“When the snow falls and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” –George R. R. Martin
Full moons have always held significance to me, throughout my lifetime. From the awestruck gazes of childhood to the more spiritual tones of my adulthood, I have always made sure to take a few minutes each full moon to acknowledge the beauty of it. There is something pure and good to be seen in that alabaster light. Despite the consensus that the full moon brings out the wild and crazy in people, it has always been a calming, grounding force for me. Then again, I might just be crazy.
Meditation has become a ritual for me at each new and full moon cycle, and this one was no different. Truth be told, I meditate nearly every night before sleep, but without much intent. I allow thoughts to flit here and there through my mind until I nod off to sleep. With these moon meditations, however, I try to put some purpose or intent into it. Usually some sort of letting go, or goal. And since I haven’t written about a dream in some time, I thought I would share one from this most recent full moon.
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I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.–Nelson Mandela
This is a post I started over a month ago. In truth, it is nearly 11 years over due in many ways. This story, this journey, is one that I have never told in its entirety. Before, I have only given it in bits and pieces to a select few people. Now, it is time for the telling, so that I can truly let go of some internalizations that I have held onto for over a decade.
This will not be a beautiful piece like I normally strive for. It’s ugly at turns, and raw. But a very real part of me that has been 11 years suppressed. This is my cancer journey.
When I was 21 years old, I was told that I had pancreatic cancer. I had to come to terms quickly with my mortality; far quicker than I think I was emotionally prepared for at the time. But I didn’t have a choice, really. I had to be brave. For my family, my friends. Above all, for my mother, who was not handling the situation well at all.
As strange as it was, I was not entirely surprised that I was sick. For months, I had been having dreams…
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“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him, the stars.”–Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Mommy, why do flowers have to die?”
I was a bit taken aback by such a big question coming from such a little person. But then again, he’s been surprising me since he was born.
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Bonaventure is called a graveyard, a town of the dead, but the few graves are powerless in such a depth of life. The rippling of living waters, the song of birds, the joyous confidence of flowers, the calm, undisturbable grandeur of the oaks, mark this place of graves as one of the Lord’s most favored abodes of life and light. –John Muir, Camping Among the Tombs
As of late, I find myself deep within the trappings of my own mind again. Considerations of times past, and the way forward, flash in scenes various as I mull over the meaning and the beat of my life. And most times? I find myself in my mental eye in Bonaventure, wandering its near-endless avenues. In dreams, too, she calls to me with her many residents paying me a visit here and there. It seems I can never quite escape her, as even in sleep, Bonaventure finds me in dreams.
I first came to Bonaventure at the end of March last year, though I had been drawn to her for some time. In fact, an entire trip had been planned months prior just for the pilgrimage of reaching Savannah and Bonaventure’s gates. When planning then, I knew in a vague way that it would be a life-changing experience. As with most of life’s lessons, just how life-changing this visit would be could only be revealed later.
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For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.–Martin Luther
I must confess that as of late, I have been more the meditative soul than the dreamer. This has been due in part to a two week long battle with the flu, the resulting medications of which continually knocked me into dreamless and fitful slumber instead of my normal nightly wanderings. What dreams have come between have also been, frankly, too personal to share.
After what has seemed like forever, my brain has returned to its routine and my midnight mental conjurings are beginning to return again. The first dream since my febrile fight (during which I somehow managed to successfully write 3 lengthy posts about mourning!) came to me in the dark delirium of a Friday night, and boy it felt good to be back!
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I cannot say, and I will not say–James Whitcomb Riley, Away
That he is dead- . He is just away!
With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand
He has wandered into an unknown land,
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there.
In late June of 2008, a mere three weeks after I underwent lifesaving surgery, I arrived at the local college campus to meet with someone I had only spoken with on the phone, a man named Jonathan. I was determined to completely derail my career and switch majors from elementary education to veterinary medicine, and he was the last roadblock standing in my way. I had filled out all the forms, dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s, but there was the problem of me being wait listed, as the program only had 64 seats. This “Jonathan” was going to get me into the program whether he wanted to or not.
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There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandchild.–Victor Hugo
After grieving for Sammy throughout most of my childhood, death, at some point, became merely a distant threat again. I thought of him most days, admittedly do even now, but tears had subsided into smiles as painful thoughts became fond memories once more. Plus, going through puberty and then my high school years? I had more than plenty to keep me occupied.
I took death, in, yet again, an abstract sort of way, wrapping myself up in the communities that were Goth and Geek culture in the early aughts. This was not an embrace of death, not fully. More of keeping an enemy at arm’s length. Using the fear as a shield, and then escaping into a digital wonderland when things got too “real.”
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I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.–Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dirge Without Music
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Winter has always been a season of loss for me. The three most impactful deaths in my life all occurred in winter, after all. On a historical and spiritual level, the season is inherently tied to death to begin with, given that for our ancestors, a harsh winter could spell doom. So I suppose it’s only natural. Lately, as I think back to those three I’ve lost, something has struck me in how I’ve processed each one, and how the digital age has changed how I’ve mourned them.
My first exposure to death, true death, was the loss of my cousin Sammy at the age of nine. I know that prior to his death, there were a couple of pets here and there that had crossed the bridge, but my grandmother and mother kept me insulated from what death truly was. It was an abstract concept to my child’s mind. People and animals lived, and then they went away. Less a feeling of loss, and more an absence, and I was already used to people being absent in my life. In that hopeful, childlike way, I thought little about the difference, and overlooked that while absent people may return, the dead do not. At least not in any conventional way… Read More »
You must be an enigma. This is what creates attraction to beauty. You walk on and you do it, and this is what I have always felt. The moment I walk on stage, I live there.–Peter Murphy
I promise that this blog will veer back to the realm of dreams sometime soon! However, I’d be remiss to skip posting about this weekend’s surprise main event, which was a dream in its own right. You see, this past Saturday night, I found myself on the front row of my very first Bauhaus (okay, so mostly Bauhaus) show!
In truth, I almost missed the concert entirely. If it weren’t for a heads-up from a dear friend, StubHub, and a bit of timing regarding Liam being with his dad, I wouldn’t have been able to make it. The stars did align however, so I did what any good Goth kid would do: threw on a black velvet dress, leather jacket, and boots, and headed out to Carrboro.
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“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
— Charles Dickens
I sit here on a suspiciously warm February night, finally taking time to write down all of the reflection and introspection that I have been diligently undertaking over the past few months. My house is a wreck; boxes stacked everywhere as I try to combine two homes into one. To merge all the “stuff” from a past life into a new one that has barely taken wing. Yet, here I sit, because I can’t stop the thoughts from overflowing with every box I empty, every dish put away. By the by? I might have an addiction to coffee mugs and someone needs to help me. It’s normal for one girl to have over 50 mugs, right? Right?Read More »