The third anniversary of my mother's death was Thursday -- Oct. 30 -- and according to pagan tradition, the "veil" between the worlds thins on Oct. 31, so the spirits of those who have left this earth are closer to us.
I spent much of the day thinking about her, about those last hours of her life and her peaceful passage into the next dimension. While I miss her, the raw grief has diminished. Time heals. And I've also come to better accept death as a part of the life cycle, I suppose.
While I am spiritual, I'm not sure what I really believe about spirits. I have, however, felt loving spirits around me from time to time. Those presences have comforted and helped me through some difficult moments. If it's just my overactive imagination, I don't care -- it's sort of whatever works.
There are churches who believe in "spirits" and explain bad things or actions as a "demon" being in you -- actually, we had that experience not long ago when a mental health professional attributed a demon with the source of unhealthy behavior. THAT was scary to me, frankly -- not because I believed there was a demon, but because the professional blamed the demon for inappropriate actions -- as if you can absolve yourself of responsibility for your actions because of a demon?
But the title of this post is Passages, not spirits. I'll leave more of that to another day.
And we are in November -- our birth month, the transition month from autumn into winter, of losing the leaves as the earth prepares to sleep for some months. I like November. I like the rain, the blustery winds, the promise of hot chocolate and cider, the preparation of feasts for Thanksgiving, the sharing of lives and gratitudes.
I don't like that we're seeing lots of ads for Christmas already, and that seems to be the focus for any retail store. This month is the gratitude month, and I like to savor it first. Christmas will come in all its gimme-gimme-buy-spend-expectancy all too soon.
Both Tony and I have now had cataracts removed from our eyes, and we each see better than we have in years -- me since early childhood (if even then), and him for at least 20 years. While I know it is not so easy for everyone, we are tremendously grateful for renewed clarity of sight. I still cannot get over the fact that I wear neither contacts nor glasses at the moment, other than occasionally using cheaters to see fine print. Yes, I'll probably have something for driving. But for normal sight -- especially for computer work -- I see better than I ever have without any correction. That is truly a miracle, and I am grateful to doctors and nurses who performed the operation, and for those who have worked through hundreds of years to perfect this procedure.
Election Day is tomorrow. We all voted by mail this time, and will watch along with the rest of the country to see what happens tomorrow. I confess to being very nervous that another election will be determined by hanging chads and Supreme Courts. And while I can't wholeheartedly support either candidate, I believe Obama may offer my generation better healthcare options than McCain. And I'll tell you, that's a HUGE factor in our lives right now, as it is for the millions of other babyboomers as we count down to Medicare and Social Security.
We entertained my ex and his new wife this weekend -- they were here to see our daughter, and it was a very pleasant visit. Actually, his wife, Susan, was a high school student of mine when I taught in a tiny Missouri town back in the early 1970s! I liked her very much then -- she was a good student, loved literature (I taught English), and enjoyed analyzing words. We also knew her in college -- she attended the college where my ex and I both worked at that point. They reconnected last winter and it was practically love at first sight. I'm very happy for them both, and I still like her very much. And I'm grateful that he and I are friends and that we both want to do the best we can for our daughter.
Each 24 hours is a gift: it is all we have, this moment, this day. We get to determine how we spend it, what we do in it, how we look at it. In this day we get to choose if we want things to remain the same, or if we want to take steps to change a part of our lives that we don't like. Change - meaningful change -- doesn't happen in just 24 hours (generally anyway), but we can take a step to help move it along the path. That's what I tell my daughter. That's what I tell my brother. And that's what I tell myself. Every day.
What do I want to change? What can I do in this moment, this day, to help that happen?