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feralfae

Hi. It's me again. I recently lost my mother.

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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

 

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I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother...I lost my own mother five years ago, she also lived into her 90s, although she had stage 4 dementia.

It sounds like your mother did all she could to overcome her childhood, and only hope she can see it signed with her spirit.  My George was also Native American and put a stop to his dad's abuse of his mom when he was 16 years old.  

Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman.  We never stop missing them.

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2 hours ago, feralfae said:

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.

That's too bad that she didn't live to see this very important legislation.  The violence against Native women is under-reported but widespread, but people are finally starting to become aware of it and actually talk about it, which can only help.

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So good to see you here again, dear one. We miss your *<twinkles>* (and sprinkles of fairy dust) as well as your beautiful writing.❤️

I'm glad your dear mother came to you in such a magnificent and meaningful way, and I'm sure she is extremely proud of her daughter's efforts to bring about the passage of this Executive Order protecting reservation women. Blessings of peace and love from our hearts to yours . . .

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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>* 

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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>*

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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>*

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25 minutes ago, feralfae said:

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>*

I think so, too, dear one. ❤️ 

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feralfae,

Over the years I have met some dear people here, and you were one of the dearest.  I still have the dreamcatcher up that you sent me as a replacement after Arlie chewed up George's (he was also Native American).  Now both my George and Arlie are gone, my mom and sister too.  I know how it changes our lives when we lose yet another one.  Yes your mom is finally happy and free and I well imagine they have an awareness of what is going on here.  I know the Bible says there's no more tears or pain, so perhaps they only know the good or have a better perspective for handling it all, I don't worry about that, I take it at it's word, they're happy and I'm glad for that.

In my recent loss of Arlie I have cried buckets of tears...but not for him, for me, for I miss him so much.  I've written memories of him in loss of pet section in addition to my journey through his cancer and subsequent death.  But to me he will always be very much alive, in my heart.  And I know that's where you hold your mom.

Sending much love and hugs to you, dear one.

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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>*

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On 12/3/2019 at 10:39 AM, MartyT said:

❤️  ❤️  ❤️

 

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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>*

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Thank you for sharing your memory of your mom gently explaining "why we don't eat margarine."  That is precious.  

My mom had a lot of problems...so much so that she was very abusive.  I know she wasn't right, and that tormented her (and many of us as well) her whole life, but I believe she is "made right" now, and is the person she was created to be...sometimes things just go horribly wrong, whether in formation or birth, or throughout their lives.  I no longer question why she did this or that to us, I just see her as someone who was horribly out of control, it was no easier for her than for us, probably worse actually.  But she had her soft moments, her good qualities, I don't think anyone is 100% bad or wants to be, but a mixture of both strengths and things to work on, even if they don't realize it.  Right now my mom is free at last, and I look forward to the day we will be reunited and getting to know the person she was created to be.  It has helped to be able to let go of the past wrongs and see that other side of her for what it is.  I sense much of this in your writing as well and just wanted to share that with you.  Sometimes people, even our parents, don't come wrapped in perfect packages, but are more complex than that, and sometimes it helps to remember these little things that mean so much...like your mom writing in clouds, or explaining margarine.

Love and hugs to you!

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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>*

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My mom was extremely paranoid, and got no help for it until she was stage 4 dementia, and that help consisted of medication by then.  Her problems were life-long, according to my aunt, even as a child.

My mom was always "lost"...I used to hold out hope that she'd become a Christian...only to find when she did at last, she was now "crazy for the Lord." She knew no balance.  At last she is at peace.

I remember watching "A Beautiful Mind."  It had a profound effect on me as he was brilliant but beset with dementia...I can understand your fear, I really can.  I don't view his math as crazy though, perhaps a bit over the top, but he was amazing, it's like entering into a different world.  I'm not brilliant enough to keep up, but oh that I were!  But really, entering into someone's dementia world is a lot like that...it a different world, one of acceptance and not fighting it.  I learned so much through my mom's journey with dementia.

Love your *<twinkles>* it's good to hear from you again.  Yes, prayer helps tremendously, I've always loved that about you, your spirit, your way of looking at things, your serenity.

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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>*

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You certainly have my prayers.  Perhaps someday you will be up to watching "A Beautiful Mind," it was very good.  And a true story.

12 hours ago, feralfae said:

 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.

It has seemed to me that having gone through the worst loss of my life has helped me in knowing what to expect in the grief process, but it sure didn't lessen the grief with losing Arlie any, we thoroughly go through our grief, no matter how many times a new one hits.

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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>*

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8 hours ago, feralfae said:

 Is your dream catcher supply secure now?

Yes, there is no adventure some dog to pull it down this time.  Sure missing my boy though...

Wow, can't say as I've ever shined a light on alligator eyes!

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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>*

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I retired over six years ago.  I'm glad I had that time with Arlie, and that I had a fence built for him, I wish I'd done it when I first got him.  I'd love to have a sign made that says "Arlie's Fence" to put up in his honor, because this is and always will be his.

I'm surprised the mom alligators didn't get after you for trying to sneak off with one of their babies.  Somehow I never thought of them starting as tiny!  I've never lived around them, but my little sister used to live in LA, so I'm sure they were plentiful there.. ;)

 

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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>*

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I'm not sure I'll get another dog, I just don't know.  I guess I'll know if I see the right one, so far, nada.

I hope you have a good week as well!

 

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