thanks for everything

i spent the weekend with my surrogate grandmothers. since i met them, since the first year they invited me into their circle, i’d been referring to them as my spirit grandmothers, but last year the oldest one of the group died at age 90 and i realized they are my surrogate grandmothers who become my spirit grandmothers after they pass from this plane of existence. we spent the weekend around a firepit burning up attachments we want to release and drumming the ashes toward the full moon. these grandmothers are great-grandmothers who have survived cancers and abusive husbands and addictions and poverty and abandonment and car accidents and fires and floods and tornadoes and the deaths of their parents, deaths of some of their children, deaths of some of their grandchildren, and deaths of some of their great-grandchildren. these women carry more grief and joy among them than most lifetimes include and they have held me through more tears than i’ve allowed to fall in front of any other human. i hugged them each extra tightly when i said hello and goodbye this weekend. i hugged them as often as they’d let me throughout the weekend. i stood especially close to the tiniest one with the biggest laughter. i sat closest to the one who is always cold because she is too skinny from not eating due to throat cancer. these women teach me that no matter what age you are, you’ll never feel your age, because we’re all growing younger on the inside. these women teach me to look into another’s eyes instead of a mirror if i want to see my reflection accurately. these women teach me that i always know the answers to the questions i ask of my life and that i’ll be happier if i ask bigger and better questions. these women encourage me to do less and go slower instead of doing more faster. these women tell me to do it all, everything i want and as soon as possible, but to do everything with more gentleness and to take my time. they talk often and at length about time, about losing time, about how much time is left, about how much can be done between now and the nevermore after passing. they know that we don’t know how much time any of us has because they’ve buried as many babies as old people in their lives. from our first meeting they recognized me as one of them even though i’m younger than most of their children (younger than a few of their grandchildren). they have seen and nurtured my strength, power, and vulnerability through years when i felt most broken. they’ve treated me as an equal in their circle. every year i spend a weekend in january with them to learn what they’re teaching, to shine their light back to them, to carry forward what they are passing onto me before they leave this life. each year we gather together to prepare to live as well as we can. when death comes we envision ourselves and each other smiling and saying “thanks for everything.”



About angel joy

love is an action verb. i live love in action.
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