I attended my friend’s celebration of life this week. It seems she was a remarkable woman. I also found out at this ceremony that she was probably a survivor as well. There were about a hundred people at the ceremony, all of whom had been profoundly affected by her support and positive encouragement. The attendees included the mayor of the town she lived in, along with someone high up in the RCMP who attended in full dress uniform in honour of her. I did not know her in this way, or really well at all. I think she saw me as a powerful priestess rather than someone she needed to support and encourage, which I guess is a compliment.
She and I attended a fairly intense week-long spiritual retreat almost ten years ago, the retreat where she also met the woman, M–, who was to become her wife. M– is also my friend and we’ve stayed in touch. I attended their wedding a few years ago. I went to the funeral primarily for my friend her wife and was able to offer her something I don’t think anyone else could, some spritual witchy support. In a room full of friends of her wife, she was not necessarily among people who knew and cared for her. At least I am someone who knows M– in her own right. The problem with having an intensely social, popular wife is that when she is gone there is no-one. I’m going to try and stay connected with M–.
I’m still trying to calm my mind and get my life in order. I’d like to feel more centred, have more energy (I’m fatigued a lot of the time) and get the things I’m passionate about done. I’m still meditating once a day, which seems to be helping.
I was telling Butterfly today that many of the people I’ve told about my sword dance ceremony have offered to fly up there with me to attend. This is an incredible thing. Aside from my ACoA days, I’ve never had this kind of support from nonsurvivors, people seem to actually get it.
Once, years ago, perhaps 20 or so now, I was at an ACoA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) conference. 12 step groups were good for me, especially the ones with no cross talk, where I could share about what I was struggling with with the abuse without having to deal with people’s reactions, which seemed to be mostly a kind of horrified pity. I was sitting in a chair in an auditorium, listening to a speaker, and I guess feeling a then-rare moment of safety I seemed to feel only in 12 step groups at the time. I had a very strong feeling of being touched by a huge, benevolent hand that loved me, a tactile vision of God, which is what I called my higher power at the time. Later in the conference, I was speaking in front of a large group of two or three hundred people and I asked for something I wanted. I wanted, if they felt it, to hear people say they believed me about the abuse. All of them rose and said in unision, “We Believe You [my first name]”. I believe they meant it. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking of it.
Being visible as a survivor can bring a lot of awkwardness and stupid comments from people, but at times it can bring great gifts.