Today my mama’s body rejoined the earth body. She was being held aloft, isolated somewhat, contained…her ashes resting in a plastic bag sealed with a golden dog-tag label inside a black plastic box, inside my dad’s garage.
Her death was sudden. A year and a half ago, she made the decision to end her life. She struggled with depression since I was about eight years old. Her depression stemmed from trauma earlier in her own life that she uncovered by going to couple’s therapy with my dad. She was hospitalized many times as her desire to die wrestled with wanting to be present for her children, wanting to be better for us.
When she finally made the decision that took her spirit out of her form, we were all grown. I was four months pregnant. A new vessel for spirit being formed. My younger brother, Max, about to graduate from college. My two older brothers, Nick and Josh, being successful in their own powerful, beautiful, business and party animal ways. Today, a couple of us reflected as we sprinkled her ashes onto a cloth, before submerging the cloth in the ocean, that she seemed to hold on much longer, until we were all strong enough to be on our own. What a beautiful way to re-frame it.
I’d honestly been thinking that maybe she had to die because she couldn’t bear to witness the way I was being pregnant: a traveling gypsy without much of a plan besides Community. I was doing a fundraising campaign online to buy a car to get to this vague Community. I thought maybe she couldn’t handle my version of parenthood…she wanted me to have something more akin to her own story, a husband who could buy us a house in the suburbs. To afford nannies and china cabinets and custom-upholstered armchairs. $ecurity. And I was swimming in magick, knowing that’s where my power comes from, and I was just starting to flirt with the idea of money being an alright thing to allow in, an acceptable form of energy to play with. I didn’t think she got it.
But yeah, maybe it was more that she actually saw how ready I was. How capable I was of doing it without her.
As soon as she passed, I got the phone call. It happened pretty soon after the car purchase and venturing out on a play tour of the country with 10 wild and beautiful friends. We were actually at our first landing spot, a gorgeous mountain-top community formed by a man we met in a Walmart parking lot. He took a liking to our done-up robin’s egg blue RV. After I heard my dad say on the phone “Mom’s dead”, I don’t quite remember how we got off the phone, but the sobbing overtook me. The tribe walked me to a rock where I’d meditated the day before, an already-friendly place, and left me in a nest of blankets to wail.
The wailing subsided, and the question poured through me, “WHY! Mama, why? I’m pregnant!!!” And I heard an answer. A clear answer. She said “Honey, this way I don’t have to pass along my stories of how hard motherhood is, how hard birth is, and I can be pure love. I can always be with you and supporting you now.”
I had somewhat warped this answer in my memory over the past year and a half to say that she couldn’t approve of the way I was mothering while she was alive. In fact, I originally wrote something closer to that, but then I remembered that’s not what she really said…what she really said was that bit about not wanting to pass along her stories. So, it’s more like, she knew I was capable, she just didn’t know how to support me without telling me her own stories that were perhaps clouded by her depression. Oh mama, you free bird, you wild fierce lover, you excellent biter of tongues, not passing along your clouds. I want to hold your portrait to me, to keep the small vial of ashes I have left. I want to feel your chest against my face, your warm, broad, often rosy, freckled chest. Mmmm. I do feel it in my memory.
And yet, today is the day we returned you to earth body. I hadn’t even thought it was that important. I mostly organized the ceremony because Max was so bothered by the idea of you being “captive” in Dad’s garage. Anyway, as we all put our hands into the pile of your ashes on the cloth, on top of the herbs from yesterday’s Thanksgiving table, on top of the wedge of pomegranate I bit out, on top of your grandmother’s lace-edged cloth, on top of the sand, I felt your energy sinking into the earth. Since our conversation on the mountaintop, I felt that you had rejoined all-encompassing Spirit. It hadn’t occurred to me that there is that balance of body to earth, as well. But, there you went. I felt it through my hand, and then I felt the amazing instantaneous disappearance as I released a handful of your vessel into the wind. And then, carrying your ashes, lighter than baby Ruby, towards the ocean with Max. Helping him shake out the cloths into the water, as he shook with tears and the cold. Scrubbing the ashes out, like I’ve scrubbed so many cloths before, one side rubbing against the other. The clouds of you floating on the surface of the water, until the movement brought your vessel under, within. As we walked back towards the crevice in the cliff where we started the ceremony, I felt you underfoot in each step. I feel you now in the Earth Body, the way I’ve felt you for a year and a half in the Spirit Realm.