Light the lanterns…I have arrived Kathleen Dean Dec 28 2014

English: Chinese lanterns in the nightsky of L...
English: Chinese lanterns in the nightsky of Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Light the lanterns…I have arrived Kathleen Dean ~ Dec 28, 2014

Your memories called out to me; I walked to your heart and found my own.

I almost imagined your smile; like an unfinished letter, it was impossible to call you back.

At your death, they painfully denied my request to go with you.

“Is it the fare?” I asked. “There is enough money.

Maybe I need to get my bag packed first.

Do I need to call anyone? Why can’t I go too?”

The guardian at the door stood silent not answering a single question.

Then replied,

“I must turn you away is not your turn, not yet, some day.”

Despite his remark, I decided to wait feeling that if he saw my pain the Almighty might change his mind.

I shouted,

“I will grab a brick and break a window!”

I was prepared to explain what a wonderful husband you were. Surely, he will understand how much I will miss you.

“I am willing to pay the fee.”

No amount of money or tears will bring you back. Truth is you have never left.

I move on through the days and nights opening up each one carefully with the knowledge that I would find a glimpse of your, our, life.

There they were I eagerly started toward them. Our wedding day; the first thing I saw was you sitting in the ER at Mercy Hospital because you had rice stuck in your left ear.

English: Traditional street lanterns
English: Traditional street lanterns (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The nurse laughed, “So you’re the reason I could not sleep, all those cars that were being driven up and down my street blowing their horns. Maybe I ought to leave that rice in there.”

We felt so lost when the bank manager rejected our request for a loan. We had applied in not one, but three different banks to purchase a home. To think they claimed we were too young.

Grandpa Brown told us not to worry, “Buying a house was like catching a street car. Another one would come along.”

A month later, we were able to get our dream place along the shores of Knox Lake.

Not all doors open up into a pleasant memory. There are some where no one answers my calls for help. In my darkest hours, I sense thee,  by smell of laughter mixed in with shades of light as the sun peeps over the trees.

Shaking off depression I feel more than hear a voice,

“This will work out you are not alone.”

So far, I have managed not to do myself in, cause an accident, or bodily injury. Some mornings I must look like the wicked witch of the west though.

It is amazing what a bath and a little make-up can do for a body.

“So where do you think you’re going?”

Ramadan lanterns from below, Road 9, Maadi, Ca...
Ramadan lanterns from below, Road 9, Maadi, Cairo, Egypt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…I do not know.

I was beginning to believe that there were no more rooms left… all vacant, all dark.

Pain lurks in the shadows, I have found book of matches that will light my way.

There are many days and years ahead for me. They are pointing towards tomorrow, carefully selected.

Light the lanterns. I have arrived.


A healing day in the mountains…Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

A day in the mountainsMy whole world was in chaos. Both my parents died within 60 days of each other.  It was the second long weekend since.  I felt lost.  I was a drunk – in recovery – so I called my sponsor.  He said he had some errands to do…did I want to tag along.  I jumped at the chance.  

Anything to get away from the terror raging inside me.

He was a hobby photographer and always needing extra gas so he could go to the mountains to take his photos.   I suggested while we were doing the errands that we go for coffee….to Jasper National Park.

Road trips when you live in the  northern part of Alberta are a common thing.  So I made a couple of phone calls to folks who would miss me for dinner and off we went.

That was the first day I held a camera to use myself.   I had assisted many photographers on shoots as I am always wanting to learn.

We went to the mountains.  We were  gone for almost three days and I had held four cameras throughout the trip.

The photo is one of my favorites from that day.

I put a rock in my pocket (a journey of grief and healing)

Jasper rock gathering MaryHelen Ferris

Both of my parents loved the autumn.   They died within 60 days of each other.  I had not dealt with the grief.  I needed to go to the mountains.  I needed a rock in my pocket.   Here are the ramblings and tumblings of words in grief as I journeyed to find that rock.   Not knowing I would return to this place of grief and growth often, and especially in the autumn.

I watched the sky.
I wondered ‘why?’
I watched my pain
Formed into rain.
It renewed the earth as it fell.
The earth sprung up
Into the mountainous skies.
The beauty of the mountains acted  as shards to Soul.
I caressed the shards with my eyes; wanting them  to cut deep.

Cut away the dross.

Cut away the loss.
The peaks were covered with misty fog.
The peaks were covered in rain.
The peaks were breathing in glorious snow.
I was very jealous.
I needed to feel that connected.
I wanted to lie on the top mountain peak.
I wanted to caress the forest’s floor.
I wanted to know.
I wanted to be.
I wanted to be real.
I craved renewal and purpose.
I needed to be free of the pain of your passing.
I wanted to feel.
I longed for a mission.
I had to have the compulsion to go onward.
I did not feel anything like that at all.
Then the Sun came out.
It silhouetted the trees
Covered them in a raindrop-halo which glistened.
While they danced in the breeze beauty poured over me,
  Beauty bombarded Soul, beauty went through me.
I drove away whole.
Now in the rear-view mirror
I have my direction.
I will return to the mountains
I will walk through the valleys and peaks.
I will do the next ‘right thing’.
I will be a mountain or raindrop.
Depending on the day.
I will be in touch with my life.
I will learn to say “no
To the needs of another
When my own needs are intense.
I will return to these mountains
when I need to get in touch
With my departed parents
Whom I longed to hold so much.
I put a rock in my pocket.

photo by Sonny Alfredo Galea
Jasper National Park photo by Sonny Alfredo Galea

It is past….and a note about `sucky parts`

Roses after rain
Roses after rain

It is past

my bedtime…

I slept for days when the fire

and fever within grew to a blaze.

It is past

the time when I must retire…

 I want to sit and listen

to the inner holy fire in my silent daze.

It is past

the crisis of the summer storm.

I am healing slowly now.

The roses are dancing in the warm

Breezes which waft the scent to me

I am at the  moment in my  bliss.

In my “at-one-moment“ ephiany.

It is past

the deep sorrow.

It is past

the anger and the strife.

I am still here.

I am blessed in my life.

Oh, thank goodness,

for the moment

It is past.

The story behind the poem….
Life, is sometimes like fried chicken…you know it has the “sucky parts“.  With chicken it is the flavor.  With life, it can be anything.  But when too many “sucky parts“ come all together….There is the pain, fever, confusion, temper…..
everything until you just let go and let it flow.  
One of my teachers has shared that often, one has to stop.  The body has to catch up with all the changes. 
In that time of the fever…it feels like all my universes are re-arranged.  
The free-lance work…disappears.  The plumbing does not do its thing.   The goat box of rotten food gets delivered to me by mistake.  The husband…the best friend….the family member who has been gone too long…the arranged birthday gathering…you know….those “sucky parts“ I was referring to…well they all happened at the same time.
And you know what…I am still here!    I am thankful to come through it.  I am blessed to know the cycles.  I am glad that this growing spurt is past.

Christmas in August – a focus on grief – w o r k in progress

Visiting the grief today

feels like celebrating Christmas in August

I see you in the corner

of the kitchen smiling.

I hear your voice on the phone

When I have not finished dialing.

I feel your heat in lectures

From folks I chance to meet.

I reflect back on the rawness of the grief

Six months after you had gone.

I wanted to tie it up

in a bright ribbon

and put it away

Visiting the grief today

feels like celebrating Christmas in August

Christmas  felt  like a play rehearsal.

The stars, were missing.

(You  had  already gone

to the great Broadway in the sky) .

Act One, had already been performed .

Your  work here was done.

Because of your love and your life

It is,  for me,  Christmas everyday.

Some moments,  

do not feel like presents.

Some moments,  

I feel stuffed and overfed with grief.

Some hours pass,

 now,  when I refuse to believe you are gone.

Some moments,

 I feel your presence.

I see you in the corner

of the kitchen smiling.

I hear your voice on the phone

When I have not finished dialing.

I feel your heat in lectures

From folks I chance to meet.

Those  are the moments

when you nestle in my heart.

 The  goodness of your intentions,

Your  laughter and your inventions

take hold,  giving  me a new start.

Then,  it becomes  Christmas everyday.

I send you love on your Journey.

I embrace your memories.

I embrace your memories.

That makes everyday Christmas.

Snapshot_20130303_1Christmas in August

what a concept.

Invite your friends over.

Have turkey, ham, and all

the trimmings what a trip.

Grief is like Christmas in August.

No one understands

what you are celebrating.

No one understands

what you are feeling.

(Least of all yourself !)

Unless of course, they have grieved.

So why not revisit the grief?

Know why

you are aching still.

Know if

you have stopped the denial.

If you are still looking

for them on yonder hill.

Finding out if the letting go

Gives you space

To let in…

Do you have space in your life?

Is facing the grief like

addressing the pile of laundry

or dishes to be washed?

Grief is you missing a part of yourself

That is one “helluva” cost.

I told someone

“I am tired of missing

those who are gone”.

Then they said “Don’t”

“Don’t miss them.

Celebrate them.

Have their favorite meal.

Sing their songs.

They are in your life today

IF you let them.

Invite them along.”

When they finally had my attention

Then they softly said

When you are ready

 there is something else you can do.

Some thing you can engage

Some thing that may ring true.

Take your grief to your Creator,

Your Inner Master,

the highest part of yourself,

your Sage.

Write it all down.

Start at the top of the page.

Ask to visit your loved ones

In the dream state or in Soul flight

Ask to learn about their Journey

Ask to set things right.

The answers may  come in a moment

The answers may  come overnight

But slowing down

your life to address the loss

Could help make many things right.

You and the Creator have the answer

Of the story you feel is untold,

Learn beloved Soul

About your self

Your family

Your joys

Your losses

There are many more stories to unfold.

When you do learn to embrace it

The sorrow

The pain

The rainbows

The laughter

You have worlds to gain.

You can sing in the sunshine

You can laugh in the rain

You can learn about yourself

Your beloveds and the benefits of pain.

Thank you Mother for the things you taught….thank you Mother for the things you forgot.


MotherSnapshot_20110812_18I have surrendered all that I am

To the great I Am.

That is the only way

I know

How to make it

through today.

Today, it is  the beginning of a journey

I never ever wanted to make.

A day without you.

A day without the family surrounding each other.

A day that alternately swoops over me.

A day that sustains me.

A windy cold day in the Southern part of Alberta.

A day to begin an adventure.

A day to rejoice.

A day to revitalize and remember

A loving Mother.

Who is “free at last”.

“My goodness gracious

Child, your actions drive me wild.”

I need not sit too long

being introspective.

Your love is always with me.

My spirit not quite resurrected.

How to face the face that faces the day.

Oh, yes, dear Mother….

I will remember to pray.

I will remember the lessons.

I will remember the joy.

I will honor your life by forgiving

all the times I did not start the day with thinking of you.

I will honor those you loved

by sending them a hug

by giving a smile

by making my day

without you here

A day that is truly worthwhile.

Thank you Mother

for the things you taught.

Thank you Mother

for the things you forgot.

Thanks my Mother

for teaching me living.

Thanks beloved Mother

for a reason for giving.


Now, I can wash my face and put on a smile of remembrances.

Thanksgiving 2007
Reflections of Mother

Sharing thoughts of the Harvest Moon – Iris Brewster – Guest Author

  • I just told a very dear friend,
    ” The Harvest Full Moon” is a very demanding moon.
    It is demanding because it makes me
    accountable as to what I have sowed.
    What I have nurtured.
    What I have weeded.
    ‘You reap what you sow”
    has a special significance
    and that is why it is so demanding.
    It also offers a cornucopia of the gifts of forgiveness for self and others,
    re-assessing judgments and loving bigger and better.
    I felt this so much today.
    I woke up early and did some work.
     I went to a graveside service for a wonderful woman
    who lived her life in service to her family, Hadassah, and her friends.
    I came home and worked some more.
    I called a dear friend who I knew was depressed
    and we spent a few hours at the beach,
    letting the waves and sand heal all the aches.
    I body surfed for the first time in years and felt pure joy.
    The Harvest Moon is a reminder that joy requires observation.
    It requires the gathering of new seeds to dry and mature.
    For the promise of sowing and reaping is there for us
    till the next Harvest Moon. ♥ IB ♥
    English: harvest moon
    English: harvest moon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday’s serene sunrise…..

Zabriskie Point at sunrise in Death Valley
Zabriskie Point at sunrise in Death Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Sunrise over the bay of bengal at Vizag
English: Sunrise over the bay of bengal at Vizag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The quiet of the house

with the children all away

reminds me of so many Saturdays

when I longed to go and play.

The sunrise on the water

danced as it beakoned me

But I had weekend chores to do

Play time could not be.

Now the years have passed

There is silence in this space

A day of quiet remembering

Of another time and place.

A day of honouring your birthday

although you are not here to see

You would have been ninety-five

Always smiling cheerfully. 

You always loved your birthday

No matter what we gave.

There were  your favorite single roses

On your resting  place your grave.

But I wonder….

where are you now

my darling Mother?

I know it is not my business

but your story is like no other.

I cannot belive first off

that you are really gone.

Until mornings like this,

when there is total

silence with the dawn.

sunrise (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)