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Found Sister(s)

In Healing Words, Loss, Grief and Hope, Real Life on December 2

 “Be what you are, of the earth, but a dreamer too.” 

Mary Oliver

2016 has been a tumultuous year. Tum-ult-uous. Just saying that word, feeling my tongue rock and roll around those syllables, fills my soul with a weird kind of acknowledgment. 2016 has felt 2 years long. And I remind myself that there are still 29 days to go. I reckon this year is what it feels like to have been struck by lightening.

This was the year of the Found Sister. I welcome December in to my heart as a big sigh, the end of a long-hard-hill-climb type of year. Personally – politically – personally.  It’s a complicated coil of belonging to myself, each other, this world. Yet my breath hardly comes back. I still hold it sometimes.

Death often leads to aftershocks and you never quite know when they are going to come. Or where from. Sometimes that tectonic settling is a dislocated shoulder being put back in to place, painful but very necessary. At other times the plates have settled in a new position and that’s where they’re going to stay, painful with a new horizon to navigate.

I’ve felt like a magazine that has been ripped apart, sometimes harshly, sometimes with love – like one of my cut-ups, starting off as a jumbled heap of feelings, emotions, explosions, difficult words. Month by month, the little slips and scraps of paper have been pulled out, beautiful questions, poignant callings, feral blessings, awkward truths.

cut-up

I’ve been blessed by the presence of earthly angels who’ve arrived in my life at the perfect moment to help me re-mix and find a new poem. Earthly angels who’ve picked me up from the rubble of old words. It is truth to say help comes from where we least expect it. I have learned to accept that help and support will not always come from where I most expect it. That’s ok. But it does come. And sometimes it can help re-shape you in ways you never thought possible.

“They were dreamers, and imaginers, and declarers; they lived looking and looking and looking, seeing the apparent and beyond the apparent, wondering, allowing for uncertainty, also grace, easygoing here, ferociously unlovable there; they were thoughtful.” 

Mary Oliver

I am a new poem. A Found Sister. A historical mash-up, reclaiming hidden worlds and buried words, mixing them in to a new alchemical cocktail complete with an umbrella and over-excited sparkler. I’ll have a cherry too, thank you. I have found new sisters too, a tribe of wholehearted, strengthy women who lift my soul so high I truly believe I could jump from cloud to cloud. Women need women who support women.

To honour this threshold year, December 2016 is going to be a time of  looking back – keeping a December travelogue, going through the journals I kept after Dad’s departure, through the moments (the good, the bad, the traumatic), through the online world I flirt in which sometimes feels ethereal, impossible to catch in my hands but where a kind heart passionately throbs. There are many open-ended and ragged edges that need further attention, that jab in my dreams, my waking days, behind my eyes. There is stuff that I want to leave behind in 2016 and stuff that I’ll take forward as my talisman for 2017.

It helps having a sprained ankle to slow me down this month. I thank Michael Jackson’s “Don’t stop till you get enough” and my (new)Found Sisters for this grounding-ness and all the goodness December wants to share with me.

Dedicated to all my Found Sisters wherever you are in the world.

(I’ll be diving in to #DecemberReflections2016 with Susannah Conway, always a thought provoking, joyful and heartwarming community)

12 comments... (add a comment)

  1. always a joy to read your words, Dal xx

  2. “Women need women who support women.” A necessary reminder in a world where the media is constantly comparing us, leading us to do the same! I’m grateful to you for having the strength to share parts of your journey, sometimes extremely personal parts – as I’ve said many times, you’ve been a complete inspiration to me, and I hope that when the time comes that I lose someone close to me, I will have the strength to deal with it as poetically (I know there are so many painful emotions that lie beneath) as you have, inspiring others in turn. <3

    • Dal

      Thanks so much Leanne, I really appreciate YOU and your words. This year poetry has been a total lifebelt. Thank goodness I found it or it found me! Reading, writing, inspiring. It has a way of directly infusing the fragile parts inside with light. Make poetry your friend and co-conspirator and you will be A-okay whatever happens. Xox

  3. Oh this is so beautiful, hopeful and heart-wrenching Dal…especially this: “I’ve felt like a magazine that has been ripped apart, sometimes harshly, sometimes with love – like one of my cut-ups, starting off as a jumbled heap of feelings, emotions, explosions, difficult words. Month by month, the little slips and scraps of paper have been pulled out, beautiful questions, poignant callings, feral blessings, awkward truths.” Sending love

  4. Sorry about your sprained ankle, but at least you have a good excuse to take things slow this month. Hope you are able to leave behind all that you want to leave behind in 2016 and begin 2017 anew. 🙂

  5. So beautiful. This is my favourite part:

    “I am a new poem. A Found Sister. A historical mash-up, reclaiming hidden worlds and buried words, mixing them in to a new alchemical cocktail complete with an umbrella and over-excited sparkler.”

    I’m looking forward to exploring found poems as a creative tool.

    • Dal

      Thanks so much Greta and I so recommend working with cut-up, such a alchemical process and a different form of writing. If you feel like doing so, please do share what you create! Excited for your cut-up journey. xox

  6. Prerna

    “Death often leads to aftershocks and you never quite know when they are going to come.” This. I have always wondered about if there is a proper way to grieve. (I am stuck in a lot of should and doing things the “right” way…) And then I read what you wrote and that’s exactly what I have felt. every time. with every loved who is no longer with us. .. Sending you much love Dal. xo

    • Dal

      Hi Prerna, it’s so re-assuring that others have felt in similar ways to us around loss. There is absolutely no proper way to grieve. Each and every person’s grief is like their thumbprint. The medical/clinical models have suggestions of ‘how to grieve’ and how long for and so on and as a society we absorb those ideas. So, if we grieve openly or talk about it too much or it goes on too long it becomes pathological. I say stuff it all and I’ll do it my way supported by gorgeous gals here, poets, bards, heavenly beings, meaningful songs, trees, friends, nature and an ever deepening connection with Dad. Do it your way sister. xxx

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