Tag Archive | grief

Grief is a nasty black dog

The most powerful tool to help someone grieve, at least for me, is to just be there. Cry with me. Laugh with me if I have a seemingly inappropriate memory that makes me laugh. Listen to me. If it’s a group loss, hold each other.

For me, grief is a big black ugly dog and I’m sorry but I don’t like dogs. It follows your around. It sneaks up behind you and trips you when you turn around and you didn’t expect it to be there. It widdles on the carpet and you curse as you clean it up. It looks at you as if you have the answer and you don’t and it makes you feel helpless.

When you aren’t looking it bites and it hurts so much and you can try to figure out how to tell it to go away and it won’t. Eventually it may fade away across the moor but you will still hear it howl far away like some hound of the Baskervilles on dark nights when you really don’t want to be alone and it’s frightening.

Grief is cumulative over a life time and every time someone you love dies that damn dog gets bigger. Mine is currently the size of a big dumb Newfoundland and is trying to crawl in my lap again. I don’t want it. It isn’t cute at all. It slobbers.

I know Hecate has hounds but I’m a cat person. Cats are better at knowing when you need solace and when you need to be left alone.

But now the damn dog is back and I hate it.

From Coming Forth by Day

“Let me stand in light, bathe in light, clothe myself in light. Let me sit in the lap of Gods and hear words of comfort….Let my spirit be stronger today than it was yesterday, my heart more peaceful, my mind more fertile, my hands more gentle. Let Gods touch my face. Let me go forth shining. Let my feet know the way. Let me walk and pass through fire…Let me pass undeterred into Heaven.”

Awakening Osiris – Normandi Ellis

I love this book. Normandi has done a wonderful job of translating the Egyptian Book of the Dead or the Book of Coming Forth By Day as the Egyptians called it . I have it in physical book but I think before I go north I’m going to get the Kindle version. I love the highlighting you can do on Kindle and you can find things easier than thumbing through the book trying to find something you read before.

This book can be so comforting, when my brother died the Hieromum sent me the Hymn to Osiris and I was asked to read something at my brother’s funeral up north and after introducing myself because I knew very few people there, I heard whispering, evidently my brother had outed me as a witch at some point. So I introduced myself as a Priestess and I read the Hymn. For the rest of the gathering afterwards Cam’s friends had to come up and talk to the WITCH. It was mostly gay men at his funeral and the funeral was in an Episcopal church so I was out of my element. Somehow I became a curiosity to all these gay men. The last thing I wanted or expected at his Funeral but I’m still glad that is what I chose to read and I’m not sure how I even got through it to read it except that they were mostly strangers. It was all they could talk about on their Livejournals afterwards too which was pretty funny.

At the moment

By John McCutcheon

At the moment they brought me the message
I was oceans and hours away
Wondering what I was doing
The moment that you slipped away

At the moment I’m looking out windows
At a night that hold only one star
In the morning it’s gone but I know it’s still
Shining afar

At the moment we raised up our voices
And a bit of our soul was set free
I’m still humbled and awed by the beauty
Of the small part of you that’s in me

We laughed and we danced on the table
And confounded the silence with song
In the dark of this night still it echoes so brightly
And strong

I don’t look for reward ever after
For I hold this life much too dear
From what I can tell both heaven and hell
We create in abundance right here

When the fire that burned is but ashes
And the stories have all been retold
The heat and the light will sustain us
Long after the hearth has grown cold

And grief has a place at the table
For it’s part of what we are made of
And it’ll stay long enough to remind us its mother
Is love

At the moment our lives become memory
And all of our dreaming is done
We shed what it is makes us different
And we don what it is makes us one

What is memory but time rendered timeless
Some small proof we each live anew
I refuse to surrender that small part of me
That is you

Some mark their days by the hours
Some mark their days by the signs
Me? I look to that star and where ever we are
We will shine

Hymn to Osiris

Hymn to Osiris

The doors of perception open; what was hidden has been revealed. It is myself I see and a thousand colors swirling in liquid light. I am where the sun sets below the mountains. I am in this body. I am that star rising above clouds hung by a thread from its ocean moon. Hail myself, traversing eternity walking among gods, a shuttle flying across the loom through the thread of time. This is all one place; one cloth: a womans’ life endures. On earth flowers grow, snakes crawl and wisdom lies in the palm of a hand. All that is will be—hawks and sparrows, the thousand lives within.

I have come home. I have entered humanhood, bound to rocks and plants, men and women, rivers and sky. I shall be with you in this and other worlds. When the cat arches in the doorway, think of me. I have sometimes been like that. When two women greet each other in the street, I am there speaking to you. When you look up, know I am there—-sun and moon pouring out my love around you. All these things am I, portents, images, signs. Though apart, I am a part of you. One of the million things in the universe, I am the universe, too. You think I disguise myself as rivers and trees simply to confuse you? Whatever I am, woman, cat or lotus, the same god breathes in every body. You and I together are a single creation. Neither death nor spite nor fear nor ignorance stops my love for you.

May we come and go in and out of heaven through the gates of starlight. As the houses of earth fill with dancing and song, so filled are the houses of heaven. I come, in truth. I sail a long river and row back again. It is joy to breathe under the stars. I am the sojourner destined to walk a thousand years until I arrive at myself.

“Awakening Osiris” translation by Normandi Ellis

Grief is the price of love and I will pay it

Sometimes I have to remember that I wouldn’t grieve if I didn’t love

Grief is the price of loving

Sometimes the price seems awfully high

And at the time when grief hurts the most

The price can be beyond what I want to pay

The price of being alive and awake to love

It’s the price we pay for being here

It’s the price for being able to wish on stars

It’s the price for seeing your love reflected in another’s eyes

It’s a price paid in hugs and smiles

It’s a price paid in tears and priceless words

It’s a price paid in the pain of losing and the pain of loss

I thank the Goddess for gifts of friendship

I thank the Goddess reflected in the faces of those I love

I thank the Goddess for grieving even in the midst of pain

Because it means I love.

Kat 2014

BunniHoTep and the Lost Children

I wrote this after the shootings in Virginia and it was my way of dealing with school shootings. I shouldn’t have to keep posting this! I hate that some men feel the need to do this.

Once upon a time BunniHoTep was sitting on the Temple Porch playing with some beads that Isis had given her, streams of coral and carnelian and lapis glowing quietly in the afternoon sunlight. The Priestesses were off somewhere doing their jobs and she was alone slowly meditating on how she would use the beads, maybe a collar or a belt.

She heard a low thundering coming toward the Temple. She stopped and listened. She was wondering what the noise was when Ammit’s head popped around the pillars at the end of the porch. “Ammit! What are you doing here? Aren’t you usually helping Ma’at now?” BunniHoTep asked.

“Yes, but she thought you could help us. We’re missing some souls that need weighing. They were due hours ago and Ma’at thinks they’re lost and don’t know they are dead. Ma’at thought that since you were the Finder of Lost Things you could help.” Ammit said breathing heavily and trying to get her breathe. Ammits aren’t built for running.

“What happened to their escort? Don’t you have that escort for them?” said BunniHoTep.

Ammit hung her head. “They weren’t on Anubis’s list. They weren’t supposed to go.”

“How did that happen?” BunniHoTep exclaimed.

“I said they weren’t supposed to die. One of Thoth’s students has been very unhappy and this morning he exploded. He was one of those people that don’t ever notice that other people are reaching out and trying to help them. He took a crossbow and shot a class of younger students. And then he got away and drowned himself in the Nile. Thoth is heartbroken, everyone had tried to help the student but he wouldn’t be helped. It’s so sad when someone won’t let themselves be loved and he hurt all those children too.” Ammit broke down sobbing.

“Ammit, please stop crying and we’ll go look. They are probably still in the classroom. I doubt they’ve gone far if they don’t know they are dead. We can find them.” BunniHoTep said, packing up her beads. ”Let’s go.”

BunniHoTep patted Ammit and they walked hurriedly down Temple Row towards Thoth’s temple. They walked through the Temple, priests and priestesses crying quietly as they cleaned up the damage and the blood. No one had ever done anything like this in a Temple. They had no frame of reference. What had they done wrong? Could they have done something differently? The Temple buzzed with the asked and unasked questions. Ammit and the small goddess moved through the crowd quietly. They hurried to the classroom area and found the bodies of the teacher and the children. BunniHoTep swallowed and choked back tears. She noticed that the seats were still full of children that she could see through.

“Why are you still here? Why haven’t you gone to Ma’at?”

“We’re waiting for our teacher. He left us behind. Why did he leave?” the children asked. They started to cry quietly.

“I don’t think he meant to leave without you. I think he thought you were following him and didn’t know you couldn’t. It’s going to be alright. Do you notice that you can see through the people out in the Temple.” The children nodded. “That’s because you aren’t in their world now. You are in Anubis’s world now. You are safe here. You will never be afraid or be in pain ever again. It will be alright now. Would you line up in a two straight lines and hold hands with your partner?” BunniHoTep took the two lead children’s hands and led them from the Temple and down to Ma’at’s Temple.

Ma’at was waiting at the top of the Temple steps. “Where would you like me to take them.” BunniHoTep asked.

“I don’t need to weigh their hearts. They haven’t lived long enough to know the evil that comes when you get older. Would you lead them to Anubis? He is ready for them. He is taking them to the place where children get to play in the sunshine.” Ma’at looked down and smiled at the children.

BunniHoTep led the children in their crocodile line to where Anubis was waiting. Ma’at hurried over, she’d had an idea. She looked at Anubis and pointed to the clear blue afternoon sky.

BunniHoTep gave the children hugs and kiss on their forehead. “Go with him and be good, won’t you?” The children nodded and turned to follow Anubis. The last child in line turned and waved shyly and followed the rest. BunniHoTep waved back and turned to walk back to her Temple.

Anubis took the children and walked up,up and up into the now twilight sky. He led them round the Great Bear and her child and asked if she would watch over the children. The Great Bear nodded, Yes.

And now when you look up into the deep night sky and see a line of stars that wind in and around the Great Bear and her child you will see a long line of stars. The Greeks called them the dragon or Draco but they are really a long line of children playing in the night sky.

BunniHoTep wondered how someone could be hurting so much that he would hurt children just starting out in life. She thought that some people could be so lost no one could ever find them and she thought that was one of the biggest tragedy of all. She wondered what it would take to reach one so lost from the family of man.

Grief the thief

I’ve had an awful lot of people pass in an out of my life through the Veils. In the 1980’s it was a lot of the gay men in my life including my best friend, Art. I’ve lost all my great aunts and uncles and my grandparents when I was a lot younger. When I was a kid babysitting it was a baby we babysat at church who was born with an incurable and identifiable disease. In the 2000s I lost my parents and my little brother. That one will never stop hurting. Two years ago we lost Laura Janesdaughter, our Heiromum to multiple myeloma. Now Mary is on that path.

I know you aren’t allegedly supposed to grieve before someone is gone but it’s very difficult not to and even more difficult when you are well aware of the process. Because what they don’t like to tell you is that grief is cumulative. Every death is another stone on your chest and a piece of your heart that is missing. Every death is painful and they lie when they tell you it fades, it doesn’t. It ebbs and it flows and can hit you hard when you aren’t anticipating it. It can be set off by the sound of a stranger’s laugh that sounds like your loved one. The scent of a perfume or flower or of a food you ate with them. It can come when singing a song that you used to sing with or for them. It can be watching someone walk down the street and the walk is like theirs.

I’ll be 61 in a month and a day. My first funeral was my great-grandmother’s when I was 5. I still remember her and I remember sitting with my grandmother while she made her handkerchief into a hopping rabbit while she kept us quiet with chocolate mint Lifesavers in the back of the car. My great-grandmother was 92 and I remember her heavy Swedish accent at the holiday dinner table but when she died I really didn’t understand what death meant. At 60 I’m well aware of what death means and the pain it can make a body endure.

Never let anyone tell you it gets easier. It does not. They are saying that because it hasn’t happened to them yet. When my brother died it took a year before I stopped bursting into tears every time I thought of him and it still reduces me to jelly if I get hit unwarned by something like someone wearing my brother’s cologne or a book we read together or a song we sang together. It’s been 10 years this July and sometimes it could be yesterday.

So this is a familiar if unwanted journey. I know it’s even harder for M and D. Someone you thought you would grow old with way into the future isn’t going to be there. The future is just not going to be what you thought. As a priestess of Hecate and a past on-call clergy with the AIDS Service Center gives me some framework but when someone is close to you, all you can do is hold a circle of love and the memories and hope it’s enough for all of you.