I was at my brother’s ‘Celebration Of Life’ a week ago. As you can imagine it encompassed the whole range of emotion for me. Happy, sad, heartbroken, laughing, crying…the whole emotional enchilada.
As the celebration progressed the meaning of ‘Celebration Of Life’ began to shift for me. I went into it with the feeling that it was just my brother’s life we were celebrating (which made perfect sense of course) but began to realize that in fact what we were celebrating was… LIFE …all life…the gift of life…and the life of we the living, the survivors, who still have LIFE and can still celebrate LIFE. The need and the importance to acknowledge and celebrate life (even in the absence of those who are no longer with us) is important…it’s necessary. It’s a beautiful, precious and fragile gift we all currently have. I wear my brother’s ring now and I want it to be a reminder to celebrate life. And I will need reminders. I know that for sure.
The ring of my brother’s that I now wear is silver with a Thunderbird carved into it. I don’t know it’s history but his friend said my brother wore it a lot some years ago. It looks well worn and I faintly remember it on his hand. My good friend Francis who is First Nations Kwakwaka’wakw (who painted the guitar I posted about here) told me this about Thunderbird…"….the Thunderbird in my culture is the mythical creature that brings the spirit of our loved ones to their sacred places…" I wear it beside my silver Raven ring that Francis carved for me. She gifted me the Raven ring a week before I attended my brother’s Celebration. Moments after I put it on my finger I had a clear vision of standing at my brother’s Celebration speaking to the people gathered and all my nervousness vanished when I looked down at her ring on my hand. I had been anxious about speaking. The following day I messaged Francis telling her about my ‘vision’. She wrote back…“The Raven is often seen as a trickster, to me, he is a bringer of light, and for whatever reason, I have no idea, I thought this ring could be a symbol of your brother and all he was and all who you are in the world.”
At my brother’s Celebration I spoke very calmly and said everything I wanted to declare publicly about my brother and the love and friendship we shared. I’m grateful I did.
Let’s remind ourselves to celebrate as often as we can…