It’s November 1, Day of the Dead. A time to remember.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandmother. Maybe because her birthday is in October and I posted about it on Facebook. Things I write about, even briefly, have a way of sticking with me. But I also wonder if it’s because I invited her to hang out with me.
A few months ago, I started working with a business coach named Christina Morassi. And on our first call together, she led me through a meditation that included a symbolic beginning, a crossing of the threshold between who I’ve been and who I’m becoming, professionally. When companions were invited, my grandmother turned up.
It was a funny sight, actually. My grandmother was a bit of a brick. Four foot, eleven, too many pounds, and essentially the same width from shoulder to feet. She was a formidable force, in form and function. In my meditation, I was standing on a wide stretch of wet sand at a rather unforgiving beach, with shifting dunes, giant rock formations, and a fierce wind (feeling a bit trepidatious, are we?). And here was my grandmother, wearing a stylish black and green checkered dress she’d sewn, with smart black pumps and white hair miraculously unblown, standing on the sand just behind me. Incongruous as the sight was, I don’t think there’s anyone else I’d rather have my back. She was there representing all of my ancestors and I’m sure when the time came to decide who was going, they all just stepped aside. She was a queen.
I felt her a lot, too, when Aidan was born.
Aidan arrived almost a month early, and though my labor and his delivery were uneventful, I did feel quite vulnerable during my planned C-section. It was all much more medical than I was anticipating: Getting my paralyzed, pregnant, and broken-legged body onto the TINY operating table; the freezing temperature of the room; the cumbersome paper drapes over me; the tangle of tubes coming out of me; the throng of people I’d never seen before and would never see again; the pain blocker that made me dizzy; the bright light… It was all just intense, and I couldn’t really focus on my baby. So I called my Babushka to look after him. To hold his hand and stay by him. Of course, Dean was there, too, but I wanted someone from the other realm, someone who’d stood at the veil between life and death. Twice! It was comforting in the way her chicken and rice was comforting, the way the smell of Jergens lotion in her bathroom was comforting. And when my wiggly boy with a head of curly, golden hair finally came to my breast an hour after he was born, I know she was standing nearby, quietly coaching him, and guarding the gates through which he’d come.
I’m so grateful that in my spiritual practice, there is this time of year dedicated to remembering. Because, even though she and my other Beloved Dead pop into my head a lot, the fullness of living often makes remembering hard. So this opportunity to do it consciously is nothing but a gift.
I’ll be remembering all month, telling stories and scrounging for pictures. How about you? Who are you remembering? I’d love it if you’d share some stories in the comments, so I can “remember” with you.
Blessings to all the Beloved Dead.