This weekend, I decided that a trip to my parents’ graves was in order. I haven’t been here in Hot Springs, Arkansas since I interred both of them in their locations in the crematorium, side-by-side. Just as my father had requested, and prepared for. See, my father wanted to be sure that everything was taken care of, and apparently either didn’t trust myself or my sister to take care of the details, or didn’t want to bother either of us with it. All the arrangements had been taken care of, from the location, to the plaque on each site, to his own cremation. It had already been paid for by him. The only thing left was to set everything in motion. As I was the only child who was there at the time, showing up for the interrment fell on me by default.
For me, it was an ironic moment. Here I was, the only family member that was there when my father and mother were placed in the little vaults that would contain their ashes. Me. The child that was the bigger disappointment. The one that was always considered to be unreliable (and with some good reasoning behind that too, I might add). Me. The child that had essentially ostracised himself from his parents (on a somewhat mutual – and unspoken – agreement). I was the one that was there for the moment when the coverings were set in place. In essence, I was made to look the part of the responsible, respectable child.
It took a long while for me to reconcile that moment with my life. In my own recollection, it took almost six months before I started to truly grieve the fact both of my parents had crossed beyond the veil. It might have been shorter or longer, I am not sure. I didn’t exactly mark time on a calendar, and never really wrote anything in my journal about the entire process, because I really wasn’t aware of it. When I was finally aware of the process of grieving that had been occuring I was already in the throes of moving into a new home. Just another stressor added upon everything else.
Since then, I have been travelling nearly non-stop. Over to Scotland, England and France. Over to San Jose, California. Over to San Antonio, Texas. Over to Mandeville, Louisiana. But during all of those travels, I have also been aware of changes that have been taking place in how I perceive the world around me. Looking back over notes from Cat Treadwell’s Druidry course, and the notes I have taken in my progress in my Bardic Grade lessons, I am really grabbing hold of the connections I feel around me. I am learning to communicate with people better. I am coming out of my shell. Like a flower awakening from a long Winter’s slumber, I am thriving in my new sunshine. My world is far more than the job I hold. My world is far more than the nice house I live in. And I cannot experience any of it focusing on the wrong things. I feel so alive, but yet….what about death?
If someone had asked me about death twenty years ago, I would have told them that it was something I wanted to avoid at all costs. Now, don’t get me wrong, death is still something I want to avoid, but twenty years ago I was afraid of dying. But dying is merely the next step on my journey, going beyond the veil into the real unknown. Frankly, I am not really “ready” for that now. There’s a lot more to experience, a lot more to feel, and a lot more I want to experience with the people who are my family.
And what does lay beyond the veil? I have my own theories, but how accurate all of that is…I truly couldn’t tell you. I have Christian acquantainces who claim to know the answer to that without question. I have my doubts about their accuracy on what comes after, but then I have doubts about how accurate I am as well.
I do certainly believe in past lives; that we all move along in life after life – mostly not knowing much about the previous incarnations or who or what we knew. I have had offers to take me into a past life regression, to find out who I was. Typically, I politely turn such offers down. I honestly don’t really want to know. There’s a curioisty factor for me, but that’s balanced out with the knowledge that its far better for me to focus on the life I am living right now.
Now my parents chose to be cremated after their passing. My father chose for them to be interred. My choice is somewhat different. I prefer the Capsula Mundi option, where the body is buried in an egg-shaped, bio-degradable container. A tree seedling is planted with the container, and as your body degrades into nutrients in the soil, you feed the tree’s growth. In essence, your physical body transforms you into a tree. I want to be buried using this option…somewhere in the northern Rocky Mountains. I am quite sure my Christian acquaintances will roll their eyes over this one.
So, here I sit in a hotel on the south side of Hot Springs, waiting for the morning to come. I will then travel to the other side of Hot Springs, and then further north to Hot Springs Village, where my parents are interred. Currently, my thoughts and emotions are calm and contemplative. I have no idea what mindset I will be in within the next twelve hours. But whatever it might be, I am ready to embrace that moment for what it is, and what it will become. I literally have an army of friends on Facebook that are right behind me, making sure I don’t fall. They may not be here physically, but they don’t need to be. They are standing right next to me in my heart. Its really interesting how my immediate DNA family has melted away, and a stronger family that is bonded with me in my heart, my soul and my spirit has risen up to show me what family is. I couldn’t have taken these steps back to my parents’ graves without them in my life. London Bridge is falling, indeed.