I wrote this over a week ago, on 7/18. Over the past week, while on vacation and out of internet contact, I have written all of my entries and saved them for proofing and posting upon my reemergence in the “real” world. I’ll try to space them out so as not to bombard you with TBW Files.
As I sit on I65 in bumper-to-bumper traffic on my way to Mexico via New Orleans while listening to 80s music, it occurs to me that I should learn to blog from my Droid.
It also occurs to me that I should check in on my thoughts concerning wakes and funerals. I actually started thinking about all this long before folks started dropping like flies around me.
Not quite a month ago, Neferet posted a “rant” about Pagan funerals. She really made my brain work that day; it’s been ticking ever since. Especially since I have been attending to death with such frequency of late.
My comment was this: “. . . passing ceremonies for those who die suddenly. . . . are generally (like wakes and funerals) for the living, so that we might have some sort of ‘closure.’ For those who are elderly or infirm and travel the longer road to death, we do an ‘easing’ ritual while they are still alive. One that is intended to prepare the body to die with the least pain possible and to help the spirit/mind to make the cross beyond the veil less traumatic. . . . [As those we know and love pass over,] we prepare for and celebrate [our own] next incarnation, but with the understanding that there is a bit of a ‘layover’ in oblivion (some call this Summerland – I don’t). You are right to say that we celebrate the path they laid for us. Let me be clear, Pagans do mourn the passing of those we love – it’s not all Irish Wakes and ring-dances. We celebrate the life of the one who has passed, we are joyful for their rebirth, and we grow from what we learned at their passing. But growth, we must admit, is often painful.”
The growth I have recently undergone comes in the guise of perspective. You see, TBW had previously put all her eggs in one basket, so to speak. There was this “one thing” I felt I had to work out in this lifetime lest I repeat the whole damned thing again in the next incarnation. I know that I know that I know that I’ve faced this idiomatic demon in my past and I couldn’t stand the thought of reiterating it again. Unfortunately, this means I was neglecting some of the more rewarding parts of my life. Given my multiple recent “cosmic memoranda” that tomorrow is not a promise and that folks slip past without any given notice (and certainly without our consent), it occurs to me that I should be more thankful for the healthy parts of my life and let the chaff fall to the wayside.
In that spirit, I thought I might share with you a few of the folks I love, and folks who – for some inexplicable reason – love me back. Maybe it’s a bit of maudlin setting in after so much personal loss. Maybe it’s just time.
To begin, I won’t mention The Bad Eldest, The Bad Son, or The Bad Baby. Obviously, I love my children. I also won’t mention my parents, my siblings, or my nieces and nephews. That’s a whole ball of wax that anyone with a family-of-origin understands is anything but straightforward.
But I will tell you about The Bad House-sitter, The Bad Barista, The Bad Catholic, and The Bad Newbie (and by “Bad,” I mean “Awesome”). These are the folks I trust with my house-keys, my animals, my children, and the combination to my safe. I’ve told you about them before; these are my hot, politically challenging Christian friends who regularly rock my socks, love me unconditionally (and not just because Jesus told them to), and reinforce my belief that it is not the path but the traveler that matters.
I also have this long-time friend, Lizzie, a supreme brainiac with a loving heart and a magnificent sense of humor. Along with being completely proud of Lizzie, I often gauge my decisions based on whether or not Lizzie would be proud of me.
Then there’s My-Mikey. Somehow Mike can tell from just a “Hello” whether his next question should be, “What, when, and where are we drinking together next?” or “Whose body do you need buried?” And he would bury one for me too. And then turn it into eco-friendly compost.
Baby Mae, Norma Jean, Boo, and Bing are all women who, under the pressure of a midterm crisis or a family crisis, despite their tough exteriors, have given me the great honor of falling into my arms and letting go just long enough to find that grain of strength to pull themselves together and face another day of life’s shite. None of these women were dealt their hand from a remotely fair deck, yet they manage to bet to their limits without ever playing a victim card. Now, there’s someone worth playing poker with, no? And my greatest joy in life is being worthy of their love and respect. I think their greatest joy is lasagna night at The Bad Witch’s table.
One of the most beautiful women I know is Miss EC. She and her husband are the ones who agreed to be my children’s guardians should there ever be a need. Now, that, my dear reader, as sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti, is the truest friend. She is drop-dead-gorgeous on the inside as well as the outside (the woman looks like she was carved out of cream cheese). I’m not kidding. This is not one of those – “she has a great personality” moments. This woman is as near a perfect human being as I can imagine. Perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect pitch, size 4, genuinely kind, brilliant, funny, runs the children’s musical theatre summer program, and is in-absolute-love with her husband. If I didn’t love her so well, I think I’d hate her on principle. Though you’d bet your last dollar that she was pampered and protected through childhood, her life has not been easy. But, alas, victimization didn’t look good on her either, so she went with the classic twin-set of grace and generosity. I love that she knows me completely and loves me anyway, trusts me with her precious children, and mentors mine from time to time. Miss EC is always my voice of reason.
One of the most brilliant women I know is Mama. I envy her shoes, I miss her company when we’ve been apart more than a week, I value her way with words, I long to install that immeasurably-awaited Jager-pull in our communal opium den, I recommend her novel(s), and I don’t know where I’d be without her wry humor laced with deadly compassion. Mama is never my voice of reason. Thank the gods. Here’s a highball.
P/SB, you know I love you more than my luggage. Believe it or not, you keep me sane. I’ve met some great people due to TBW Files over the past few years; I don’t know how to thank you for turning a cyber-friendship into a real friendship. Well, not without over-sharing, har-har.
Not quite a year ago, I had the profound luck to become friends with Lady Ishara (& Celt Wiccan). After a brutal witch-burning, I was just toying with the idea of coming out of my witchy shell again and working on community building (after receiving a series of emails from about a 50 mile radius – prod, prod). It was as if the cosmos sent these two along to give me a swift kick in the arse. Over the past eight months or so, Lady Ishara and I have seen a lot of personal ups and downs and we have learned to call each other “sister.” Wherever it is that this next segment of path leads, I will be always grateful for having had her by my side.
Now, hold on to your hats. I have this one friend, KB, who has taken more shite from more corners than I have ever faced in my life. Her aggressors make any amateur volleys lobbed at TBW look like pea-shooters. Yet, she is perpetually poised with pistolas ready. We couldn’t be more different and I think that’s what we love best about us. I am honored to call this woman my dear friend and I take her advice to “give’em hell” very seriously. KB looks out for me and supports me like a Mama Bear. I’n’t that right, Mama Bear?
My most recent batch of students, Sele, Ryan, and Teak, are about to finish their first year-and-a-day. Anyone who has been a mentor or who has had a mentor knows what these youngon’s mean to me. Anyone who hasn’t – no words can convey it.
Same goes for Bertie, The Late Brother Preacherman, and The Late Mama Lisa.
You’ve heard me talk about The Bad Bestie. She and I go back to the Reagan administration. She and I explored Paganism and “the paranormal” while we were still listening to Prince and wore Fergie bows in our hair. What can I say that over a quarter-century of friendship doesn’t already convey? “I love you,” just doesn’t cut it: “I’m hopelessly devoted to you” might get a little closer. And The Bad Bestie’s husband, also a friend of 25+ years, has been a great source of love and support too. Though I may always owe him a groom’s cake, he never seems to reach his limits of the BS he puts up with on my account. Now, that’s devotion. (Either that or he didn’t know he had a choice.)
My longest friend, Blackbird, is also my kin. It’s just plain good luck to have someone who shares your DNA (and admits to it in public) and has known you through “that awkward stage” and yet loves you. Learning that we have the same spiritual proclivities was – well – a relief to tell the truth. I always said that there was something to the way Mom raised me that made me Witchy. I’m glad to not be alone. (I say we gang up on Aunt Millie’s girls and fight them for that giant cauldron, eh? Think we can take them?)
Until then, I will just tell you about Syl and Court. There is a bond between folks who share a trauma that is unlike any other. Whether it is the blood-spatter of a horse’s head wound or the common screwing-over by the same local business-man, bonds are forged, no?
Syl was a girl when I met her; she’s become a grown-woman before my eyes. That is both wonderful and heartbreaking all at once. I never want anything bad – like adulthood – to hamper the innocent charm that Syl has about her. But I don’t want to stand between her and “completion” either. Best I can do is step aside and enjoy the show; it promises to be a good one.
Court is not one of my most intimate friends but she has been one of the truest. Court is one of my few friends whose husband I would be friends with for his own sake. Plus, I love watching Court be a momma.
Finally, I know you’ve been waiting for it, let me tell you a little (but not too much) about The Bad Husband: my champion, my sounding-board, my punching-bag, my partner in everything. (I wish I could be as complete as the light and heat I see in your eyes.) There is something downright magical about sharing twenty-three years with one person. It seems to outweigh all the minor irritations of daily life. And to have that person be the father of all three of my children is a treasure, indeed. Let’s face it, there’s a feat in this day; and being the better-half of TBW ain’t a cakewalk.
Of course there are loads of other meaningful people in my life. Just because I didn’t mention them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And it really doesn’t mean that they mean less to me. It just means that the traffic has started moving and there are some beignets with my name on them.
Hasta luego, mis amigos!
Bendiciones, los quarks, noventa y tres,
La Bruja Mala
 From whose port The Bad Family will set sail to Mexico.
 Also, they tend not to read my blog unless it has to do specifically with their ponies.
 Not kidding, she’s a rocket scientist.
 One of my favorite stories (that I haven’t even told her yet) was when Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” came on and I blurted out, “Every time I hear this song, I think of the sexy-dance Miss [EC] does.”
I said this in front of my children – who replied in near unison, “Ewwww, Mom. That’s Miss [EC], we don’t want to know!!”
 Homegirl! (2011) and the other one that I don’t know if she wants me to talk about on my blog (Forthcoming).