Friday, September 11, 2009

Letting Go

Benny and his Aunt Viv' came Wednesday to check in with us. That is, after visiting, he went out to the back and at dusk prepared for and put down a Prayer Fire for us. He and his Aunt took our whole family out there around the Fire and helped us, prayed for us, and we prayed for ourselves, finally letting go -- letting go of any left over bad feelings toward our mother's doctors, toward mistakes which were past, useless what ifs, guilt feelings of wishing we had done this or that differently.

Thursday my Chief emailed. She knew this was the day of the wake and that it could be a hard day for me. She was one of the first to know last week that my Mom had died and one of the first to comfort us.

She wished she could be with us -- but in reality she is taking care of so many at the ranch. She would have to leave two elders who needed care to come all this way. But she went out to the Prayer Fire which burns constantly and prayed for us. She emailed to tell me the words I needed to hear and the directions which would help me keep it together, and also, to let it go, to let my mom go where her heart is.

At the wake, it really did good for my heart to see so many elders of the Japanese community come to pay respects to my mother, to shed tears with me, to bring us a beautiful handmade card of handmade paper, or prepare healthy food, nishime, just for me to eat during these difficult days, or generous beautiful dishes for the guests at the wake. It did my heart good to be with my support group and friends of Many Nations Longhouse, their prayers, always there thick or thin. It did my heart good to be with girlfriends, longtime friends, compadre who I join and work with my whole heart for what we believe in, the fellow teachers of beautiful Jefferson Middle School, kind hearts of the neighborhood, community. It did my heart good to see many many people who helped take care of my mama at Southtowne and share tears with them and to see the love they still hold for her.

My nephew Jeff flew in from New York impulsively to be there and was a great comfort to his parents and us. He would step right in to take care of whatever needed to be done that we were too clouded or confused to deal with. Our daughter was literally the willing extension of my brain, arms and legs. And Will never ever waivered just as he never has through the four years HE and I took care of Mama.

We've been receiving emails of comfort from people way back in the Idaho days, or new friends of mom in this community, from relatives all over the country.

It is hard to let go but for the prayers which lift and support us and the many arms which enfold us and keep us close, close, close to those who are still here and who are here still for us.

This blog is my way of saying thank you. Even if I may not look it right now, I do love life and am grateful for all that we are being given right now.

I miss my Mama. I love her. And we'll be okay someday, much of it because of the kindness of many.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

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. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.