Elizabeth’s 24th Birthday

Dear Elizabeth,

it’s your 24th birthday, and you’re not here, and you’re very much here.  I didn’t know exactly how I wanted to spend the day, but I knew I wanted to do some ritual to honor you, and also something to nurture myself, some way of tending to my body – my “flesh and blood holder of humanity” as you wrote so eloquently.

Then a couple of days ago I saw someone announce on Facebook that she had an opening for an ayurvedic massage today, and that seemed perfect – it showed up and presented itself, so I said yes.  Next I realized this was the day to take some of your ashes up to Mount Lemmon. I know you loved it there and it was the other place I knew I needed to leave some of your ashes before leaving Tucson.

First thing though, I shared one of my favorite poems of yours on FB, A Lifetime.  It feels to me that it says so beautifully what you wanted to do, and what you did in this lifetime. It makes me happy to know you even thought about all of those things, and then that you got to experience it all…it’s quite extraordinary.

After my relaxing massage, I was ready to drive up the mountain. I packed up your bundle of hair, carefully wrapped in one of your scarves, and a shovel.  I still had the hair you’d saved from when going through chemo the first time, and I know you’d intended to do some kind of burial ritual, so I wanted to complete that for you as well.  I took some flowers, and then filled a small glass bottle with some of your ashes to offer to Mt Lemmon.

I drove up with Tilly beside me, wondering all the way where the hell we were going, and both of us were relieved when I found the right spot to bury your hair.  Tilly was happy to walk around under the pine and oak trees, and I easily dug a spot for your hair in the soft ground, covered it with dirt and pine needles and put the flowers on top.  It felt like there were bears nearby, maybe watching me, and I am certain they’ll come and sniff around at some point.  I could feel their presence in the trees…

Mt Lemmon, Elizabeth Blue,

burial of Elizabeth’s hair

Elizabeth Blue, ashes, Mt Lemmon,

ashes on Mt Lemmon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got back in my car and drove further up, looking for a place with the really incredible stacks of rocks.  I asked you (and I’d been feeling your presence all day of course), where you wanted me to place the rest of the ashes – did you also love those rocks, or was I just imagining that, since I love them…? I heard you say that you do love them, and, to remember that where the ashes go is about what I want, that it no longer matters to you, you’re not in those ashes. You said that you love that I’m taking the time to do this ritual, but it’s for me, not for who you are now…I could also feel the ways that we were, and are, so merged.  That there are times that I can’t tell whether it is I who likes or experiences something, or you.

I trusted that I’d just know, and sure enough, I saw those rocks, with a parking area, and with Tilly leading the way on her leash, I realized there’s a beautiful area to walk down and among the rocks.  I’d been there before but somehow never saw that, even though there were many others walking down that way! I meandered down a path, down to where there was just the view of Tucson desert I’d been envisioning, and placed your ashes in the corner of some huge rocks. It was out of the wind, though I know not for long. And slightly off the main path, but there will be plenty of people coming through.  Along with the immense natural beauty, there was also graffiti and cigarette butts, and it seemed the right place for some of your ashes to rest.

You were such a combination of the ethereal and very much of this world. When you were little, making up words and dances (like the “hatdeck” when you were 3, and fufia and kufia – were they unseen friends?), seeing spirits, writing poetry and loving the Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child. Now you seem to be truly at peace, in the angelic world of the ancestors, and yet, you come down and play Angel from Montgomery today on your birthday, which I haven’t heard in months! “To believe in this living, is just a hard way to go…” yes, sometimes it is.

So, my sweet girl, though I miss you deeply, and can still hardly believe you’re gone, I am mostly feeling at peace these days. I hear that you want me to be happy, and mostly I am, though I know it’s fine to be sad too, and that crying actually makes me happy at times.  I was afraid that this second year, and now your second birthday after you died, would be harder, as some experience that.  I’ve found thankfully, that it’s easier with time.  I can feel your presence ever closer – almost merging, and yet further away, as you’re more diffuse, more spread out, though still very available when I need to connect.

I know that you know all of this, but I wanted to put it into words, to help me remember this day, and share it with others.  You make my life so beautiful, along with your sister, and I’m so grateful!

love,Mom

Notice the orbs and the lights (including purple ones) that showed up in these photos.

orb, Elizabeth Blue, spreading ashes,

One View

orb, Elizabeth Blue, spreading ashes,

The View from Mt Lemmon, where Elizabeth’s ashes were placed – note the orb and lights!

Elizabeth Blue, ashes, Mt Lemmon,

View from Mt Lemmon

NPR Interview – “Voices for the Cure”

A quick note:  I was interviewed for our local NPR station about losing Elizabeth, and our journey with cancer and death.  It airs today, January 10 at 6pm, Arizona time, and tomorrow, January 11 at 5pm.  If you’re in Tucson, Arizona, you can listen live at 89.1, or stream it here wherever you are: https://radio.azpm.org/kuaz/

Elizabeth would have been turning 24 this Sunday – it feels like an appropriate honoring of her to be able to share this now…
If you can’t tune in live, it will be posted on their website, and I”ll share that later. 

Gratitude and Clearing Out

I had a wonderful end of 2013, with my 50th birthday spent with my closest family and a good friend, with delicious food,  the people I love the most (most of them anyway), and even time on the beach in California!  It was a perfect day.  Except, of course, that Elizabeth wasn’t there, though I certainly felt her presence.

For months I’d been wondering how I could gather my family and friends to celebrate my 50th birthday, which is on Christmas eve, but it felt too overwhelming and stressful to orchestrate.  Somehow, (and I believe Elizabeth helped out here), the only time we could all meet up for our annual family vacation was my birthday week!  We’ve never done our trip Christmas week, but it worked perfectly, and I didn’t need to do anything other than say yes and show up.  Family flew in from Hawaii, the East Coast, and drove from Tucson and northern California, and we had a beautiful week together in Santa Barbara…

Lucia Maya, birthday dinner

Lucia’s 50th birthday dinner, with roses from Elizabeth

When we arrived at the restaurant for my birthday dinner, the hostess showed us to our table, strewn with rose petals, and said, “Someone named Elizabeth was here earlier and left the roses for you.”  We all stared at her, asking her to repeat herself, until we realized it must have been my friend Victoria, who was staying nearby.  She had brought the roses and said to tell us they were a gift from Elizabeth, but the way that was communicated was a bit startling to us all!

My year has started off wonderfully too. Since coming home, I’ve had the pleasure of my partner Zelie being home for a few days, and now my daughter Julianna being here with me for her winter break, likely our last time together in Tucson.  I have put my house for sale and am preparing for my move to Hawaii, where I’ll be based on Maui and continue to spend part of my time on Molokai, offering retreats with my partner.  I move at the end of February, and it’s been a very busy few months of clearing, packing, and organizing!

Julianna has been amazing, helping me with not only the practical aspects of preparing for a huge yard sale (I’m not taking much with me to Maui), but also the more emotionally charged ones of going through Elizabeth’s boxes of belongings.  Yesterday we sorted through 3 boxes of her journals, jewelry, photographs and clothing, and it somehow felt relatively easy, making decisions about what to save (journals, of course) and what to let go of.  It was wonderful to have Julianna with me while I made decisions, taking what she wants to have, knowing that we are both clear on what feels right to save, and what to let go.

Elizabeth Blue, Elizabeth Meagher, Sedona,

Self Portrait by Elizabeth – Blue Boots at Sedona Creek

Today I still needed to get through Elizabeth’s file folders, and that was unexpectedly much harder. Perhaps it was reading many of her papers from high school, or seeing her handwritten notes and to-do lists. Perhaps it was tossing piles of teacher’s evaluations of her, and feeling like none of that mattered, as she’s not here anymore. What difference does it make what her 9th grade English teacher thought of her work?  Perhaps it was seeing again her funny labels on her folders that I threw away, but couldn’t help photographing first, as they are so endearing:

Image

It feels good to be letting go of so many things, feeling like the things are not very important anymore, and traveling lighter feels right.  The move to Hawaii also feels very right, after years of feeling it coming, knowing it is now time, and that moving away from this home and this town where Elizabeth was last, mostly feels healing.  It feels expansive and like my work and my life can open in new ways, hopefully to be in service in larger ways, and in a place that will be healing for me as well.

And so I will continue to write, write; talk, talk. Edit away.  And pack, and store, and recycle, and sell, and cry, and laugh, and love.

Last, I want to express so much gratitude to all of you who’ve found this blog and surrounded me with so much support, friendship, and love.  55,000 of you visited last year, from 136 countries! That may be small in the blogging world, but it’s huge to me, and I can’t say how much I value each of you who read this blog, and who share yourselves with me.