We make an ofrenda, which is an altar for the Day of the Dead. I bring photos of a father, grandparents, an uncle, a sister. Among them is a suicide, an alcoholic, a poet too gentle for this life, women who had to scramble to survive or live with men who treated them badly. Few died with any semblance of peace.
I offer chocolates and mums, a pencil for the poet, a cigarette for the smokers. What I wish I could give them is another pass at life, for too much of theirs was stark and unforgiving. Some of it was character, some of it was heritage, some of it was cultural.
Do not go gentle into that dark night, wails a poem. But why not? Why fight against the dying of the light? For we all must die. It’s the last clause in the contract made with being born. What unseen can I offer my dead, who have gone on before me? Courage to amend mistakes and character flaws with unflinching honesty? The never ending weeding of my inner garden? Loving what is? Love?
For them. For me. For it all. Forever and ever. Amen.
Posted in Before Versailles, character, Charles II, creativity, Dark Angels, family, fathers, fear, George I, historical fiction, Karleen Koen, life, Louis XIV, Louise de la Valliere, love, memoir, mothers, Now Face to Face, sisters, spirituality, story and love, Through A Glass Darkly, vulnerability, writing, writing process
Tagged alcoholism, All Saints Day, Day of the Dead, dying, Dylan Thomas, family, fathers, mothers, suicide, tradition
We do death well….our family. Let it bare its teeth at one of us, and we drive in from far and near and go to work. Just recently we gardened, repainted a whole inside interior, cleaned, scrubbed, washed, and waxed the house of one of our own, whose husband just committed suicide. We let go of political or any bias and worked to make her home something she could come back to—brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers. I love that in us, this clan tribe thing we can summon up when the chip is down and busted.
I was reminded of the long-ago autumn melanoma locked its pitbull jaws into my sister, and we knew it was over. We drove in from far and wide on clear autumn weekends, kids tumbling out of cars like a clown act, and gardened and cleaned and talked and cooked and did whatever we could for her. We loved her to death.
Posted in Before Versailles, Charles II, creativity, Dark Angels, family, George I, historical fiction, Houston, Karleen Koen, Louis XIV, Louise de la Valliere, Now Face to Face, sisters, story and character, story and family, Through A Glass Darkly, writing, writing process
Tagged character, clan, family, sister, story and theme, suicide, tribe, writing
What tears were cried Sunday. I cried missed God tears. I was with a Holy Man, and he told a Sufi story. Tell me, the man in the story asked of the Master, how to find God. The Master took the man to the ocean, walked in with him, held him under water until he was fighting, crazy to be up in the air. Are you insane? shouted the man when the Master let him go. Why did you do that?
When you desire God the way you desired your next breath of air, you’ll find him, replied the Master.
Well, ain’t that a kick in the pants. When I heard that I went outside and cried for the girl who once sought God but turned away because he/she/it seemed all bound up in hellfire and damnation and original sin and nailed to a cross–no thanks–only when her husband went crazy, God saved her, and now she knows she has to find her path with this God, that this has to come before job, children, men, only she’s afraid to go full blast…..too many born again Christians in her memory….oh bless me, thank you, Jesus….gag me with a spoon….only she does need, does seek, so I cried Sunday because I was with this Holy Man who never lost God even when he was in the pits of suicide, of complete despair, and I’m so far from Mecca…so far…………..
Posted in character, creativity, Dark Angels, historical fiction, Karleen Koen, life, Now Face to Face, story and theme, theme, Through A Glass Darkly
Tagged "spiritual path", despair, God, holiness, Jesus, seeking, Sufi, suicide