I would’ve posted this yesterday, but there is no wi-fi on the river.  Every year on the anniversary of my mother’s crossing over I try to find something to do, not only to keep my mind distracted but to honour my mother and who she was.  My mother was blind, but she never let it stop her from doing anything she wanted to do.  She worked teaching computers to the blind, she bowled, she played frisbee, and she rode roller coasters.  She cooked like a chef, cleaned like a professional, and sewed little neck scarves for a local pet grooming store for extra cash.  She sold Tupperware, collected Princess House Crystal, and never broke a single piece.  She could give you directions or recipes from the top of her head, and never missed an opportunity for a laugh or a practical joke.  My mother was never disabled or handicapped; she simply adapted.  I make it a point not to let the memories of her loss cripple me.  Instead I use the day to try something new, enjoy what life has to offer, and do it in her memory.

This year I’m injured, which limited my options for new experiences.  After two years of invisible illness following three months with a broken tailbone, I’m growing somewhat weary of being limited.  Hubby, however, had a plan.  His idea was to take a rafting trip down a stretch of the Schuylkill River.  This particular stretch was mellow enough for us to take the other couple in our household’s two-year old, so it would be fine for a cripple like myself.  Early yesterday afternoon we loaded the inflatable raft into the water with a cooler of beer and soda.  We then roped two gallons of drinking water and three inner tubes to the back of the float, and we were good to go.  Once launched I spent most of my day in one of the tubes while the boys camped in the raft with the beer.  hey made sure we didn’t drift or get snagged on anything, and I was left to enjoy the sun, water, and peace on the river.  No phones, no computers, no worries.

On our first stop along the shore we can across a still pool full of shells and river rocks.  While the boys had a bonding moment on the shore, I sat in the pool and felt the river.  I could feel it moving just feet away as it flowed past me.  I moved out of the pool and felt the water passing through and around me in a fluid embrace, and each drop that touched my skin had something different to say.  After a few moments a piece of seaweed passed by and caught itself in my hand, dancing through my fingers, and we played for a while before it was time to head back to the waters carrying us down the river.

For someone with no water signs in her chart at all, I have always connected the most and communicated the easiest with water.  As a healer and someone who generally follows my heart and intuition before anything else, water has always come naturally to me as the element easiest to access, whether or not I’m actually near a body of water.  Luckily for me I grew up in California not to far from either the Santa Cruz coastline or the San Francisco Bay.  There were other bodies of water close to me, but those were always the ones we drove to as a kid.

When my father and I started camping together along the Stanislaus River I realized that rivers, more than oceans, were a better fit for me.  I would sit for hours while he fished just being one with the river. I learned a lot about peace, persistence, and calm strength from the river.  I learned control and connection to my own energies.  I learned to use that of the world around me.  Those trips, more than anything else, made me a better witch and a more peaceful person.  Yesterdays trip reawakened that calm within me.  I haven’t been on a river that way in almost a decade, and it was something my body, mind, and spirit were all missing to be whole again.    I don’t think Hubby has had a better plan since “let’s get married”.

What better way then to honour the woman who gave me life than to re-awaken all the parts within me and actually feel alive again?  How long have I been existing this way?  Who have I been lately?  I certainly have not completely been myself.  Yes, there have been moments when I have felt alive and vibrant, but even then it was a temporary condition.  Even then it was a synthetic reproduction of actually being whole.

The river reminded me of my place here in the world.  I am a healer and a  facilitator.  I am constantly moving, constantly changing, constantly shaping.  I have still places, and I have rapids.  I am strong.  I am fluid.  I am adaptable.  I am not always what I appear to be on the surface, and if I am respected and treated well I will embrace and support those who love and understand me.

I am my mother’s daughter, and if yesterday taught me anything it was how much I am like her.  One of Hubby’s biggest issues with me lately it that I hinder myself.  He’s right, I say “I can’t” a lot, even if I know I can.  This is not how my mother raised me.  This is not a value she instilled in me.  I have spent the last fourteen years wondering if she would be proud of the person I have become, and I have been driven to make sure she would.  Yesterday I finally felt that peace.  Yesterday I felt that she was not above me looking down and watching but inside me smiling at the ways I continue to grow and learn.  I have never been as at peace with being without my mother as I was yesterday.  I know there will still be days when it’s tough, but I think I’m moving closer to knowing that I can always look deep within myself for the guidance I need, the guidance she instilled in me years ago.

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