'Tis the season for passing on!
Hilma af Klint (Swedish, 1862-1944), MOTHER AND CHILD, 1931. Watercolour, 33 x 25 cm
Sweet honey in the rock - Ella's Song
that which touches we most is that I had a chance to work with people
Passing on to others that which was passed on to me
Not needing to clutch for power, not needing the light just to shine on me
I need to be just one in the number as we stand against tyranny
“A vision without a task is but a dream. A task without a vision is drudgery. A vision and a task are the hope of the world.”
Inscription on a church wall in Sussex England c. 1730
Dear mylifeline friends,
Wow! I meant to keep in touch, but my days are so short now – clipped short by sleep, symptoms and a few important projects.
My donation for the SF LGBT Historical Society was sorted, inventoried and culled in time for this afternoon’s pick-up. A biography was written – something I thought archivists and readers might find useful. A short meeting with archivist Joanna Black and Devon the volunteer led to more interesting questions and illuminations. (1) They are seeking materials from lesbians, people of color and those outside of San Francisco and San Francisco’s East Bay. Could this be you?
They are also negotiating with The Lesbian Archives of Sonoma County to receive their materials and recordings, having recently catalogued Sonoma County Women’s Voices Newspaper – a publication I worked on for many years. And, a while back, the LASC recorded an interview with me that’s around here on a DVD – somewhere! (2)
I’ve continued to free up more things – photographs of strangers, music, bric-a-brac and things others will enjoy.
Needless to say, in spite of continuous decline, I don’t think I’m going to make my own October 15 deadly deadline!
So, I’ve extended it to November 15. I really don’t have the stamina to live longer than that. I should have felt the rain on my face, but the continuous shivers up my spine, daunting damp, darkened days, afflicting wood smoke, cabin fever keeping me cooped in are likely to make me SAD, an uncommon and unwanted affliction for me.
Humans, please don't be passing on your colds, flues, viruses and bugs! Protect yourselves and us vulnerable folk from these nasties. 'Tis not the season to pass sickness on!
Please, please, please give me release from this ailing, failing body.
And, thy will, not mine be done.
This week were also marked by the presidential debate last Monday – that was the second debate I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, the first was one of the 2008 Obama –McCain debates. I had been resigned to voting for Hillary Clinton as the lesser of two evils, but the more I see of her, the more I appreciate her years of dedication and her ability to learn and change. Yes, I voted for Sanders, like the majority of voters in Sonoma County’s primary election last June.
Trump continues to frighten and appall me, but I’m more worried about all those who will vote for him, these are my fellow and sister citizens and, in the spirit of democracy, I must contort myself into a tight pretzel wrap to constantly reconnect through our basic humanity of love, care, kindness and wanting the best of all possible worlds for all – something we don’t seem to agree upon now.
On September 29, anthroposophists around the world celebrated Michaelmas. Unable to join others for a festival, I studied up a whole lot of Rudolf Steiner’s Michaelic messages about life between death and rebirth, staying connected with the dead and the Mission of the Archangel Michael. His message, though esoteric, enhances courage in all facets of life.
I am so grateful.
Last Saturday, I had a surprise visit with two members of the local Sacred Threshold Guild and Jerrigrace Lyons of Final Passages. (3A & 3B) All of us work with preparing the dead for at-home after-death vigils and communications with the dead. The three of them met up at the Diana’s Grove Fall Equinox Ritual here at Moonlight Farm and then came to visit.
I felt fortunate to be awake for a spell between my many sleeps and doubly fortunate to be asked about what Steiner said about the period around death and working with the dead. Triply fortunate to let his work and words pour through me! I forgot how much I have learned, assimilated, retained and can teach. For the past couple of years, I’ve not read much by Steiner on these topics, preferring to approach death with an open mind and heart, rather than a schematic of what will happen next and next and next. Yet, all those studies have affected my choices and perception.
I’m relieved to have lived through September 2016 when my four main pillars of death support were simultaneously far, far from home. Together, we have planned for up to four years for my demise. Wonderful fill-ins stepped up to fill the pillar's large foundations, but I'm grateful stability is restored.
My hospice nurse case manager is abroad until October 10…so, I’ve a bit more waiting to do.
Plus, I do want to vote for Hillary Clinton this election and my absentee ballot should arrive soon..
Another big task this week has been to start sorting out the at-home after-death vigil. How do those who’d like to attend find out about it? How will the visiting dates and times be set? How will we keep the farm from being deluged (parking is very limited once the rains come)?
Yes, my death will be announced on this blog and close friends and family informed about the vigil, Christian Community funeral within the following few days and the later memorial.
Since at least 90% of my friends and family members aren’t anthrosophists or active in my esoteric Christian stream, The Christian Community: Movement for Religious Renewal, a memorial (neither a celebration of life or grief ritual) is a must! (5-7)
But, who are my intimates?
This blog and posts to various online support groups have taught me that many people consider themselves (yourselves!) close friends. But, from my perspective, I don’t know many of you all that well. I don’t know about what you love, who you love, how you’ve lived, your dreams, desires and regrets or how you feel about your lives and upcoming deaths. And I don't have the time, interest or stamina to cultivate new relationships now. Instead, I'm focused on deepening necessary and ongoing relationships with my carers.
I’m here spilling my guts and I don’t even know how you see yourselves.
Except, there are a few of you, I do know.
Among my beloveds is Aliyah Alexander! (8) She shares herself generously at her blog and shares deeply at my blog in her short comments. She tells me she’s going on hospice after years of being immobilized, after fighting mightily for freedom to choose the moment and conditions of her dying (she’s in Colorado, where DWD is not yet legal). She, like me, believes in the process of transformation through engagement with all that life offers. She is truly an Anam Cara, a friend of my soul.
While talking with a close friend about who to include in my vigill, I tried to explain how I can “know” another person for over 30 years, we can still be at the level of acquaintance and not yet the deep friendship I feel for Aliyah, someone I will recognize anywhere while never meeting in person during this lifetime.
I began to weep while trying to explain that Aliyah would be greeted as visiting royalty in my home, while, an acquaintance-stranger might be barely welcomed in.
The vigil guest list will be a hard call!
All are welcome to the Christian Community funeral and also the memorial.
But, who I want up-close and personal in my body-spirit-home-vigil space? I don’t know how to sort this out now.
Friends, my hour is up and I thank you for listening.
Dying is much harder work than I imagined. Like the work of an infant, it requires constant and exhausting adjustments. Yet, I hope I’ve developed the capacity to continue to meet the challenges whether they last more two weeks or six more weeks. After that, I expect to be in a continuous temper tantrum. My good humor will likely flee if my wish for release is dashed again.
(1) GLBT Historical Society – Archives & Museum
(2) Lesbian Archives of Sonoma County
(3A) The Sacred Threshold Guild is a new service group, working with a picture of the human being that comes from Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy. The Guild was formed to provide practical and spiritual support to individuals and their loved ones throughout the transition of death. It is not affiliated with any other organization and seeks to be of service to all regardless of their beliefs.
(3B) Final Passages
(4) Diana’s Grove: Public Rituals for Women in the Feminist Dianic Tradition
(5) The Christian Community: Movement for Religious Renewal
(6) My dad’s celebration of life, just hours before his death
(7) Francis Weller: Rituals of Renewal
(8) Songs from the Labyrinth
by Aliyah Alexander
Dearest Stephanie by Aliyah - it's mutual!