An adult and a child hold hands on the beach at sunset or sunrise. They are walking away from the camera.

30 Days of Hymns, the Sacred Triad, Manannan #4: family

Honor & Love upon You, highest Father of my Heart
How shall my actions serve You?
For You gave me a blanket
when I was cold.
A home
when I had none.
A shoulder to cry on.
A place to feel safe.

Hail to You, most beloved Parent!
You have kept my soul safe
in Your strong arms
You have honored and embraced
all my sides
the loving
and hateful
the conventional
and the spat-upon

You do not look at me with
eyes full of betrayal
for living my truth
for embracing all of myself
dirt-stained and blood-covered
You do not even reject me
when I am deep in the throes
of adolescent obstinancy
throwing tantrums and screaming obscenities
because my brain has betrayed me
again

You accept all facets
of who I am
for You know my queerness
my fluidity
does not shame you, does not reflect upon You
except as a beacon of love
for You know my rages
my anger
all my darkness–
You know it is not personal.

All my love to you, most graceful Dad!
With flowers in Your hair
and paint on Your nails
and a tool belt round Your waist
All my honor to You
as You dance the rigid binary into dust

As I stumble and fall in
mortal folly, hunting after a piece of grace
I search for how to do You honor
how to live my truth as an offering
I search for ways to make
You proud
of your daughterson witchling

And when I have children of my own, oh Lord
I will try to walk in Your footsteps,
though my feet may not fill your shoes
I will love and accept all facets of my children
even if they are broken like me
even if they defy the categories I have put upon the world
for I know I am not immune
to rigidness

I will give them a safe haven
I will make my home a sanctuary

I will tell them
their Grandfather is in the
sea and mist and rain
and that they only need to find joy
splashing in puddles
or finding shells at the beach
to know He loves them.

Oh Father,
let me open my heart in loving embrace
Let me expand my notions of family
to all who need
my compassion and caring.
Let me build a safe zone
within my walls
for my children,
and for anyone who needs it.

The broken, the lost
the queer.
The abandoned, the hated,
the alone.
Let me have enough love for them all.

Teach me to fill Your footsteps,
Holy Dad; let me walk in Your shoes
Open my heart
to the true meaning
of family.


30 Days of Hymns: The Sacred Triad

Ancestor Days: for Oma

Five years ago in August, my Oma, my mother’s mother, passed peacefully beyond the veil.

She had been sick for 4 years at that point. They didn’t find out it was leukemia until the only option was palliative care. Moving into hospice care was really astounding for her — here she could ask for pain relief, and she would receive it. Finally, after four years of hell — after four years of asking us to help end her life — she could be in peace, pain-free, in her final days.

I don’t actually remember the exact day she died. It was a whirlwind few days of getting the call, packing a bag, rushing to make the last ferry, driving down to Nanaimo, catching the early morning ferry the next day after a couple hours sleep on my couch at the place I was set to inhabit as soon as I could leave mom’s place, where I’d been watching things while she spent time with her mother at the hospice — all so I could see Oma’s body, and say goodbye before she was cremated.

Death isn’t real to me until I’ve seen the body. It was true when Blue died, and it was true for Oma too.

The grief came in waves, weirdly hitting me at inappropriate times. The truth was, we’d been grieving her for four years already. She’d come so close to Death’s door so many times in those years that we weren’t really convinced it had actually happened when it finally did. The Thanksgiving after we sat, sadly with Opa around the table, and I kept expecting Oma to wander down the hall in her short-stepped walk, remarking on the good smells from the kitchen, and how lucky she was to have a daughter who would cook for her.

I still sometimes expect to hear her voice in a phone call. And today, I got the urge to call her and wish her “Happy birthday, Oma!” She would have been 98.

In her final hours, she kept asking my mom if she’d been a good person; if Mom thought she would get into heaven. We didn’t really realize how deep her religious streak went, as she’d sort of removed herself from religious identity once she met Opa (a staunch anti-theist). “Of course you will, Mam, of course,” Mom replied, and she was 100% honest. We both believe that. Whatever the afterlife holds for our non-Protestant souls, if there even is one, we truly believe Oma made her way into heaven, and that she truly deserves the happiness that afterlife brings her.

Whatever your heaven is like, Oma, may it have lots of chocolate and books (including mine, which was published a year too late for you to see it — I know you’d be proud). May you be able to keep up on the achievements of your loved ones, and may you stick your chest out with pride in that way we always found incredibly embarrassing but also very endearing. May your pains, physical and emotional, be eased; may you be reunited with those you lost. May you sit with Gerry and Jake and Gerry’s first wife and Ariel and play Scrabble or Mah Jongg, and may the rules be adjusted so everyone can have a good time; may you laugh and talk about your long lives together, and apart, and may all jealousies be eased; may death bring friendship in unlikely places. May you be greeted by Ariel and Jake when you arrive, and may you get as many chances as you need to tell your daughter how much she means to you; may you get as many chances as you need to tell Jake everything you wanted him to know.
And if your other loved ones get different afterlives, may there be a good transit system so you can all visit each other.
An animated gif of a candle flame in darkness.
Image by Ramon de Souza. Used under a Creative Commons license.

I love you, Oma. I will never stop missing you, or thinking about you. I hope you know that, and I hope you know how much you inspired me, and how I wouldn’t be as successful as I am if it weren’t for you.

For you, Oma, on today, your birthday, your Ancestor Day — for you, I say my prayers to my Lord Manannan, that you are watched over and loved, and kept cherished and safe, in death as we tried to for you in life.

A white wolf-husky with blue eyes stands on a sandy beach. She has brown coloring on her ears and flanks. She is panting and looking directly at the camera. It appears as if she is smiling.

Ancestor Days: for BlueSky

10 years ago my dog BlueSky died. She didn’t die on Canada Day, but I was away and didn’t get the message until Canada Day that it had happened, so that’s the day I associate with her death. That’s her ancestor day.

Today is for Blue. Today, I know she’s in a happy place, beyond the rainbow bridge; I know Manannan took her gently, and I know He watches over her still. I’m grateful for the time she spent with us, even as I lament how short it was.

May you always have time to run and play; may you live in an eternal Hosmer’s Grove. May there never be fireworks or loud noises, or people carrying big sticks. May you be safe from all harm. May you have all the chickens you can chase, and may you live blissed out on your favourite treats. May you always find your way home.

An animated gif of a candle flame in darkness.
Image by Ramon de Souza. Used under a Creative Commons license.