Dad died on 10/28, just after the Witches' Ball. We miss him every day.
We were in Oregon with Mom by then and I left the Yule newsletter to Snakemoon. I wrote to her from the road and she included parts of my letter in the newsletter (see below). I wanted to say "thank you" to people who had helped us through this time, and it is my job to let the members know what FCE had accomplished this year, and this seemed the best way to do that.
It looks like we'll be moving to Portland, Oregon in 2005 or 2006. I'm not sure when, so it's hard to make plans. Mom is 78. She can't afford to buy a decent place out here and we can't find work where she lives, but we can find work in Portland, which is much closer to her than where we live now. She has a great home in Southern Oregon and her friends are there and her volunteer work is there, and I don't think it would be the best thing for her to leave, even if she wanted to. As long as she is happy there, then I think that's where she should be.
This means that I'll have to find a way to take Full Circle's work with me to Portland and leave it in good hand's here, as well. Tricky.
It also means that we might not be able to put on another Witches' Ball. Frankly, good, responsible people are hard to find. Even those that exist have trouble finding time for volunteer work. Most of the experienced volunteer staff at FCE are now ready to move on to other projects - they've done the ball for years now and it was time for new blood to take over. But many good people have moved out of state and new ones are hard to find. Now, even I can't commit to doing the ball this year, since I don't know if I'll be here. To be honest, if I'm not involved, then it won't be easy for anyone else to take this on.....
I wonder what will happen now?
A NOTE TO SIA:
On behalf of the staff and volunteers at Full Circle, I would like to offer our condolences to Sia and her family on the recent death of her beloved father. She wrote to me recently from the road and I quote parts of that email here with her permission:
Of all the things I’m grateful for (and it’s a long list) I think I’m most grateful for a small, special circle of friends who were there for us this year while Dad battled his cancer. Most of them had been through this process in their own family just recently. They handled hard times with dedication and grace and I took inspiration from their example. These same friends offered very practical and wise advice, which is crucial when you are dealing, not only with grief and illness, but also with hospitals and medical staff… It’s a real gift when you meet people who have walked that road before and who have the courage to walk it again, a bit more, for your sake…
Part of being a Priestess in my Tradition is creating your own map of the underworld. I’ve learned the blessing of a good death over the years as I’ve done companion and wildlife rescue work, so I already knew a bit about that. I learned about the longer process of dying from a Pagan woman in Arkansas. She cared for my sister as she went through her last stages of breast cancer and was there with us all when Aeron passed over in 2001... The skills you learn in life and in your spiritual practice will help you go into that country with a loved one and come out on the other side. But it’s not as if you can put your life on hold while you do this, and the best friends help you as you walk between both worlds.
…meanwhile another friend was dealing with her own father’s battle with cancer during the same period, and we were able to offer each other mutual support... Dad passed away on October 28th, just after the Witches’ Ball. By then we were in Oregon with my mother and we knew that this particular circle of friends were lighting candles for us. Even in the midst of all the sadness and the hundreds of tasks that come on you at a time like that, it’s good to know that the people you care about are holding you in their hearts….
I got back from Dad’s memorial in Oregon and got the message that my friend’s father had died just that morning, so I was able to give her a bit of advice on how to handle all the details. This gave me a chance to “Pass it forward”. Among other things, she needed a place to hold his memorial. As fate would have it, I had just rented a hall for this little charity ball we put on and I suggested that she use it, as well, so a week later I stood up for my friend at her own father’s rites in the grand ballroom of the Lucie Stern Center….
….. In the course of a few weeks, I participated in a Christian memorial ceremony for Dad and then, more privately, in Pagan Rituals of Passage and Samhain. Then I sat with my friend and her wonderful family at a combination Jewish & Buddhist Ceremony of Remembrance. At the heart of all these rites was love. The older I get, the more I think that love is the only thing that’s really important. All the rest is argument.
My thoughts are with you and the good people at Full Circle as we go into Winter. Our staff and supporters can all be very proud of what they’ve helped to create this year. When all is said and done, we’ll give almost $1,400 to the Humane Society and $250.00 to the Bat Conservation Society. We helped over 5,000 people register to vote and promoted many good groups and hundreds of various Earthwise & cultural events in our state. We’ve connected many hundreds of Pagans and others with each other through the (hugely popular) FCE calendar & newsletter. We’ve done countless hours of mentoring and advice giving and training, as well as connecting & supporting Pagans and educating the general public about Earthwise practice. Our events were great fun, beautifully organized, and well attended. The websites we built this year were lovely, meaningful, educational, and useful. All of this work was done free of charge by our volunteers. All of Full Circle’s expenses have been paid and we enter the year with about $125 for FCE to continue its work in 2005.
...My husband and I go back to Oregon again for both Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas. After that I’m going to take some time off and really rest. I’m not sure what the future holds. I suspect that, as usual, it holds change… I hope that everyone has a chance to spend time with people who nourish your spirit and that you all take a little quiet time for yourselves.
Someone asked me recently what I would offer as a Yule Blessing this year. I’ve thought about it and here it is:
May you find compassion, honesty and courage,
When and where you most need it,
And may that also be your gift to the world.
Blessed Holidays to you and yours,