Today I decided that it was time to began my documentation of the upheaval I've been through this past year. Been trying to do this since August actually but I had too many other events taking place til now. And, since I like writing so much and am often at the mercy of my own perplexing thought processes, why not publish them here? It's an excellent outlet for my often radical ideas.
A Relative's Worries...
Early this morning, I received a visit from one of my cousins. He came over to share his concern about one of his brothers who's in the hospital in Omaha, fighting off a staph infection that is life threatening. I listened to his worries and tried to offer what encouragement that I could. In situations like this, I listen first, then process, then act. After sleeping on it, I woke up a few hours later determined to make prayers for my relatives.
I prepared myself as I usually do, smudging off the room and myself, then I sat down to compose my thoughts. I started by acknowledging the four directions, the Sky and the Earth, and the here and now, the Center. And, as I was in the middle of this process, my mother arrived. So, I paused in my prayer and invited her in so we could talk. I told her of what I'd learned earlier this morning. So, she joined in with prayers for the recovery of our relative.
My mother is one of the strongest women I know. It's only been in the last year that I've really come to fully appreciate her wisdom. Before the cataclysm that totally rearranged my life this year, I took her for granted, something I will never do again. Now, I can see where I need her the most and she's made it clear to me that she is here for me and my children.
I read all the time about historical trauma and the misery that has resulted from the genocide of our people committed by the non-Natives. But it's by listening to my mom recounting her life experiences that I began to develop a clearer perspective of what has happened to all of us.
My mom was born in 1937 at the Winnebago Hospital. She is the oldest daughter of parents who split up when she was a baby. Her father went to war and her mother eventually died of tuberculosis. She was raised by her Grandma and Grandpa (Great Aunt and Uncle) and spoke only the Omaha language until she was sent to school at the age of 7. When she was 9, hard times began for her after her Grandma died from digestive complications. Bereaved by her Grandma's death, she then looked to her Grandpa for comfort and direction. He continued to raise her with strict Native values. It was during this time of great change that her father came home from WWII, and with him he brought alcoholism and physical abuse.
I've listened to her describe her father's sickness and how he would strike out at her and her sister for any perceived wrongs. Back then there was no help available for her father's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder nor was there any help available for my mother. Her Grandpa did the best thing he could do and had her and her sister placed in boarding school at Pipestone, Minnesota.
When I listen to my mom's life stories, I often cry with her. To know what she has endured has definitely helped me to keep my own life in perspective. After facing the inevitable this past spring when my husband decided to leave us for a new life in Canada, I dwelt for a time in a mist enshrouded landscape which seemed unending. When I emerged from this traumatic state in July, a stronger, better, and happier woman, I made decisions for myself and my children. Decisions that are now coalescing into a wonderful reality.
Life Presents Many Gifts...
Much of my healing has been happening throughout this year. Longtime friends have stood by me faithfully, as well as newly made ones who seem to be on a similar path as mine. One such friend is Christopher, a non-Native, who is a recent addition to my circle of relatives. I was happy to hear from him on Friday, it gave us a chance to catch up on each other's lives. He lives in New York and is a playwright and a professor at NYU. One of his current projects is on the Ponca Chief Standing Bear, to be published in three years time. Since meeting Christopher in August, we've formed an alliance that is based on mutual respect and admiration for one another's writing abilities. He's honored me with a request to review his journals about his life-changing experiences over the summer. This too is to be published as a play sometime soon.
So as I am making my way on my healing path, one point I wish to make is that I do not see myself as a sacred person or such. I am only striving to live with my spiritual commitments each day as the Creator sees fit. And, this is only a part of what I wish to write about here on my blogsite.
All my relations!