Monday, July 27, 2009

The Walking Wounded

This is a term that God has placed in my head when I think of the mother's among us who have had a child die (for what ever reason) I say this because it matters not how or why a mother is never the same. I can not speak to fathers because none have ever discussed with me or shown me where it hurts.

My biological sister buried and reburied a son, she has never recovered his death at age 22, she never will. Hazel who is near 90 years old tells me there is no healing for a mother who has had a child die, here son died. And Gertrude repeats this and Elease says she thinks of her daughter everyday. I have known these women but until we brought Julia to Seattle because she could not function after burying Susan her daughter who was suppose to come home from work but did not, killed in a car accident. For a month a community of women nursed Julia to a place that at least had her able to get up in the morning. As a Kenyan Julia was much more expressive about her pain and loss than we allow here in Seattle a place where expression and truth are frowned upon.

But in the work of Cultural Reconnection we are getting back to a more natural human dynamic. We have been taught the importance of wailing that is the way that everyone in the community knows that we are bringing this body home to be buried. I have heard wailing both audible and spiritual expressions of it. I awoke today and heard the emotional and spiritual wail of my sister friend Deborah Sullivan.

On Saturday she will join a special society of women - she will bury her 18 year old son Aaron. Like with my sister Beverly, and Julia, I am personally responsible to help this mother weather this storm. She is now among the walking wounded. We can do a better job of caring for these women. Unlike those who do not know the pain, they do not make a difference of how the child died, it matters not they are physically separated from someone they brought into this world and or chose to mother.

We need to learn how to communicate with the walking wounded. When we approach them with our own small maladies and complaints, they can not hear us. As one of the mothers responded when a person was full of reasons for something she was too overwhelmed to do "You did not have to bury your child did you?" enough said.

When a mother chooses to bring purpose to the death of their child in whatever way they find to do, they elevated to wounded warriors the champion of whatever cause they pick.

My husband's aunt displayed the deep spiritual relationship between a mother and her child. She is an older woman and for reason not discussed here has been separated from her children for more than 30 years, no contact at all. This has taken a toll on her. Only my husband and I know of her children and we do not mention them to her. One of her son's died and she had a total meltdown, would not eat, or sleep, she said she was waiting for her son to come to take her to lunch. This lasted for weeks until she was placed in psychiatric care and medicated back to a more functional condition. We still have not told her her son died, we do not have to tell her she knows. This phenomenon and accepting the spiritual relationship between a mother and a human she carried in her womb allows me to be careful.

In this time of youth violence, shootings and suicides we must learn to care for those who are left behind. In the caring of Deborah the newest mother to enter this very select society, I will learn more of this culture of women in the world. The young people among us who are grieving have established a culture for burying their peers. They are instructive and I am without judgment, my generation did not have the experience of going to funerals of our classmates and friends before the age of 40. I have tried to think of who of my friends have died and what age they were. My children's fathers both died at age 40 they were no longer in my life. One of my dearest friends died in her mid 50's too young another in her late 40's we were devastated. So what must a very young person feel? In the case of Aaron's friends some of them went enmass to get tatoos, something tangible they all will have by the grace of God have many years to remember they had a friend a brother for a short time in their lives. They will never forget "Giggles" Friends will come and go, but A.Scully will be right there on their arm and back. I am impressed by this way that they care for each other show emotion, they have not been jaded by the epidemic of youth deaths due to violence or accidents or whatever reason.

Not sure what I am suppose to do with all of this I see and feel, but as always I will stay open to the instruction from a high place and yield without hesitation. Today my instruction was to write and so I have. I am now off to feed the young and the hungry; grief has increased their appetite in a way opposite from how it impacts the older who lose their appetite; interesting.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Elders engage in Cultural Reconnection

Dr. Maxine Mimms who resides in Washington State, and Mama Sarah Obama who resides in Kogelo village Siaya, Nyanza Province, Kenya meet and form a relationship as elders. Dr. Mimms is a Washington Elder of Distinction and Mama Sarah is the grandmother of Pres. Barack Obama. This was an historic and documented meeting of two women whose lives have contributed to making a significant difference in their communities, their countries and the world.

Dr. Mimms has been a teacher to thousands and is the founder of Evergreen State College Tacoma Branch and the Maxine Mimms Academy. Both are located in the Hilltop community which is home to diverse working class and sometimes struggling families. Mama Sarah Obama, who raised the father of Pres. Obama continues to live in the village where she raised Obama Sr. and has contributed to the lives of thousands of Kenyans.

Mama Obama is Luo and prefers speaking her native language Duluo, while Dr. Maxine Mimms an African American speaks only English both clearly understood the joy each other had in this initial meeting. The two met during a visit to the Kogelo home of Mama Sarah while on the 2009 Cultural Reconnection Delegation mission, the meeting was an official visit which has resulted in follow up meetings and visits based on a mutual desire to bring together for mutual benefit the CR Delegates and the women of Kogelo village.
Posted by Picasa