saturated for my scanner.

I got my boobage from my Great Aunts. I’m built like them to my mother’s horror. She would look at me and say, I don’t know where you go those but I look just like her aunts so it wasn’t hard to figure out.

I got my love of milk and pastries at breakfast from them. And some of my baking talent comes from them.

And I got my nose and I think my enormous hands from them. I bet I have bigger hands than Donald Trump, I had to wear men’s gloves when I was a bell ringer. Women’s gloves were way too small. My piano teacher in college loved them. I could reach more than an octave. Dad called them farmer hands. My sister has these long graceful thin fingered hands but even when I was skinny my hands were not but it was great for doing gymnastics because I rarely missed if I could get my hands on the bars. And it tickled my ortho that even when I had horrible tendinitis I had a grip strength of 80lbs in my left uninjured hand. Most women have a grip strength of 30 lbs or less. The right was only 70 lbs injured. And more than a few men that tried to give one of those handshakes they think are going to crush a women’s hand to exert dominance regretted it immediately when all I did was grin and bear down back. LOL! So dem Swedes were good for a few things. I think it’s the blacksmith’s fault,

Oh Hecate

Hecate

Now is your time

You walk among us as the veil thins

Please be with your Priestesses

Wherever they may be

They are called to ease the loved ones

The ones that are choosing this time

To pass through the veil

Let them know what is needed

Be with their hearts

They are breaking

Be with the ones leaving

Ease open the curtain

Let them pass easily

Surrounded by those that love them

Let them know that love awaits them on the other side

Comfort those left behind.

Stand with them

Hold their broken hearts

Let them know that love lasts

And is not gone

It’s never gone

Only harder to see

Hecate

Be with us at this time

We turn our faces to the veil

It is not our time

Heal our hearts

Let us know peace

Let us know there is no end

Only endless beginnings

Be with us and to the hour of our passing

Be here now,

DNA, Ancestors and Family in the World

I did the Nat Geo DNA testing and they just revised it to 100% European, 59% Great Britain and Ireland, 19% Western and Central Europe, 15% Scandinavian and 3% Eastern Europe, instead of the 4% Saami and Siberian they originally said.

When your get your results you can add it to another DNA site called FTDNA and that is when it gets weird because you get invitations to join groups based on your DNA results some of which went with family history like the MacFarlane and MacGregor family groups we already knew about since we have them on the family trees on both sides, but then I got one from a Polish group and I don’t know about any Poles anywhere. So I joined all the Scottish ones it suggested because I knew those were right.

It then tells you everyone you are related to that has taken the testing for several cousins out and they and you can start contacting each other. I just got a request from a 4th cousin in Sweden. My family left Sweden about 125 years ago. It’s kind of cool and kind of weird to know that I have so many relatives that I have never met and that they are all over the globe. So far I have a list of over 1500 people who are related to me by my DNA. My family has never been highly reproductive so that kind of blows me away. 1500 people that I have never met are my direct relatives. Wow!

We could only do the MT DNA test because there are no surviving males, my dad and brother were the last Y DNA Robbs on their branch of the family tree. His sister’s kids would only have MT DNA and his two brothers died before they could have children and his dad’s dad only had a sister.

When they do the DNA matches they start with those who share the biggest blocks with you and so far I don’t recognize any of the people that it says are my second cousins. My new 4th cousin shares a block of 28.

This is my haplogroup mtDNA      U2e1f and I haven’t seen any one on the list that shares that haplogroup. I like that it sort of looks like elf even though it’s e1f. Hey, maybe that’s how the alfar do their DNA, LOL!

U2e started out in Eurasia and North Africa. There is something about DNA testing and seeing the results that brings home that we really are one people and the differences are on the outside not the inside. Sometime way are back in history my ancestors may have roamed Egypt, Algeria or Libya or the Middle East. What stories would they tell? Who knows maybe I am remembering the BunniHoTep stories. Maybe one of my ancestors told those stories too.

Why did they roam so far and how did they end up in regions that were as far as you could go in Europe without getting on a boat which I suppose they eventually did because my family ended up in Los Angles in a climate not that far different from where they started.

I know some of the stories from the last few hundred years and so far they match what the DNA testing says but what about the ones further back? What were their stories? All I do know is that I must have relatives and ancestors who looked far differently than I look now. That any one I see on the bus or on the street or in the store could be related to me no matter what they look like. Makes me want to be kinder. That part of the Girl Scout Promise that says I’m a sister to every other Scout, is really true.

 

Goddess, I miss him

Goddess, I miss him so much

Some years are worse than others

I miss my shadow

I miss my near twin

I miss his huge smile

I miss his hugs

Oh Goddess

Why does it not getting any easier?

He’s gone and he always will be

I miss his humour that was different from everyone else in the family

I miss when he didn’t get our jokes

I miss him trying

Goddess, grief is an unfillable hole

Yes, grief reminds us we loved

But oh, it hurts sometimes

It hurts to stand alone in the memories

Memories that only he and I held

I miss him hiding behind me when dad hit me

I miss being his protector

I miss him in the audience when I sang

I miss being his audience

Goddess. I’m selfish

I miss his love

I miss his smelly feet

I miss knowing I could call him if I needed

I miss the secret names we called each other

I miss seeing his eyes when we came out to each other

I miss the wonder of knowing he was gay too.

I miss knowing I wasn’t alone with my secret

I miss that he will never know how Harry Potter ended

The last book he read was number 6.

I miss that we can’t share Star Wars rebirth

He kidnapped me to the very first one

Insisting I would love it.

Goddess, I miss my baby brother

And it hurts so much…

Magic and stories in Photos Part 4

I’m having fun so I’m going to keep going for awhile.

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Sometimes even Snowy Egrets have bad hair days. A few months before my brother died we went up to visit him in Mountain View and as my family all have penchants for wandering around in the shrubberies, he and his partner took us to Baylands Nature Preserve in Palo Alto. It would be the last day we spent as a family.

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This was before the wind got to his topknot.

My sister hates this picture of she and my brother laughing. This was in April or May and he would be dead in July. It’s a window into that period that he was taken from us. Chemo and surgery had made him balloon up but he was still my beloved little brother. He could take himself too seriously and he was the one nonpunner in a family that ran on puns. So that day was a gift. The next time we would got up we were supposed to be there for his next surgery but instead we flew up for his funeral. He died of multiform gliomablastoma. A particularly nasty form of brain cancer. It came back after 15 years in remission.

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My sister’s totem is the dragonfly and I just love them and this was out at Sepulveda one afternoon when I was testing my patience. I caught it with my point and shoot Sony with it’s Zeiss lens. Patience and not breathing sometimes gets you amazing things.

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Sunset at Lake Balboa. I was pissed at my bitch of a boss at the time and needed time to decompress before I went home. The White Pelicans are only there in January so it was an early sunset. It gave me much joy and still does.