Samhain. The beginning of the dark half of the year, the time to honor our ancestors and departed loved ones, when the veil separating the spirit world and the living world is thinnest, when we face our ghosts. Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine and why not? Dressing up and candy: two of the best things ever. But as awesome as chocolate is, I think there's more to it. I have always loved ghost stories, always believed in spirits and little snippets of magic.
Last night I went to the circle of women again to celebrate Samhain. We all dressed in black, as that's the color of the season, and brought candles and pictures of the dead we wanted to honor. And we shared our stories of them. I was incoherent, my loss seemed the freshest and I couldn't even piece together what I wanted to say. Instead of talking about Mom, I talked about me. How last Samhain, everything was normal. How the cancer was so aggressive and came out of nowhere and how difficult is was to get a flight to Seattle on December 23rd...and this is not what I wanted to say, it wasn't supposed to be about that, but I'm clearly still trying to wrap my head around how this happened. How was she fine a year ago? How did we hike last Thanksgiving and shop for a wedding dress and how was that the last time she saw me? How did she have a clear mammogram last August and every August for the fifteen years before that? How is she gone?
But what I told all of these wonderful women who sat there and held space for me was that Mom has been out visiting the people she needs to visit. (And it's true, I've gotten emails and notes from people who have walked into rooms in their house and found old letters from her, people who have just uncovered a photo they forgot they had, a memory triggered that they had to share with me.) Once she's done making the rounds and bringing some peace, she'll come to me. I somehow knew as soon as I found out that I was pregnant that I wouldn't get to have both my mother and daughter. And Gary, Mom, Dad, Ross, me...we all knew well before the sonogram confirmed it that we were having a girl. In that same sense, I know that Mom knows she has a couple more months of visiting that she can do, but then she'll be at the birth with us. And, knowing her, she'll stick with the Pea as much as she can.
It's not actually Samhain yet-that's tomorrow night and Tuesday morning. So, if you want to celebrate the season, take some photos down of the people you want to honor, light a candle for them and share a fond memory. And as the dust fades tomorrow night, listen for them. They'll be there.