I haven’t posted for a month, some of you have been checking in to see how we are doing and I really appreciate that. I struggle with posting, these have been dark days. I have been sad, angry, resentful, weak, lost, melancholy, resigned, and unmotivated. I have had to force myself to finish the work for the three classes I was taking, I think it helped to have that to focus on, it gave my brain something to do. December 13, I was done and my friends were all asking how it felt to be done with school for the semester, and I couldn’t tell them. I couldn’t really feel anything, I expected to feel relieved and lighter but I didn’t. I felt empty, and pressured by expectations that seemed meaningless. I am still mourning my Dad, Brian is still looking for work and we are living with uncertainty. Then on the 15th my daughter and I were involved in a car accident. We were rear-ended and pushed into another car. We are okay, some neck injury, but we walked away from it. The car is not drivable though. This week we have been focusing on healing, daily visits to the chiropractor, massages, ice packs and rest. Rose is 11, and the accident freaked her out, it was scary. We have been talking a lot with the kids about the accident because the boys are both about to become drivers, and that really scares me. They may be good drivers, but we can’t control what the other people do on the road. I was doing everything right, I was not speeding, I was not tailgating, I was not talking on the phone, or adjusting the radio, or putting on makeup or any number of things I see people doing while driving. I reacted quickly, I was stopping, but the woman behind me didn’t. Then while I was checking Rose and comforting her in the minutes after the impact, the woman left the scene. She did come back half an hour later after the CHP were there taking our report.
I keep replaying the scene in my head and wonder how the boys would handle the same situation. It has been a week now and I felt that we needed to come together as a family and process what has been happening.
I decided that we would have a winter solstice ceremony, celebrate leaving the darkness and moving into light. Amidst their protests that this was Pagan and contrary to our Christian beliefs, and squashing the thoughts that we were going to build a big bonfire and drink mead, I gathered all the candles I could find and set up a little table in our family room with them and sun symbol.
I explained what we were doing and why, that I wanted to mark the turning point in the earths movements with a turning point in how we are viewing our lives. That we have had a number of events in our family that have brought darkness and sadness and that we could use this celestial moment to let go of some of the darkness and focus on the hope in the coming of light.
I had them turn all the lights off, even the Christmas tree and blow out the candles and I asked them to reflect in the darkness and silence on the things that have happened that bring them pain and sadness. Then one by one we each lit a candle as we thought of the hope in our future. Brian read the Genesis story of creation and I read a Native American poem called “Spirit Walker” as we lit the rest of the candles in the room and enjoyed the warm glow. We talked for a little bit, well, mostly Rose talked and the boys slouched, about what we had just done.
Then we opened all our Christmas cards together and read the good wishes people have sent us. I think it was good, I think it was meaningful, I think it was strange for the kids, and maybe even a little strange for my husband, but I am grateful that they go along with me and participate because it makes me happy. I feel their love for me in that, and for that I am grateful. I am sensing a turning point, I am so aware that we are interconnected as a family and our emotions and well being are bound together. The subtleties of how we treat each other have great impact especially when we are in this vulnerable place in our lives. We must care for each other.
Jennie->I am in tears as I finish reading your post. Your ability to express yours and your families emotions is truly a blessing. I have always been impressed with your communication skills and “outside the box” thinking. What a wonderful way to to keep moving forward but giving your family a venue to speak of the grief that is shaping their day to day lives, known or not, than with a darkness into light ceremony.>>Many of us get so caught up in our own struggles we sometimes forget to reflect on those of others, wanting only to go forward, be positive, forgetting the heartache our friends may be feeling. I pray that as the days pass and you are able to remember fondly, with humor, love, a few tears, all the wonderful memories you have of your Dad and family together, including a pre-squashed little red bug.
What a beautiful, healing thing to do! I’m sure it is something you children will remember for the rest of their lives. Best wishes to you and your family for the season.
Sorry about your car accident and glad to hear that you were not seriously injured. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.