I had rituals planned for this solstice, but what I needed most was sleep and so I am committing to rituals of slumber, as grounding as my morning meditations.
In September, I moved to the Lenape land of “Swift Waters.” As a mother, I had to step away from a city that has failed our children. And though I love NYC fervently, being lucky enough to have options, I chose what was best for my family.
On our new lands, the elder I have taken care of for 20 years passed away in October. It was dementia-- over the years, it took his memory, his mind, and then the rest of his body. Just as I cared for him with leather and kink in the earlier years of our friendship, I doula’d his death with candles and Chopin, placing a leather vest over his chest, a full body massage and last bowl of ice cream. With friends close, I called his wife’s spirit into the room to take him home and within the hour, he let go.
The next day, to prepare his body for cremation, I dressed in leathers, applied red lipstick, and pushed my feet into heels. It was our last session.Cleansing a body I had committed wonderfully perverse and sadistic acts upon; a body I washed from feces and fed like a child in the end years.
A month later, November, I lost another friend to suicide. A brilliant writer, artist, and mother of two. I have lost many friends and lovers to suicide and to most of them, I’ve let go with deep empathy and hopes that they were free of suffering. But because this one left children in wake, I was full of anger for days. Until I sat with the acceptance that depression is an illness, like cancer, and some of us survive, some of us recover, and some do not.
Deaths amidst deaths.
One long night amidst a winterfull.
But for this moment, as I write, the sun is shining through a clear sky, setting the world of white snow ablaze and the only darkness is the silhouette of an eagle reeling on high.