Photo: Sierra City, CA cemetery. Home to many of my ancestors.
Previously, I had never understood ancestor worship/honoring. Throughout my life it had seemed somewhat backwards of a concept. To ask for assistance, or revere/recognize, ancestors in my pagan practice that were, very likely, of a different religious belief. Why am I asking for guidance from my Catholic ancestors (of which there were many)? Why would my desires be something they would care to lend their energy to? How could I even expect a Catholic soul to respond to a pagan calling? Wouldn’t they be abhorred to discover their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter was a witch?!?!
Then, as usual, perspective came in a life-changing moment.
Then, my dad died. The day before Christmas Eve.
My dad lived with me and my husband, and was fully-functional and able to care for himself. He knew my beliefs and found them interesting, and never spoke a word against or to try and convert me. He died very suddenly or a heart attack, in our home. The home I had grown up in and my parents had transferred to my name when I became an adult. The home my husband and I still live in. We came home from work and found him on the floor in his favorite spot – cutting up strawberries, one of his favorite foods.
I have been a “Daddy’s Girl” since I could breathe. While my mother and I have a few pleasant memories, my dad and I did EVERYTHING together. Theme parks, large and small events, pony rides, trips to the park (with or without the dogs), sneaking with him to work for the day (construction on empty homes for sale), even learning to build with my two hands and how to fix cars.
I had never been without him. My world fell apart. I honestly don’t have much more than a few spotty memories from the 4 months that followed. When I finally came out of my funk sometime in April, it was just in time for his birthday. Just one of many struggles in “the year of firsts” that happens the first year without someone who was always there.
So, why am I rambling, you ask? What does this have to do with the original question, you ask?
My father was born Catholic, and died a born-again Christian. Seriously, the church PAID for his ENTIRE memorial service we held in their chapel.
And then there was the lightbulb moment.
My father and I are connected, irrevocably, forever, by the love of a father and a daughter that we shared. Religion, bias, opinions, lifestyle – none of it mattered. We are still connected. It felt odd not to reach out to him; even wrong on some level. I’m not saying this is true for everyone, but it is certainly true for me.
And if I feel that way with my father, not all the rest of them? If the quote says “You are the result of the love of thousands” (Linda Hogan) then why should I not try to touch them?
So I did.
Why did I not reach out sooner? What did I have to lose from trying? Why had I been so sure they wouldn’t answer? Why did I not understand, no matter how many articles I read or people I spoke to? Why had this concept been so difficult for me?
I wonder what was I afraid of.