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A Rose for a lifetime

Voa, Grandmother & Mother, holding her first child David.
Voa, Grandmother & Mother, holding her first child David.
a family member that is not me

Once again it is time to honor our mothers and once again I am thankful for the continued presence in my life of my mother: Rose Cole. Back in March I had a reading with Dana Shino and recently my mother sat down to listen to the recording of that reading with me. It was almost as frightening to invite her to hear my reading as it was to sit down and talk to her about sensitive matters from my past: ones she had previously been unaware of. During the reading I wasn’t thinking to myself “Watch what you say, because Mom will be listening later!” and so a few things came out that I’m almost ashamed of admitting. Things like: occasionally I look in the mirror and see my mom, and hate what I see.

So, as she listened to these words that spouted from my mouth, I tensed and waited for her reaction. I was pleasantly surprised by her laughter as she told me how just that morning, preparing to come over she had looked in the mirror and seen her mother looking back at her. She understands what it is like to see your mother in yourself, so she wasn’t offended that I disliked the feeling; I can only guess she has at times disliked the image of her mother standing in her place. In my Grandmother & Great-Grandmother I see strong women that aren’t examples of ‘classic’ beauty, but still uniquely beautiful. While I would never describe my mother, grandmother or Voa as “ugly” looking at myself I’ve often felt quite ugly.

You see, we’re Portuguese women (although I am personally only half) and as such we come from a long line of very, very, very strong women. Strong women who have built some heavy-duty walls to protect the Soul Treasures we bring into this world: literally coded in our DNA, handed down from Mother to Daughter over centuries. Our DNA also says we love to carry our excess weight in our midsections. It takes a lot of emotional work and physical activity for me to feel good in my body. Further effort is required of me in emotional work & spiritual growth, but the work allows me to look in a mirror and truly enjoy the sight of my own body; as well as the feeling of fully experiencing life through it! Life is too short to be negatively obsessed with something so temporary as a body; but neither should we forget that it is instinctual to experience pleasure in many forms through our senses.

I’m gradually learning to enjoy being in my body once again, because it is through our bodies we experience Earth; it is how we experience being Human. Recently I heard someone talking about what a privilege it is to live on this planet. Which was an interesting thing to ponder; given my present situation. The ‘stepping-stone’ I’m standing on currently in my path is one of getting in touch with my deepest, truest emotions and my right to feel them. Which coincides with the first anniversary of Eli’s death. So, as you can imagine I am having no shortage of emotional feelings revolving around just that one matter-before adding a lifetime of emotional wounds of various depths!

I recently opened up an emotional memory that was ready to be more closely felt, one that involved my Mother. Not surprisingly I re-lived the night Eli returned to Spirit. I asked Doug to call Rose, I knew I needed her support more than ever: she had heard everything Joyce had told me and she could remind me how to get through that moment. But, when she showed up she spoke in almost baby-talk tones and asked Eli if his ‘tummy was upset’. It wasn’t an instant rage, but the anger built up in me as it began to be clear to me that nobody else was ready to admit what we must have all known: He was dying. I knew it the moment Doug stepped foot into our bedroom and told me “He’s not doing so good Baby”.

But, I wanted someone else to be the first to say it out loud-not me. By the 3rd call to the vet I had finally committed myself to an angry outburst that Eli’s lungs were filling with fluid, he was drowning in his own body and there was nothing we could do to reverse his impending death. All we could do was provide the easiest transition: meaning we needed the vet to come ease his pain and possibly assisting in the process of the final separation between flesh and spirit. I lashed out at my mother for her apparent inability to be the strength I needed in that moment; for making me be the first one to say out loud “ELI IS DYING!”.

One of Dana’s tidbits of advice was that where all issues around Mother are concerned, I must ‘tread lightly’ and be very, very forgiving & gentle with myself when doing this work. The emotional work of breaking down the walls built to protect the extremely sensitive True Self buried within my soul. Remembering that night has been a good start for me: Rose understood, Rose supported, and Rose still loves me. I don’t know that I’ve ever apologized to her for that outburst, but once it was out in the open she stepped up to the plate and then some. For one short moment I felt all the fears, the worries of what to do with his body before Rose stepped in and returned a bit of the edge I’d shown earlier back at me. Reminding me that it was not the time to worry about any of that, Eli didn’t need to be part of that energy: I needed to support Eli and stop falling into despair. Eli had my full heart at the moment of his death because my Mother remembered the right things to say when I needed it most.

Today I spent my morning with my mom at Tagawa Gardens, shopping for plants, vines & trees to help waken up the land before my Hand Fasting next month. The other day I spent almost 3 hours lying in the sun near the center Alter stone in my stone circle. I find it hard to believe it’s been almost a year since Eli made his transition into spirit. I’ve begun to feel the desire to plant, especially near Eli, bringing color & life to his resting place: my Oasis. Today Mother gifted us the cutest Dragon that will be placed there, who has yet to be named but will be. I want to create a true Sanctuary from ‘real life’ in my backyard: someday I even hope to have a Sweat lodge of my own to share with family & friends.

There’s double motivation in wanting to plant attractive plants & flowers: to create a beautiful landscape for our yearly Hand Fastings & to create an Oasis of color, energy and relaxing sounds & scents. I want to attract Butterflies, Hummingbirds & Honeybees. I want some Pines to compliment the sound of the wind through the Aspens over Eli; and I want at least 2 that someday can support a hammock! I want a place I can go with Mom, with Mary and other friends & family members to visit & relax. I want a place where Doug and I can go to be alone, to talk of our day, to be outside on a warm summer night and create pleasant memories.

There have been some amazing moments in the past few months, especially since it seems the more simple the event, the more powerful the impact. I remember an odd character in a book I read many, many years ago who was obsessed with keeping track of the entire households’ bathroom habits: on a calendar he would mark symbols for whom did what each day. I have found myself wondering lately if I haven’t become almost as nuts about MY personal calendar! I have long been printing out my own monthly charts to record my work schedule: so I don’t forget my hours and Doug can always look ahead when planning things. At some point I began to keep track of the days I did Yoga or Belly Danced, and then I started keeping track of when I spent time with the horses or sang. Recently I’ve added my signature smiley faces (which is a habit I inherited from my cousin Diana) to my daily record keeping. What I’ve found is I can look back at the month & see patterns: when I spend time with the horses, sing, Belly Dance, and do Yoga on a regular basis, my mood is always lighter.

Although I have also realized it also gives me an idea of “Oh, this is a rough patch I’m experiencing”. I can see when I’m being challenged and I can consciously make the choice to be very gentle with myself and not expect too much to be ‘accomplished’. It means time for ‘inner work’: time to reflect, quiet down, slow down & breathe. Thus the 3 hours in the Stone Circle journaling, listening to the wind & birds, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the sounds of horses nearby. Funny how spending time outdoors, simply relaxing & opening your senses feels like a ‘mini’ vacation. Not so funny how difficult it is to justify 3 hours spent lounging on a cloak in the grass when there is always so much that needs tending to when you own property!

My point here is that all these amazing things that have been happening are very powerful and much of what is beginning to open & transform in me has tight connections to my line of Mothers, from my own mother down the line: one that descends far deeper into time than we can even fathom. 10,000 years ago a Grandmother held her first Granddaughter who one day held her first Granddaughter until one day Voa held me. I admit there are moments of slight guilt, slight sorrow that the line of my mother ends with me. But, it is not the end of the line with her Mother, as there are cousins having children: plenty of children!

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers & grandmothers: our living Mother Goddesses on Earth.


  • cousin Diana 5 years ago

    Very cool well said and heart felt...being a Mom doesn't always mean giving birth in the physical form..being a Mom is a woman that has the means to love another with unconditional love and admiration..strong enough to be there for them in the bad as well as glorify in all that is be uplifting and stern all within moments of another..a guide to the unknown a hero from the unexpected.. You see Shell because you have laid before you the idea's of strenght through your family before you is that, that you have to offer to others in a child form or even not..we are all children in growth till the day we pass and go forth to live again..yes it is true you have not procreated but that is not to say that you have not impacted some that know you well and imprinted your wisdom and strenght to carry that on to yet another generation..Your Mom has always and will be someone who I hold so near to my heart..she has been a woman I looked up to for many years..blessing's abound our Moms

  • mom 5 years ago

    You are such a joy to be with and near. Nothing you do could deminish how we are connected. Yes, Eli's passing was hard on all of us but you suffered the most, letting go. Never an easy transition.

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