Lines of light

I’ve always seen auras.  When I was still at school, teachers thought I was mad because I kept describing shades of colour surrounding people and shifting in to beautiful patterns that seemed to change with emotions.  I could *feel* the atmosphere changing as their moods shifted.  This is nothing special, really.  I truly believe it’s something we all can do.  Living in a cult environment, I had to be acutely aware of changing moods in order to gauge levels of danger.  Therefore, logic follows that my sense of reading auras would be well developed and remain in place.

Now, though, I’m seeing strings of light.  This is new.  Before anyone wonders, I am still taking my meds as prescribed and am not having psychotic symptoms.  I’m perfectly lucid.  But there are visible connections between beings and objects around me.  Little strings of white or golden light drawing connections.  They seem to predict how objects and beings are going to interact with one another.  I see how things resonate through the vibrations of the lights.  It’s frightening and wonderful all at once.  No idea how this will progress, but I’m trying to learn more about it and see how I can develop the sense to help bring peace.  That is, afterall, the grand purpose of anything metaphysical I’ve ever experienced.  It’s just odd at the moment.

Elements

As a practising Wiccan, I’ve always turned to nature to help hold me together.  I hadn’t the space to work through the Full Moon rites of November and December, nor was I able to hold my usual ritual to mark the Winter Solstice.  These are things I’ve done for quite some time now.  They hold me to the Earth, to all of time and space, and to what I recognise as Spirit.  Gutted by grief as I am right now, I decided to do a simple mandala representing the four elements– earth, air, fire, water– and the Spirit that binds them all together.  I’m sharing that mandala here in hopes that some of you who are also feeling adrift these days can use it to focus your minds or simply to meditate on the image.  This is something my therapist taught me.  The process is to put on music that does not have an emotional attachment and just let your mind wander where it will as you gaze at the image.  It’s actually neurobiological at its base, but it does wonders (in my experience) for the soul.

Wishing everyone peace for now and in to the New Year.

Element mandala

2013: Looking Ahead

So we survived the Mayan apocalypse and are spiralling quickly towards 2013.  This year certainly brought changes for me in terms of mental health.  I started with a new psychiatrist and re-started with quite possibly the most amazing therapist in the US.  That took effort and financial debt I’m currently paying back through ‘volunteer’ work.  It’s been worth the difficulties, though.

Therapy took a few twists and turns along the way.  There were milestones; sharing the name of the cult that my family belonged to, exploring some of the darker SRA memories, expressing strong and open emotion.  There were also major setbacks; a relapse of bulimia, the ‘formal’ attitude to distance therapy, the consideration of abandoning therapy as a whole.  All of those, however, average out to what has probably been my most extensive and forward-moving therapy experience to date.  I’ll keep moving forward.  Very little has changed in other terms.

Friday was the Long Nights Moon, the most powerful Full Moon of the year.  During my rite, I considered what I might need for the upcoming year.  The answer was simple: peace, healing, and fruitful endeavours for myself and my FOC.  I need to focus more on physical, spiritual and mental health for myself, and I need to learn more about how to project energy to those I love.  We’re scattered about in two different countries, afterall.

Wishing peace and happiness to all of your for the upcoming year.  May we all work together with love and harmony as a global society.  We can still fix this bit we call the Universe.  It’s all in our power.

Gentle Voices

I woke up this morning with tears in my eyes.  I wasn’t actually crying.  The tears were just shining there in my eyes, and I felt a sort of heaviness in my chest.  I had been thinking about my sister.  I think of her often, of course, but this morning I missed her so much that it overwhelmed me.  I could see, feel and hear her as if she was right by my side.

Then, something occurred to me.  She *was* by my side.  I could see her as a shadowy figure right there sitting beside me on the bed, just as she did so many early mornings whilst she was alive.  I couldn’t touch her, as she did appear to be a body of energy, rather than a physical body.  I could hear her so very clearly, though.  She had no great revelations.  She just told me hello and gave me that smile I’ve missed so much.

My sister was like a daughter to me.  I raised her from an infant, and I filled the role of parent far before people thought I should be able to do.  When she died, I felt a part of myself ripped away.  Interacting with her this morning helped me feel that part of myself that died along with her.  For a brief minute, I felt more whole than I have since her death 11 years ago.

She was gone as quickly as she came.  Only a brief minute or two.  Still, I got to see that wonderful smile, and whilst her having to leave again is painful, having seen her at all is a better gift than I’d ever have hoped of.  I loved my sister with all of my heart and tried to be the best parental role model I could be to her.  She had a difficult go of it for that very reason.  She was a child being raised by a child.  However, she was such a kind child, and her willingness to find her way back to me is typical of her sweet soul and gentle spirit.

That beautiful little smile will stay with me for quite some time.  There is no better gift than having been able to see it once again.

Poetic Prose

The weather here has been gorgeous.  Temperatures have been in the mid 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit, which is a great departure from the average.  It’s returned to winter this week, though, and the words of James Joyce are dancing about in my head.  His short story collection Dubliners is a literary puzzle that I enjoyed both deciphering and teaching.  The last story, aptly entitled “The Dead” ends with one of the most beautiful passages in literature.  It brings me a sense of peace:

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

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Joyce, James. “The Dead.”  Dubliners.  Prestwick House, Inc, 2006

Hills & Valleys

I can’t seem to climb out of this grief valley right now.  I know I will, but for now the sun is rather dark.  That’s an interesting effect of grief- sometimes, sunny days truly do look dark.  It’s beautiful outside today.  The temperature is mild, the humidity is low, and there’s barely a cloud in the sky.  Still, I just feel like covering my head and waiting for the outside to reflect how I feel inside.

All of this got me thinking about the moment just before a funeral starts.  Most acutely, my grief involves my daughter.  I can’t imagine a more painful blow than the death of a child.  My world will never be the same, and it’s still not close to stable again.  In the moments just before my daughter’s memorial service, I wanted to run as far from that chapel as I possibly could.  I didn’t think I could get through it.  The music we chose was already stabbing at me, and I just knew the prayer of committal would drop me to my knees.

We had a little table set up with things to honour my daughter.  Someone gave me a beautiful ceramic angel in the palest of pink colours, and I ordered a sunset picture with her name written in sand.  The nurses took a picture of her after they had cleaned her and I had dressed her.  All of that looked somewhat out of place next to the tiny urn that held her ashes.  Life and death, beauty and desolation laid out right there before our eyes.

When the reverend came in, I stopped breathing.  His presence made things so final.  This was really the memorial service for my daughter, and she was really dead.  I made it through the service, staying relatively composed throughout it, talked to the reverend very briefly afterward, and completely fell apart in the safety of my best friend’s arms once we were alone.  Even now, as I write this almost nine months after the service, I feel like my entire body is breaking open.

Hope is missing from my life, as is the feeling that there is a rhyme or reason for the world afterall.  Even with the trauma in my past and all of the losses before this one, I was able to keep some hope and faith in something larger than us.  Now, I truly have trouble accepting that any supernatural being would be so cruel as to end the life of a child.  The service had a Christian theme.  My best friend’s mother, a devout Christian, planned the service, and I was ok with that.  At that point, an appeal to any being at all to take care of my child was fine.

We used the song ‘Still’ by Gerrit Hofsink.  I think anyone who has lost a baby can relate to this song.  You can listen to it here, and the lyrics are listed below.  If you’ve lost your baby, my deepest condolences go out to you and your family.  I hope that, regardless of faith, this song is a comfort to you.

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‘Still’ by Gerrit Hofsink

I’ve been waiting for you
For such a long time
You’re always on my mind

And I’m lying awake
Most of the night
Waiting to hold you tight

Now that I do
And look at you
My heart is breaking
This can’t be true

Chorus:

Lost you before I found you
Gone before you came
But I love you just the same
Missed you before I met you
On earth we never can
But in heaven we’ll meet again

Close to my soul
Close to my heart
Right from the start

Lost in time, lost in space
Can’t wait to see your face

Now that I do
And look at you
My heart is breaking
I know it’s true

Chorus

Sometimes I find myself wondering what to do
With this pain that I’m going through
But I know one day, God will take me away
And I’m coming home to you

And when I do
And look at you
My heart is healing
I know it’s true

Chorus

Anger & Outrage

Life isn’t fair.  The world isn’t fair.  I know all of those things, but some days the world is far too cruel.  A dear friend of mine lost several cats during our recent flooding.  Some drowned, and some ended up being put down in shelters.  We did all we could to save them, but we couldn’t save them all.  Today, we had to put down a five-month-old kitten who had been with my friend throughout her short little life.

Ginny was born on my friend’s front porch.  She found the kitty very early in the morning, so newly born that she was still covered in the birthing fluids.  Immediately, my friend loved her.  Over the next few months, we all got to love her.  She was such a sweet, rambunctious little thing.  She developed joint pain, and we took her to the vet who did an x-ray.  They should have done blood work at that time.

She got better for a bit, and seemed perfectly fine.  Then, she developed more joint pain.  We took her to a different vet, as the first seemed to have no idea where to start with treating her.  I dropped her off at the animal hospital this morning, and we got a phone call this afternoon telling us that, although she had tested negative for feline leukaemia, testing her a second time revealed that she did have FIV, which is the feline version of HIV.  The vet said we could try a course of antibiotics, but likely it would only delay the inevitable.  So, Ginny’s little life had to be ended today.  We all miss her very much.

I’ll never understand why things like this happen.  Family members of both the human and the animal sort, come in to our lives for such a short period sometimes.  They either go quickly or suffer, and those left behind suffer always.  If there is anything that rules this Universe, I do not even pretend to understand its motivation or the reason behind its cruelty.  Small beings that die rock the foundation of everything.

Why, if they are only to die soon after their birth, are these little ones allowed to exist?  When my daughter was stillborn, people told me to rejoice in the fact that I had any time with her at all.  The mother in me understands that to be absolutely true.  The outraged and confused part of me wants to question the reason behind it all.  Little ones– human or animal– should never die.  I don’t understand why they do.

After the Storms

We awoke to an odd sight this morning– sun.  It’s been a while.  In fact, the last time it was actually sunny was a week ago.  We had days of rain in London, too, but not usually with this kind of storms.  I’d never been in a flood til now.

I’m staying with a friend for now until our house become inhabitable again.  We went to check out things this morning.  There’s rather alot of flood damage, and the waters are still rising due to run-off.  It’s odd that, even though it has stopped raining, the waters are still rising.  The neighbour has a tree on his roof now, which is not likely the decor he was planning.  The strongest winds were south of us, but combine 60 mph winds with saturated and flooded ground, and some of the trees refuse to remain standing.  In another odd twist of events, many of the trees in our area that were already damaged from the ice storm of 2009 decided they’d had enough of this and tumbled over.

Lily lost her Pooh bears, which has been very hard for her.  The wind is still howling, which is frightening Little Peoples and Middle Littles alike.  I just keep reminding them that, even though the ground is still saturated and the wind is still blowing, there is nothing at all on the radar around us.  Nothing.  It’s clear.  Mairead, ever the optimist, keeps reminding *me* that severe storms are forecast for Sunday.

The internal cast really have been interesting with all of this going on.  Little Peoples were inconsolable through most of it.  When the worst of the storms started last week, they cried and cried.  My best friend and I were out during one of the downpours, and Lily squeezed my fists shut so tightly that she actually broke the skin with one of my thumbnails.  Kathy did her best to keep the little ones calm, but nothing worked.

The Middle Littles, a group of young teens and preteens, were terrified by the cult prophecy stuff.  Everyone is still upset by that, actually.  Now that we’re not in immediate danger, I have time to worry about prophecies and future storms.  As my best friend would say, I *have* to worry about something.  I’m good at it.

Oddly, I’m greatly concerned for Mairead.  She’s usually unflappable, but I have a feeling this upset her more than she’s letting on.  I heard her crying this morning, which almost never happens.  The flood waters coming in to the house really scared all of us, but I think it scared her most.  No idea why.  She might tell me at some time, but she might just keep it to herself.  I just hope she’s well.

Once the waters recede, we’ll start repairing what we can.  New furniture, new flooring, et c.  Maybe Mother Nature is some sort of twisted interior designer these days.  Until then, I’m staying with a friend and her 21 cats.  Interesting, but it’s a safe place and I am grateful.

Life is the good thing.  We’re all alive.

Comfort in Strange Places

As anyone who knows me can attest to, I have a very hard time with outward expressions of emotion. Actually, dealing with loss is the only thing that has left me unable to control my tears. That is so very frightening to me. The comfort in strange places bit comes from a time like that soon after my sister’s death. The memory of the day I cleaned out her school locker still pierces me from time to time. The song ‘Box of Rain’ from the Grateful Dead album ‘American Beauty’ (if I remember correctly) kept playing over and over in my mind that day.  It was an amazing comfort to me. Sitting alone by the ocean that night, I was thinking about the image of a box of rain, and that helped me open up all the Stuff I had held back through the funeral and all the formalities.  The irony of the group’s name is twisted, if nothing else, but I’ve always loved their music, and you take any comfort you can find at times like that.

As I attempt to deal with my daughter’s death, some lyrics from that song keep popping in my mind. A box of rain will ease the pain, and love will see you through. Lately, I’ve thought about the losses in my life and wondered if my parents and siblings welcomed my daughter. Even a glimpse through this blog makes it obvious that my family wasn’t exactly healthy. Still, they were my family. I have no idea if they exist or where they are, but I’d like to think they are together and happy. I have so many questions for them and so many questions for the Universe at large. Sometimes the world really can be a phenomenally unfair place.

It’s just a box of rain

I don’t know who put it there

Believe it if you need it

or leave it if you dare

And it’s just a box of rain

or a ribbon for your hair

Such a long long time to be gone

and a short time to be there

Torchwood

If you haven’t seen the television show Torchwood, go and do it now. Seriously. My brother-of-choice recommended the programme to me quite some time ago, but, shock upon shock, it’s a bit difficult to find sci-fi British television shows in small-town America. Last night, my best friend and I happened across part of the first season on DVD at the local library. We didn’t have time to watch it last night, but I watched an episode earlier this morning. And then another. I likely would have watched the entire last half of the first series, but I forced myself to stop. Bloody brilliant.

The premise of the show is something that will sound not-so-fictional for SRA survivors who come from, shall we say, ‘higher’ generations. The premise of the show is that Captain Jack Harkness, a time traveller from C51, is leading an elite underground force (told you) called Torchwood. They fight extraterrestrials and other sci-fi sorts of threats to humanity. Their underground base is in a sort of time rift. (Do I have to keep saying ‘told you’ to those familiar with SRA higher ups or can that be assumed from here out?) They also name themselves as a separate group from any other.

Of particular interest to me is the hexagonal shape used to form the symbol of Torchwood and frame the pictures of the actors.

Thoughts, anyone? Remember, email is always welcome, as well. Just click the ‘Email me’ link on the home page. I will say, though, that if you are an SRA survivor, be very *very*cautious if you choose to watch this show. I think it’s bloody brilliant, but my situation is odd, to say the least.