Yesterday was quite a day.
You see, Rev. Missy and I are hosting her hearth-sister, someone I've met only once, who has traveled from Ohio to Colorado with her late-daughter's remains, that they may be enshrined at a sacred Fire in a hand-made memorial urn, forged by a dear friend, and local blacksmith.
Only meeting her once, I'd have never expected her to hand me a beautiful box containing her late daughter, asking me to be the one to transfer her into her final resting place in the orb-shaped urn. Dumbfounded, I fumbled for something to say... and I managed to find the right thing:
I sat for a while with this strong woman, holding what's left of her child, boxed in her hands. We spoke of arrangements, and I told her how the rite would unfold. Gods be good, I was able to hold space for her during a loss so dreadful, that I cannot begin to imagine knowing it's depth. How could I? I have no children of my own, and up to now, I've never had a partner with children.
After washing and purifying, I set to the task of filling a small memorial locket with some of the cremains for the bereaved mother, and then getting the rest of this child into the urn. It was slow. Preternaturally slow… a moment of time suspended between the mundane and the miraculous. One interred a sense of peace came over me, knowing that this child had finally come to be in a safe place. I can’t explain why… it just was.
The time for the rite came, and it was beautifully filled with beautiful words over a horn across our Fire, tears shed from unimaginable grief, and a remarkable omen: Othala, Gebo, Fehu.
As is custom of our host's home, we filled the horn again and began symbel. Such things were spoken that to write them would cheapen them... some things are meant to be spoken and heard, not read.
Once things were said and done, I adjourned to our host’s kitchen, where I stood quietly, staring at my hands. Reflecting on my vocation, I was mesmerized by my hands… hands that earlier in the day ran chainsaws, swung axes, and weirded hammers as we prepped wood for a weekend camping retreat. Were they worthy of being gently dusted with the remains of someone’s child? Was I worthy?
Funny thing is, that doesn’t matter what I think. I was seen by the only person that mattered as the right person for this role. It was a blessing and honor to help in such a deep, meaningful way, tying my wyrd and fates to this moment.
If I’m to have bone-dust on my hands forevermore, may my efforts bring as much healing and peace to those in need.