International Women’s Day revisited

My heart overflows with love with the thoughts of the women that have been in my life and are no longer present in physical form.  I think of my Auntie Millie who filled my childhood with happy memories of playing store and  tea parties on plastic plates with cheese sandwiches.  My Grandmother, who took us swimming at the North Shore Winter Club, who made matching nightgowns for my sister and I, and the best doll clothes and accessories a little girl could ever ask for.  I think of my Nana and the visits to her in Vernon when ever we would go up to the Okanagan.  My Auntie Alma, was a nun and one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known. My Auntie Jean who I loved to go and visit because there were Archie comics in the basement of her house and a house was on a lake. They are also 5 of the most amazing women I knew.

My Grandmother carried her family through some incredibly tough times and had to go back into the work force after her husband, my Grandfather, died, on her birthday, in 1967. My Grandmother never married again, and though I don’t know for certain, I feel it’s because she had already met and married the love of her life. I got to be at my Grandmothers side the morning she died; I love that she gave me that last gift.  Her final moment of clarity, in the waking form, was when I phoned my sister, held the phone up to my Grandma’s ear and my sister said her goodbyes. When she heard my sister voice, her eyes lit up and she smiled one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen.

My Auntie Millie died when I was quite young, but when I listen to the stories my Mom tells about her strength and joie de vivre, I feel like I had her in my life longer than I actually did.  My Nana moved across an ocean from the home and country she knew, to Canada and started a whole new life here. My Auntie Alma had a light in her that was brilliant and beautiful, even when living with dementia.  My Auntie Jean was the linchpin on my Dad’s side of our family, who lived beautifully and fully until cancer, fuckin’ cancer, took her way too young. She was involved with so many organizations during her life, and one of the coolest, in my opinion, was as Clan Chief of the Sons of Scotland (one of the few women to ever hold that role).

I come from a long line of strong, powerful, loving women and the men who loved them. I think of my Grandfathers who left their countries of their birth and their mothers,  knowing that they would probably never see them again. That takes a huge amount of courage to leave everything you know and jump feet first into deep end of something new, with no water wings.  So there are some pretty strong men, too.

I carry them all in my heart.

“Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.” 

“As we walk, all of our ancestors walk with us. As we dance, all of our ancestors dance the Sacred Dance. Each step that we place is an important one.  All of our relatives are walking with us, speaking through us like the many colors of the rainbow. Listen, and you will hear their steps, their voices, their colors. Listen, and you will hear your spirit calling upon all our relations, and you will feel their energy…”

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