While the veil is thin I asked my Great Grandmother. I asked her what she would want for me. Maybe what she never had for herself. And I heard an answer. Felt it bubble forth from some secret spot under a gut so used to worry. There was no judgment. There never was. Judgment was always just confused concern. She has only ever wanted the best for me. She has only ever wanted to love me.
Time, I heard her say. I want time for you. A chance to choose a life, a love, a place to root. She spoke about time to wander. To wonder what life might be. What I might want of it. She asked me to remember that wondering is a luxury not often afforded. Never afforded to her. Not on that farm in South Dakota. Not in the 8 years she was pregnant in L.A. Not in the home she refused to hide in or at the cemetery where she buried her daughter. Her road seemingly predestined. Never challenged. Never time enough to feel the impact.
She asked me to see the road before me. See it empty and fertile. She asked me to walk it like it mattered. To walk like that freedom was fought for. And then to stop. To pause like bones were for resting and not for weary. Pause to make room for grace and questions and instruction. Pause like it was safe enough to slow now. Because it is. For the first time. For the women of my family. She asked me to breathe.
She wished for me, a legacy. Time to learn the trades of my Grandparents. To take them to heart in the old ways, by touch and recipe card. To study them with reverence and no trace of obligation. To treat motor oil and cooking grease like secrets of survival. To treat them with respect. To study them like they, like we, are worth remembering. Because our work has rarely been separate from our worth. And to learn a skill is to embrace the heart of something so often overlooked. It is to hold a silent longing for lineage. To be gentle with a history that has only ever gone one generation back. She asked me to learn like we were worth growing. Asked me to honor my ancestors by beginning to build a base. One we were willing to remember now. One I could belong to. She wished for me a foundation like family.
She whispered many things. Told me she wants secrets to be joyful and know nothing of shame or birthing. She spoke of love. Love that sews together sections of self so long ago split. A thread that spins story into ritual, into creation . She asked me to risk for it. To reconcile desire and dignity. To allow the wounds to weep out and have the courage to be held. To let the holding become our creation myth. A ritual that could be returned to. A love that costs no more than tending. A love that does not cost my pride, my skin, my self. It is instead a mending, an integration, a wholeness, a magic.
She asked for my brilliance and my mistakes. Asked me to hold them both as holy. To hold tight to need as an invitation into something sacred and never scarce. She has only ever wanted the best for me. She has only ever wanted to love me. And for me she wishes time. Time to feel the impact of this heart I carry and this road before me. Time to heed her teaching and feel her always beside me.
Written, November 1st, 2012