Monday morning in Yosemite we passed the talking stick, shared grieved, and filled in the mandala that is David in each of our lives. The sharing became rich and sincere, comical and honest, and hard, heartbreakingly so.... it was thru each others eyes David's beauty and contributions developed deeper and richer shades. It felt like we could have done this all day I thought.
Winding towards our planned lunch, I was saving a pocket of time for a piece I had asked the elder's help in crafting... a brief ceremony where I may officially "step out" of my cherished role. Dear friend and midwife of my growth for the last 7 years, Lexi Delgado got the ball rolling several weeks earlier with a conversation then an email naming my request. I followed up with specific elders who would be attending, and they ran with it. The idea was to carve out a moment, after plenty of focus on releasing David, to then name the role I played in his life, beyond the immediate role of partner, but also the larger set of "hats" that came along in the relationship... retreat manager, retreat meal planner & cook, product developer, home nurse, personal secretary, public relations representative, body advocate, people and input diffuser, etc.
In this short but deeply "real" ritual I was first invited to receive the calling out list from everyone of all the contributions I bring. Then I was invited to relinquish four shawls I named individually and handed over to a trusted elder, while the larger circle witnessed.
"Handling all perfectly" was the first. "Caretaking & pain that couldn't heal him" shawl was second. "Organizing & tracking all the details" was next. And finally, "One who is approachable, David's buffer to the world" came last.
To emerge from this place into the next phase of my life, I was then guided to walk down a long, warm, receiving line, under up-stretched arms in a long loving canal where whispers of sweet blessings and witnessing washed over me. At the end, a poem, watercolor and necklace from Barbara Cecil transcended and present over the miles, a clear initiation by someone holding my journey with David closely for so long... GRACE and true holding
From here my plan is to continue to host this blog (because I WANT to, in case you asked), update and host David's website www.umya.com, to continue to put out his artworks, as well as my own, put out his teachings in written and audio form and to continue making trips to the dear communities I find myself received like the family we still are
All this is to really say:
... Im still here ....
Photo: Dani Antman Bodega area, CA Sept 2009