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Samhain is Ablaze with Reflections of My Father
Article ID: 13634
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Mariposa de la Tierra
Posted: November 8th. 2009
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As I lit each candle upon my altar, I reflected upon wondrous memories of those loved ones no longer walking this earthly plain. My eyes became misty at times and though there was a touch of sadness there was an abundance of love.
I reflected on my mother and her struggle with diabetes and how she had died at the very young age of 54. Then I reflected on the love she brought to friends and family and how she was one of the best cooks ever.
I thought about a young man, one who was like a son to me, who had taken his own life. He felt it would lessen his pain. I honored the lives of many of my loved ones and my pets as well, for this is what Samhain is about. You welcome your loved ones with open arms and a few misty tears as well.
My misty tears, however, turned to a flood when I lit the candle for my father. He was only gone a little over two years and I was remembering the many times he attended our Circles. My father, Jacinto, followed the Christian path. While so many of my Christian ‘friends’ and some relatives were critical and judgmental of my path, my father was not.
He embraced all that my family and I believed and shared it with us…with all the love and respect he had to give. He never once tried to proselytize to me or anyone in our Circles. Many times his eyes would fill with tears as he embraced the sacredness of our rituals and our words. He may not have understood everything, but he loved me and knew that I was happy. He always knew that my faith was important to me and I knew his was to him. We chose different paths but he believed, as I still believe, that we would be together again.
I reflected on all he was and all he brought to those who knew him. I remembered how much I looked forward to his visits and hearing the doorbell ring, then the door opening and the words, “It’s me, ” in his strong Spanish accent. So many times my husband and I sat and listened with such joy in our hearts as he shared the story of his journey from Puerto Rico as a young man to make his life better.
I look at my statue of Bast and thought how he loved animals, especially his cats; how very much he loved mine. I knew many times that he came to see the cats instead of me…not that he didn’t want to see me; I just understood that the cats came first.
All these thoughts and memories were opening the floodgates. I could not stop the waterfall of emotions and I sat by my altar with such sorrow that I thought I would surely never stop sobbing. This was not at all what daddy would have wanted. He might have said, “Carmen, I was here for 87 years and I was happy and vibrant! I lived a full and happy life and I loved and was loved. Remember me like that and stop the crying. Look to your faith and know that I am always with you.”
As I thought about him and what he would think of me sitting there sobbing my heart out I had to smile and stop the sobs. Now remember, I said above that ‘he might have said’. His actual words would have been, “Oh but ‘b-Jesus’ girl, stop it!” (B-Jesus was his favorite word-I never knew where it came from but it was his way of pre-empting his words when he was shocked, excited or serious about something) .
And that would have been all he had to say with that little sly smirk that I came to know, love and now miss so very much; with more smiles then tears. For that is what he taught me.
Even as he lay dying and I crawled into the bed beside him and held him as the strength left his body he made me giggle. He was shivering so and had many blankets over him. I wrapped my arms around him and said, ‘It’s ok daddy, you can let go!”
He just kept shivering and shaking and then I felt a hand on the top of my head. I was so overcome with love and a deep feeling of closeness to my father. I knew in my heart that this was a precious moment; one that I would never forget, one that I would treasure forever. Then, in an instant, I felt extreme pain. My father had wrapped my hair around his fingers and was pulling on it. I tried to untangle my hair from his grip, but he was holding on so tight…or was I.
“Daddy, let go…let go, you’re pulling my hair!” He kept his grasp firm.
Through my tears I decided to say the words that I knew had to be say; painful yes, but necessary; not just for him but for the both of us and our family as well. With tears streaming down my face, I held his face in my hands and looked at his age worn, love filled, wisdom lined face and said, “Daddy, you can let go! It’s ok. We are all ok. You can let go now!”
Although he hadn’t spoken for the past two days I always believed he could hear what was being said. Slowly he let go of his grasp and I sat up beside him and just stared at his face, so very peaceful. His breaths were slow and deliberate, yet I thought there was a little smirk on his face. In his way, he had the last word.
I smile thinking upon this. Was he letting me know that he was still strong? Was he playing the last joke? With being so weak, did he believe he was hugging me? Had he known that in less than twenty-four hours he would close his eyes forever?
I choose to answer ‘yes’ to each question because I truly do believe this and I know daddy is always with me…always in my mind, forever attached to my heart.
All of this, the smiles and the tears, sadness and the laughter is exactly what life is about. To know love, we will surely know pain. At Samhain, I allow the pain to come. I know that in a few moments the pain, sadness and tears will give way to the spiritual uplift of bright memories.
To me Samhain should be celebrated in exactly this way: ablaze with love, reverence and memories filled with so many more smiles than tears!
Copyright: Carnen Sanchez Bezzard - Nov. 2009
Mariposa de la Tierra
Location: Manheim, Pennsylvania
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