A while ago I stated that I was done with ritualized grief. Done with the funeral, done with spreading ashes in all 6 places that Jim requested. Done remembering the 12th of every month as a sort of anniversary. I was through all the firsts, and onto the seconds. The second holiday season, the second ski season, the second river season is just shaping up, and soon the trails on Moscow Mountain will open up for running and biking, without Jim on them. So today, when Tom from PCEI asked for some mementos to place in the wall of the groover, my instantaneous response was, “no…I have nothing left, I’ll ask Jasper.” Well, Jasper did have something, and with a bit of further thought, I decided I did, too. So…inside the walls, to be buried in concrete tomorrow at noon, lie:
- One of Jasper’s ripple stones from HOBY. To remind us that we never know how our actions will affect others, and that the ripples continue outward.
- A marble. I have completely lost mine this year….and my friend Janice gave me one to begin to restock my brain. I like being a wee bit off my rocker, so decided I could survive without any marbles until I begin to dig in the garden again this summer…where I always uproot a few. This house used to be a daycare, and marbles appear out of nowhere every Spring.
- Emerald’s thank you letter written to PCEI after a 6th grade nature walk. Her penmanship was perfect, her grammar divine…and she signed her name in cursive, complete with curly cues and stars. Now that wee one is almost 21, getting her degree in Environmental Studies with a non-profit certification on the side. PCEI’s ripples spread wide, indeed.
- A turkey feather, also given to me by Janice. To remind us to be humble. This groover may bear my name, PCEI may have worked tirelessly to fund raise for it. Our rastra dudes really know how to build with legos on steroids. But really, all we are is a bunch of turkeys. Fun loving, good-hearted turkeys.
As I walked away from PCEI this afternoon, I thought a little more about rituals, and their place in our lives. I once read that we use ritual as a way to connect with God, the divine, the universe….whatever you want to call it. I have some of my own quiet rituals. I like a few minutes to myself in the early morning hours. I drink coffee. I unload the dishwasher and am grateful for it. I read, which is a throwback to my grandfather. I get the kitchen ready for breakfast. This quiet time has been mine since the kids were wee. No one else is crazy enough to get up at that hour. Since Jim died, I’ve added another private ritual. I awaken almost every night between 3:30 and 3:45 am. This used to disturb me, so I decided to consider it the time that Jim pokes me, checks in, makes sure I am OK. Now it is a source of comfort. I usually laugh a bit…say hi and then drift back off until the alarm goes off.
Yesterday, I was telling John about a dream I’d had in which the setting was the old Micro Movie House. I could not remember the name of the cult movie Jim and I used to see there, through I could describe it well. He knew what I was talking about, but could not recall the name either. Ain’t aging grande!? The dream was typical of the ones I have had lately…pointing out the dual nature of my life, without really offering any solutions. Last night, I got the usual 3:45 am poke in the ribs. I looked at the clock and said hi. I also said, “If this is really you, I could use some direction here, give me something good before the alarm goes off in 45 minutes”. And, I promptly went back to sleep. I woke up to Josh Ritter….with Rocky Horror Picture Show…on the tip of my tongue. Not much of a direction, I still don’t have a road map for my life. But, I awoke with a laugh and a smile….and perhaps tapping into that joy is what ritual is all about.