The ritual I had on January 24th was important to me because it moved through me some feelings that I didn’t know were stuck.
My friend proposed it, when I sent a mass email to ask for help around my mom’s death anniversary. My friend is elsewhere, the one I know who seems most connected to the dead. He had a performance art / Works of Mercy / street service / occult experiment he did called The Future Is Calling–Pick Up the Phone where he would help passersby on the street connect to another realm.
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Also he has an altar to the dead, and he showed me once, on a polo. I still remember it, and a list of people he loved who had passed. That inspired me to make my own list, maybe half a year ago.
Yeah, this is an important friend! I trust him. A great person to help me ritual about my mom’s departure as a living person, and how I’m doing around that.
We met on facebook messenger because zoom was failing. He had received some charcoal that day. I read a poem about my mom that appears in functionally ill 27. It’s called “what Mom wanted.”
The poem mentions my mom loving Van Morrison and thinking he’s sexy. So my friend played a song by Van Morrison–“Into the Mystic.” I heard it, as I lit my candle and my friend lit the charcoal.
“I’m playing this Van Morrison song…” my friend said.
“Yeah, I can hear that!” I said. It was one of her favorites and very appropriate to the ritual. About transcendence, and not needing to fear it. About pleasure, which Mama was so good at.
I sang the first few minutes of a song in Bengali, “Kon Alote.” It has a beautiful meaning.
I remember when it was a new song at our ashram, we had trouble getting the translation right. Swami asked me and my ex to fix the translation. So when I read the words in English to my friend, he did not know know that the translation was partly mine. A group effort.
I showed my friend the photos–me and Mama on my birthday in 2019 on this bench at the apple tasting place. She gave me a kiss. I was wearing my Totoro shirt and green flower camo pants. She wore a bright pink shirt. I look very big beside her; she was losing weight from the chemo.
And then a pic of me and my parents in 2015, on my birthday, at the apple tasting place. I think it was 2015! My dad died in 2016.
My friend closed his eyes and prayed a prayer. We talked a little, and I cried a little. He showed me an orchid blooming bright pink, phalaenopsis, near the BBQ pit he had the charcoal on. He showed me a special beautiful cat, Dorothy, who is named after his grandmother.
“What are her colors?” I asked my friend.
“Her colors?” my friend asked.
“Yeah!” I said.
“She likes purple…” my friend said.
“No–like the colors of her fur!” I said.
“Oh!’ my friend said. He listed brown, black, tan. She is thin and feisty, feral, moody!
We mentioned what Mama liked for BBQ. My friend had not heard of tri-tip. I told him about where I come from–vaqueros, cow stuff, the small pink beans. When I was a kid, the huge weekend BBQs downtown run by the charities, like Elks.
“She was so good at having fun. You would have loved her,” I said to my friend. But I got the sense–my friend is loving her now, the memories I have of her, the gifts she gave to me. The spirit she is, born to spirit.
Ritual is a great idea, for a one year death anniversary. The feelings that had been stuck inside me moved, with my tears. I felt something new. The chill kindness of my friend facilitated that. I said he should be a death doula or pujari. Maybe he thought I was kidding. Well, he was those things for me, that day.
Thank you to friend, Ming, Mama, everyone who supported me that day, checked in, visited, brought flowers, food. I love you with the love my mom taught to me. So you can thank her.