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feralfae

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About feralfae

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday January 26

Previous Fields

  • Date of Death
    7 February 2012
  • Name/Location of Hospice if they were involved:
    Wonderful Rocky Mountain Hospice, Helena Montana

Profile Information

  • Your gender
    Female
  • Location (city, state)
    Helena Montana
  • Interests
    Archaeology, art, alpine climbing, classical music, Common Law, exploring, adventure, poetry, reading.

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1,960 profile views
  1. Kay, I love that you are keeping yourself open to maybe another dog. Yes, thank you, I had a good weekend, beginning to decorate the house for Christmas, making organic bone broth from roasted elk bones, so I can make organic soups later this month. I woke this morning wondering how my life might have been if Mother had not been so ill. Not regretting or feeling sad or angry, but just wondering. For so long, everyone held out hope that she would get better. When I would go visit her, I'd be walking on eggshells not to upset her. I guess we all did. But really, her mood swings had nothing to do with our actions or with anything outside of herself. I think that is saddest of all: there was no way any of us could fix her. I remember my Dad crying once (I could hear him in his bedroom) after he came to pick me up one time from me spending a couple of weeks with her. I came home not talking at all, because I was afraid to say anything that might cause an upset, and so I just would not talk at all. It took a couple of weeks back at home with Dad before I started talking again. I think I was 9 0r 10 then. I developed my own secret alphabet so I could write notes to Dad and to myself that Mother could not read. (I am sure she could have figured it out without much trouble, though.) But every time I would go visit, I'd hope that she would be better, happier, more rational. A couple of times she was better, and I always wished that those times would go on and on. But they did not last long. So, in a way, I think I have been saying goodbye to her over and over again for most of my life. I am really happy she came in the vision. At least I know she is free of the mental illness and happy now. I think little messages to send to her, knowing that now she can read my mind and spirit. It is nice to have this other sense of her presence, happy and free, that I can carry with me now. *<twinkles>*
  2. LOL I'm not sure alligators care for their young once the babies hatch. I don't think we ever thought about the moms, really. Yes, I've been birding in Louisiana and there are a lot of alligators there! I imagine it is too early for you to even think about getting another fur family member. I've been thinking a lot about mother today, and who she might have been if her young life had gone better. She was sweet and very sensitive when she was feeling better. But most of the time, she was sort of like the mom alligators: not much if any attention. SO I lived with my Dad a lot. And my Grandmother. I wish I could have known my mother better. Time to get ready for tomorrow and the week. I hope you have a lovely week, and so glad to find you still here, Dear one. *<twinkles>*
  3. Kay, I can only imagine how tough it must be without Arlie there with you. Are you completely retired now? It is funny, but we weren't afraid of the alligators. Last time I was on the rez in Florida was 2003, I think, and the big 'gators were basking in the sun next to the road, which is the only elevated land for a ways. But when I was small, we used to look for the baby alligators because we wanted to take them home with us. But we weren't allowed to keep any of the babies we were able to catch. Mother would check our shoe boxes and any possible hiding places. My younger brother would hide them in his pockets, then in his shoes. We never managed to bring one home. I have no idea what we would have done with them, anyway. I don't know why, but the big alligators never even tried to bother us. But then, we didn't bother them, either. *<twinkles>*
  4. WIth my mother gone, I have also now moved into the place of one of the Elders. Now things must be considered from a different perspective. I want to write about my mother, and I wish I had felt more inside her mind the way I did with my Dad and my chosen mother. I knew how they would respond to most things. Not so with Mother. She was entirely unpredictable. That, in itself, made life feel out of balance when I was with her. Kay, I hear you. When I lost my dad, I felt abandoned, but with Doug, I felt cut in half. I know grief can be more or less acute. But I think it hurts just as deep no matter what. And there is no way out but through. So thank you for being with me on this grief journey, and I will remember rambunctious Arlie, the Dream Catcher killer—I am guessing it was full, and he knew you needed a new one. I am smiling as I type this, because he was a sweetie. Is your dream catcher supply secure now? I have a couple from the Lakota children if you need one. I know you have an empty, hurting spot in your heart. I hope you will have healing dreams. Also, I remember when you were doing that shoe designer work: did you get a pair of the shoes, and how are they? I remember my mother sitting at her desk and not talking to anyone for days while she worked on some algorithm or equation. She would eat frozen orange juice like it was ice cream. Maybe all the vitamin C helped her in some way. Maybe good for her brain. She loved it when we went to Florida one winter, drinking gallons of fresh-squeezed OJ every day. We would drive down, barely room because we had to take Christmas with us to our place down there. We had cousins on the rez down there. They had a cabin for us, with bunk beds and a radio, which I think ran on batteries. We had flashlights to shine out into the swamp to see the alligator eyes reflecting back at us. Good times. Mother was well for several months, and we celebrated by going on vacation, Four children and two adults and Christmas, headed for Florida for the holiday. That is my longest good memory of her, when we were together as a family for a little while. Thank you for listening. It is healing to sort out these memories. *<twinkles>*
  5. Thank you dear Kay. Yes, Mom was a great theoretical mathematician. I'm pretty good at it, as is my sister and one of my daughters and one grandson. I did not see "A beautiful Mind" because it felt too close to home. I don't think there is a link between math and mental illness, but I did when I was about 20. It is not the math that is crazy, certainly, but as a young adult, I was still scared that if I dove into math, I might lose my mind. When I finally dove in at about 30, working as a mathematician for ETS, I felt a new sense of freedom because the math did not "possess" me as I was afraid it would. But I can certainly get lost in math. I love how elegant it is, how the logic of math is there if we can find it as our algorithms come into balance. I think math was a refuge for my mother too, but for her, it was all tied into her sense of having no self, only the math. She would walk around speaking in math, and of course in my vision of her, she was writing equations with clouds. But in the vision, she was so happy and alive that I could tell she was free of fear. Please do keep me and my mother in your prayers, if you don't mind. I know I will find better peace with her death and her life, and that I must be patient while this process works as it will. *<twinkles>*
  6. Kay, I love the peace you have made with your mother's problems. I know the cause of my own mother's mental illness began when she was violently raped when she was 12. In those days (1930s) there was less than no justice on reservations: native police had no real power, and white police were not responsible for crime on reservations. It was soon after that when my grandparents moved off the reservation and back to our home place. There was little or no counseling then, and one simply survived. That Mother was able to later go to college and earn degrees in math was remarkable, but she was never free of fear. As she grew older, her fears grew, and she was eventually diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. But sometimes she was lucid and could function normally. She sometimes thought her own children were the enemy. It was not safe for us to live with her, and I am forever thankful for my Grandmother who cared for me when my Dad was away on business when I was young. You are right in your thinking though. I don't think most people mean to be hurtful or off course, but something happened before they were born or after that shook their balance. Something damaged their brain, or their spirit, or both. Thank you so much for sharing those feelings and thoughts with me: I am struggling now to reconcile all the memories and who my mother was with who she might have been, because I saw glimpses of her beautiful spirit sometimes. For years and pears, I resisted using my math talent because I was so scared I would go crazy (like Mother) if I dove into mathematics. It was certainly her refuge, but when I was young, I thought it was also the cause of her insanity. It is no doubt a gift of Grace that you and I should meet here and share this history. Not many people could have stated it better than you have, and the peace and acceptance of your words gives me a direction and a goal to find my own way to reconciliation of Mother's changing emotional states and personality. All these years of working for better laws, it was for my mom. I wanted her to feel safe. For a long time, I would send her news of what we were doing, of any progress, so she could feel safer. I was naive and thought if the laws changed, she would feel safer. This is what I was struggling to do even as she left. I wish she could have lived long enough to know the laws were getting better. I am spending a lot of time in prayer now, praying to be able to see her beautiful spirit clearly, and to let go of the dark memories of times when she was so confused and afraid. Thank you for sharing your clear and accepting perspective on dealing with our mothers' mental illnesses. Your words are a balm to my spirit. I believe that now they are safe in G*d's love. And I will keep sorting ... Much love and *<twinkles>*
  7. I went to get groceries this morning, because first Thursday is senior 10% off total bill at the grocer's. Sometimes, things just sing out to us. I was pushing my cart past the dairy case, when I noticed the Amish butter, wrapped in paper, big chunks of butter. It's good for making ghee, by the way. But just glancing at it brought back a memory from when I was 5 or 6. About 65 years ago. Back then, margarine was sold in plastic bags, with a little button of colour in the bag. The little button could be mashed into the white margarine, and with sufficient squeezing, the margarine turned yellow. I longed to squeeze the button into the margarine. I was with my mother, and she explained that chemically margarine as just a softer form of plastic. I didn't know any chemistry then. I picked up a margarine package several times so I could squeeze the little button and turn the white stuff yellow. Each time, my mother would gently take it away from me and explain again why we did not eat margarine. I had forgotten how kind and patient she could be when she was doing well. Just a random memory, but I am building a "memory book" in my mind of my mother when she was well enough to have me with her. I remember her patience, and her beautiful face, as she would bend down to take one more margarine package away from me, put it back on the shelf, and remind me again that we do not eat margarine. These random memories seem to be spilling out often now. As I let go of the terrible memories, I am hoping that these good memories will fill the spaces in my mind from where the sad memories are being released. It is as though seeing my mother writing with clouds was a reminder that inside, she was this beautiful, brilliant spirit who could be fearless and happy. I am holding these good memories close, cherishing that wonderful spirit that I seldom saw for most of her life. I hope the good memories keep coming. Marty and Kay, I want to say a special Thank You to both of you. Your caring and compassion and understanding are a beautiful solace for my spirit as I sort through all these memories and make peace with hopes that were never realized, and with sadness that I no longer need to carry. Thank you very much. I wonder where this sorting will take me. Thank you. *<twinkles>*
  8. Dear Norma, I am so very sorry for your loss. Know how hard it is, after the excitement and anticipation, to lose a baby. Years and years ago, I lost twin boys who were born too early. I've made peace with the loss, but I do remember how shattered I was to admit that we would never watch them grow up. We were blessed with two darling daughters who are now grown and I am a grandmother. Yet, the memories of those days after we lost the boys are still dormant in my heart. There will always be a spot of tenderness for them and for the loss of our future with them. Give yourself time, and be as gentle and patient with yourself as you can. You have been through a terrible loss, and it will take as long as needed to heal from such deep grief. Let those around you comfort you, and know that there is a beautiful little spirit who will always feel your love and caring. Take lots of time, and give yourself some distractions, such as a good movie or book when you feel ready, to ease the hours of grief. My heart goes out to you, dear Norma. With sympathy and love, *<twinkles>*
  9. Kayc, Thank you so much. I am so sorry to hear that you lost Arlie. Yes, you are right. I just wish she had been well enough that we could have had some better times together. And I know she is in a better place. When she came to me to show me how happy she was, she looked the way I remember her when I was a little girl, so alive and happy and lovely. All her years of mental illness took a toll on her, as well as on the family. I am happy to know you still have the dreamcatcher. And I too take the Bible at its word and I get comfort from that. Thank you for your comforting words and love. You are a dear. *<twinkles>*
  10. I guess this is going to be one of those days. I pulled out some photos of my mother from when she was graduating college, from when she received an award, and also one of all of us from when we visited her while she was institutionalized when I was an adult living in Evanston. In many ways, her life was quite remarkable. She survived a great deal of challenges, and some of the time, she functioned at a significantly high level. And although she was at times very confused and unable to live in society, she also had times when she was lucid, high functioning, and able to teach for two terms at the university level. I think her sporadic periods of being lucid often confused us, because of course we wish for anyone we love that they should be well and happy. But it never lasted. As a child, I would make little cards with flowers carefully cut, petal by petal, and then pasted to a sheet of paper, and write little notes to her. She had saved some of those, and I got them back in that same box with the photos and notes—the box she sent to me when she cleaned out things at 75. (A tradition in our family.) I look at those little cards now and remember how I did not understand why she would only stare at them when I would give them to her. She could not understand. As an adult, I sometimes wondered what her thinking process might be. How did she see the world? But now, I think she sees the world as a place where she used to be, and has now moved on to another, safer world. Most of the time, she seemed afraid and worried. Today, it would probably be called anxiety. I am taking her "visit" to heart, though, and I believe she is happy and free of all that fear now. And yes, I think she knows that now, at last, the laws may be changed and there will be justice. I hope so. *<twinkles>*
  11. My cousin called again early this morning. She keeps checking on me, and every time we talk, she shares more memories with me of being with us at the home place one of the summers we were all there, the whole tribe of youngsters, free and doing what we wanted other than chores. We talked a lot about my mother teaching us all to braid horsehair into ropes, or lariats. She made us be very precise about dividing the horse hair strands equally. I still have one braided horsehair hat band, but not from my mother. I wish she had been healthier. I'm glad she is free of all the pain of those long-ago memories. Sunday, I took out a little box of things she had sent to me about 20 years ago—cards, letters, photos, my childish art work and some early papers I wrote and sent to her, hoping she would be proud of me. For so long, I held out hope that she would get better. Her occasional periods of lucidity and teaching would give me hope, but then she would slip back into mental illness again. It was always a disappointment to go visit her when she was better, and then watch her slip away again. I am slowly coming to terms with that cycle of hope and disappointment, knowing now that there will be no resolution, but that at least she is free and happy now. I am writing this with tears in my eyes for all that might have been, but was not. I know it is going to take a while to reconcile all of this. *<twinkles>*
  12. Thank you everyone. She left on September 25th, after being very ill for a few months. We have held a traditional ceremony for her in private for members of the clan, and plan to have a memorial service next Spring. Thank you all so very much for your kind words. Thank you, Kieron, for your understanding. You too, Kaye. I must say a special {{{hugs}}} and hello to Kaye and Marty, old friends. My mother's generation was the last of our family born on a reservation. The best thing my grandparents ever did was move us back to our early land purchase in the foothills of the Ozarks, out of Oklahoma. I have a lot of sadness for my mother in many ways, but seeing the Order signed was a great spot of joy in my life and yes, I am sure she knows, and was trying to tell me when she came to me and wrote the equations with the clouds. She was a brilliant mathematician. Very troubled, but brilliant. I have some good (and bad) early memories of her, and I am focusing on the good ones. We used to plant trees together on the home place. Thank you again for your caring words. *<twinkles>*
  13. My mother died a while ago, after being previously ill for several months following a significant stroke. I know I will have more to share, but for today, I will say she was 95, had a troubled life due to worst child abuse for a young girl of 12. Since 1983, I have been involved in efforts to have laws on reservations strengthened to give tribal police the same rights as white police, to pursue criminal charges and arrests when off the reservation. Right now, the laws are very out of balance, and so there is not equal protection under the law. I am sorry she did not live to see the signing of an Executive Order creating Operation Lady Justice to reduce abductions and worse of reservation women. I am celebrating this Order as a gift to all from my Grandmothers. And especially from my Mother, who came to me while I was crying, and she was a laughing young woman, writing equations in the sky, clouds streaming from her fingertips forming the symbols. Equations. For equality. *<twinkles>* Peace to all our hearts, feralfae
  14. It has been more than a year since I posted here. In order my personal sense of importance, here are some things to report: The first item is that I am surviving this solo life, and some days are full of delight and joy. The beauty and richness of life continue to charm and amaze me. When I look around and see all the Life offers us, I am grateful to our Creator and feel amazingly lucky to be here and doing things I love. I still miss Doug every day. He is still with me in spirit, and I feel his loving protection and care around and in me hourly. His deep sense of integrity, his peaceful centeredness, his unconditional love, and his stunning brilliance all continue to inspire me as my life unfolds around me. My health has been pretty good, although I've had flu and shingles this past year. Overall, I am in good shape, and I continue with my archaeological fieldwork and research. But three months of flu and shingles have kept me out of my survey area (a wilderness refuge, where there is a lot of archaeology as yet unrecorded. I am recording it and also researching its origins.) and hiking around for miles and miles in a beautiful place which is becoming my other home. I have learned that while it often feels that my life ended when Doug left, I am building a new life slowly and carefully. I've had to both fall back on trusted and loyal networks and have the courage to reach out to find or form new networks. I am trying to be more mindful of my own need for self-care and moderation of my usual full schedule and active life. I am proud to say I have reached a place where I feel more capable of offering comfort and compassion to others who have had more recent losses. And I have begun to refer some people to come here, to Marty's site, for compassionate support as they begin this journey through grief. Only I am not sure we are ever "through" grief, or through with it. The pain softens, and seems to become a part of me, but now a part that is a strength, a support, reassuring me that I can survive and go on. Deep wounds of loss, of the tearing asunder of two joined spirits, begin to gently heal. One day we see or hear something of such beauty that we cannot help but smile, and suddenly we notice that our spirit is singing again, even if softly and briefly. If we are aware enough, we lean into that re-discovered moment of joy, and carry it like a little treasure that shines in the darkness of our grief. So, let yourself hold and cherish those little moments of joy that come along even on the saddest of days. They help us to remember that although we are walking through a shadowed valley right now, we are still capable of Joy, and Joy still exists in this new world we have reluctantly entered. Some day, not too far in the future, you will have a day of joy, celebrating your survival, your life, and the beauty and love all around, free gifts from our Creator. Let yourself enjoy every facet and particle of that joy. It helps to find your new balance when you can let in a little joy from time to time. You will survive, your will grow, you will become stronger. You will have a deeper, more compassionate understanding of loss and grief. And one day, you will direct someone else to this place of lovingkindness and compassion. And one day, you will return here to write your own words of hope, of survival, and of reclaimed Joy. Peace to all our hearts. Much love, FeralFae *<twinkles>*
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