I have been missing Sue, I’m sure I always will. Some days the pull to feel her presence is stronger than others. The other day, a friend of mine asked if I had reached out to her across the veil. Deliberately parting the veil is not something I do often these days. I have grown weary of the numinous and perhaps a bit distrustful. So many conspiracies and lunacies are now attached to the spiritual communities, yet there are aspects of home that cannot be denied when one steps into the space of silence. I’d like to think I heard her voice, again, in these words who are not just for me, but for anyone who doubts who they are. I share them here with visuals from the wonderful photographers on Pexels, open to individual interpretation…
You are evergreen boughs seeking water
You are a child gliding on a silver kite into the wind, breathless in wonder
You are hope letting go of despair
The wild window of wonder beckoning us back to life
You are beautiful in the essence of self
You are one thousand moments waiting to occur
The slipstream in the current pulling into infinite possibilities
You are life. Precious and uniquely yours to define.
It should come as no surprise to me that Sue would find a way to weave her wisdom into the realm of my dreams. She knew me better than most, and what better place to seed the journey than through the map of the subconscious.
Sue also knew I loved to study dreams. In my weekly journal correspondence I could not help including a dream or two as they always, inevitably, related to waking life experiences. That’s the way dreams work, even though they may appear random and irrational at first glance. There is always a lesson (and usually many) to uncover when one takes the time to delve into their symbolism. Mostly Sue made me uncover them for myself. It seems nothing has changed 🙂
Thankfully, as Sue well knew, I love symbolism. My mind is ever-searching out the meaning hidden below the surface of life. And, to be quite honest, I was surprised and a little dismayed that she hadn’t appeared sooner in the land of my dreams.
It was, alas, a mere cameo… about two weeks ago. I nearly missed her. She came and went so fast from the dream I could have doubted it was Sue if I didn’t know her better. And she uttered just one word: “Jabberwocky.”
You’ve got to be kidding!
No doubt she was chuckling a bit. Fair enough. I do like a good puzzle, and certainly this one was intended to draw me down the rabbit hole…
And as I usually do when messages are cryptic, I asked a few intuitive friends for their thoughts. Each one gave a different answer, but each answer had relevance. I read the poem, more than once, and pondered each possible meaning. Days passed and then another dream came to me. This one per my request.
“Could you give me a message,” I asked her before I fell asleep, “Something, anything, to let me know what you think I should do.”
Instead of “Wonderland,” I was brought to Oz. You, as a reader, no doubt will already be drawing the parallels between the two. Sue is undoubtedly clever. But this was not exactly the Oz of Dorothy’s dream, this was an Oz designed for me. The journey, rich and filled with symbols at every turn I took, took me into a different aspect of something I either had overcome, needed to overcome, or was in the process of overcoming.
When I finally reached “Oz,” I found myself atop a magnificent waterfall. It was a straight down vertical dive from the height of at least the Eiffel tower. A wonderful source of power…then the dream shifted one more time.
Suddenly I was at the bottom of the fall and the water had been replaced by sand (note the parallels to “The Wizard of Oz” movie, as a friend pointed out, and the “sands of time.” Up a ladder I began to climb while the sand poured through the rungs. Using, somehow, only my left hand while my right clutched a stack of books. I hauled those books all the way to the top of that darn latter. Then, looking down far below, I released them. As they scattered into a circular on the ground, a woman appeared and laid in the bare space in the middle one book, The Wizard of Oz, smiled and left. After she left everything else disappeared and I found myself gazing into a sky so vast and beautiful it felt like heaven. Shapes formed out of the clouds, the first and more prominent of which was a lion.
Thank you, Sue. I get it, I think. Mostly. Now to find that courage within. 🙏
Outside my window a falcon calls out his hunt. A screech piercing the too dark morning. It doesn’t feel like summer today. It’s cool and the air is laden with moisture yet to be released. Just now I hear a few fat drops plucking the gutters. They have squished through the membrane of the clouds, which stubbornly wait to release their bounty. I have not felt much like blogging since Sue’s death. Sometimes I even ask myself what the point is to all of this writing about a life perceived through the lens of my eyes.
And some days I wait for the play of her light across my screen, scrolling the darkness to bright. I hover somewhere in the middle most days. The canvas of life fills with vibrancy and shadows. A play of sun and night. Such is the fate of our human existence. This strange world where disorder appears as order and chaos plays with truth.
Yesterday, while hiking together, I told my friend how Sue gave me the ending to my book. But I still haven’t finished it. When she fell ill, I let it sit, mostly, simmering on a back-burner fueled by hope, denial, and everything in between. Now she must know the dedication holds her name and that of the winged being who grasped both our hands and held tight.
She sends me birds and feathers. Signs from Horus and her beloved Raven clan. It couldn’t be more fitting. Three times she grew the light on my screen so that I would not miss the dragons and suddenly I knew where she was waiting for the ending. Of course she knows. How could she not?
Now I am blessed with an ending that feels like chaos and order. Is she laughing? I can see her face filled with the sun. Oh yes, she undoubtably is, but it is a good laughter. Full of mischief and knowing. I try to imagine what time must be like loosened from the confines of the body. Woven like the tapestry of the spider web. Her labyrinth, but also mine.
I follow the lines now, here. She knew that time would come, but how I resisted! It is not England, but it is New England. I don’t always like change. It is with a great deal of reluctance that I release the pull of the old home to find magic in the new. Yet the dragons stir beneath my feet when I walk new paths back to memories that must also be mine. Underneath, the labyrinth joins it all. Invisible, yet visible when the eye opens. The fire quickens the breath and life returns to the place of magic. In these moments the mundane slips into the dull corners of the canvas and sighs with release.
I still weep at least once a day. That is okay. I’d rather the body process and release than trap sorrow.
Each day I open my inbox to see her smiling face framed in a halo of red curls. I click the link to read a memory of her life. It is a gift I sometimes find heart-wrenching, but always soothing. Part of me dreads the day when these posts will disappear. I’m not ready to retrieve the words she wrote for me during our years of correspondence. I am trying not to need them. I am trying to let go of what once was and move into what is.
As my mentor through the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, she taught me about the mysteries of what we call “life.” All those illusions we hold onto that bind the larger truth called “union.” You’d think I’d know better. I stand before my own students and teach union. Together we practice yoga, which translates into “union.” On our individual mats, we move the energy of the body to release what binds, while focusing the breath on what unites. Together, and individually, we create union. Or should I say reunion. Sometimes it is more accessible as a concept than it is to practice.
Knowing that she is now in all things is not yet enough for me to find a steady state of solace. I search out the essence of her that lingers in the words she wrote, reading each post that appears in my inbox. It matters little that I’ve read most of them before. Each one brings a fresh wave of her magic.
This is what I am missing most these days. The magic that felt uniquely hers. We may be sparks of the same light, but through the process of our individuality, this light morphs into personalities that cannot be replicated or mimicked. I have convinced myself she is irreplaceable, and of course she is. It is now that she might remind me that I should not look for a replacement. That this is both futile and unnecessary. She would tell me that she has not disappeared, but everywhere.
It is true. When I walk outside she is the woodpecker calling me home. At night, her love pours out of the curl of the cat nestled into my legs. In all moments of stillness she is the soft dance inside each cell. I am familiar with this transfer of love. I have felt it in other losses. But it is not yet enough.
I imagine anyone who knew Sue is having a tough week. I am no exception. Forgive me for processing my grief so openly. Writing is how I come to terms with struggle and heartache. It is how I come back to myself. I am trying to get there again. Back to the center where peace resides.
Each morning, when I open my inbox, Sue’s name appears. Another post penned in her hand flows her essence onto the screen. For a few moments, she has returned and I find myself wrapped into her landscape. It is with reluctance that I leave the past and move into the day’s reality. Which, basically, has not been great this week.
“I hope you are finding time for self care,” a friend of mine messaged me yesterday.
Grief is a tangle that only the self can unravel. It shuts out the world and one must walk into its darkness alone to explore each knot that binds the path back to light. No one can know these knots, but you. The individual’s own pain body creates them, and thus must set them free.
I am not a master of self-care. I’ve spent the majority of the week caring for others. Tending to my family’s needs, teaching yoga, and covering classrooms in my local middle school. By yesterday afternoon I felt entirely drained. I have only myself to blame. I am not good at asking for help or admitting I need support. I have carried on as usual, and my family has allowed me to. I live with needy beings and balance is upset when “mom” is not okay.
So mostly I pretend that I am okay. I cry when no one is looking. I sink into memories when the house is silent.
It is cold today, as it was yesterday. The sharp bite of the return of winter’s wind reminds me of the Aprils that brought me to Peak District of England. Outside, my frozen fingers pinching laundry onto the line, I remember standing on a hillside exposed to the elements to welcome in the new dawn. I see Sue’s face smiling into mine, her hand pressing the day’s gift into my palm.
Had I known we would only have a brief time together in this lifetime, perhaps I would have altered my role as a caregiver to create more. But, life has a way of creating circumstances that, in hindsight, are more right than they are wrong, even if we would have preferred them to be different. I felt Sue’s hand softly pushing me out of the nest three years ago when I completed my studies with her through the Silent Eye School of Consciousness.
Sue was, as those who knew her are aware, both ready to leave her earthly form, and reluctant to do so. Sometimes, during her illness, I would cope with this impending loss by imagining how Sue would return to me, and others. I’d see her form in the shifting clouds. Her spirit drifting into my dreams. I’d hear her voice guiding me through obstacles. Feel her hand, nudging to find the magic in the wild places.
Now that she has passed, I find mostly doubt and emptiness. I found myself wondering if my fantasies had any value but to deny this inevitable cycle of life and death. Each journey, as Sue taught, must ultimately be walked alone. Teachers can enter our lives for a period of time, but we have no control over how long. They are there to guide, but not take over the journey. When we become too attached to the hand, we become dependent upon it. In turn, we neglect the inner light that persists inside of us. And we doubt that it is all we need to connect to the light that surrounds us.
Maybe by tomorrow, or many not until several tomorrows, I will find my way back to that place. It is here, I know, that she will be. In that soft, quiet place that weaves into unity.
It is said, by some, that when we think of the beloved who have departed from their earthly forms, their energy rushes through dimensions to embrace us. I am not the only one who has noticed the soft cocoon of her light.
“All is light.”
I keep thinking of her words before and after, as I imagine what she would say to me each time the labored hand of grief seizes reality.
Sometimes we laugh at my absurdity.
While chopping vegetables for dinner, I tell her I am “not happy.”
“I know,” I imagine her saying, but she is also smiling. We both know better.
“Well,” I tell her, “It’s simply not very fair. We had lots more adventures to go on.”
“Who says they’ve stopped?”
We laugh before I cry, again.
And there she is sitting beside my left shoulder, wrapped in her feathers. She is not alone.
On the other side is Bratha, but she is less defined. A haze of energy to show me that Sue has returned to her, and the others. I think of the crow, kin to raven, who flew across my path after I learned of Sue’s passing.
“I know,” I tell them. “I know, and I am glad. Don’t get me wrong, but I am also a little envious. You left the rest of us behind.”
We’ve made some sort of deal, I think. I tell her I don’t want to be needy. That I don’t expect to take her away from other “places” and “people,” which simply means I am trying my best not be needy. On the other hand, I promise to be open. To whatever is offered.
Reluctantly I accept that it may not be what I want, but what I need.
She seems to have established the realm. For the second morning I wake to what I know are her words, even though the voice has already changed.
I begin to wonder when the form will too as I think of the photos that are disappearing from my computer. She wouldn’t want us to hold onto the temporary.
“All is bright [light].”
Still infused with clever mischief, asking for the mind to be stretched.
“Don’t expect to see me as me. Be open to seeing me in everything.”
When I went to the grocery store after dinner, the bill came to $77.77.
I knew it was coming, but there was still resistance. Isn’t there always? The pull to keep those we love here with us fights against the letting go.
The news of her passing was brought through the soft waves of a song weaving through the space between dreaming and waking.
All is calm
All is bright”
It took the repeat of this refrain, over and over again, and me growing irritated by its interruption, before the dawn of realization broke. She is gone. Her soul released back into the union of light.
“All is calm. All is bright.”
Somehow she knew I needed to hear it from her, first. The delivery, perfect, as only she could create.
“All is calm. All is bright.”
I am holding onto those words as the hours pass into this first day without Sue in physical form. I am holding onto the memories that filter through the minutes to remind me of her love. Around my neck I wear one of her gifts, a symbol of the “Feathered Seer,” knowing there is a comfort that she has found reunion with the magic on the other side, and that already she has threaded it back to us.
“All is calm. All is bright.”
I need to hold onto those words, and so I do, because I am still not ready to think about the days ahead. And I know all of you who were graced by her presence will understand. For a tiny, “hobbit-sized,” woman, Sue had the capacity to hold an infinite amount of love in her arms. She was, and I know she knew this, an embodiment of the mother archetype many of us long for. How lucky I was to experience her unconditional love and grace, if only for a few years. How lucky I was to feel the embrace of her hug, knowing I was beloved in her eyes.
Thursdays were days when Sue Vincent would post a photograph writing promptchallenge. In honor of this ritual, I have posted one of my favorite photographs of Sue, which I took two years ago during a shared trip to Wayland’s Smithy. It’s a photograph I hold dear. Filled with memory, magic and love.
I’m not sure if Sue knew I was taking this photo, but Ani sure did. The presence of these two beings made this afternoon extra special for me. Although I can count on my two hands the number of days I have spent with Sue, they rank among the very best of my life thus far. Sometimes you are lucky in life to encounter a teacher/mentor/friend who takes you under her wings and guides you in that gentle way to open your awareness to the magic that exists, but is not always acknowledged. I consider myself one of those lucky individuals.
I can’t tell you exactly when I first met Sue, or exactly how. But, I can tell you she entered my life just when I needed her presence. That is often the way these types of relationships occur. The teacher mysteriously finding the student, the student, the teacher, just when the moment is right…
If it were not for the internet, perhaps we would not have met, but I believe when there’s a will, there’s away. If you had told me twenty years ago that I would meet a woman named Sue who would lead me into the magical landscape of the soul and also the living lands of ancient Albion, I would probably not believe you. Yet somehow, one day, our paths intersected through our blogs, and the rest is our brief history in this lifetime together.
A lifetime that, I believe, stretches well beyond this one, to a far distant past when magic was not so extraordinary…
The photo featured in this post was taken just over two years ago. It almost didn’t happen, but somehow Sue managed to arrange an afternoon, packed full of magic, to take myself and a friend to Uffington. Here, Sue sits with her beloved dog Ani on the chamber of Wayland’s Smithy. It is, for me, a precious photo. The winged soul and her guardian canine in a place the bridges the realms of corporeal and spirit.
It is, most likely, our last day together in this lifetime. And somehow even though I’d like to have more days with Sue, it was fitting and perfect. As much as we may wish to, we cannot control the length of time we have with those we love and hold dear, yet when we review it, we often find that its length was perfect in its essence.
When I first learned of Sue’s illness, I cycled through the emotions of impending loss. There were moments when I decided it was wholly unfair, for Sue, for her family, for all those who love her, and for, selfishly, myself. Our adventures have only just begun.
But who am I to say how long a lifetime should be and when it should end? It is, instead, a choice to accept what one has been given and to realize the fullness of the gift wrapped in this temporary form. Knowing, at the same time, that infinity lies beyond the temporary form. For me there is peace in this knowing. When I look at this photograph, uncertainty disappears and faith takes its place. Although I may resist a plan that is beyond my control, with the surrender there is a doorway to the beauty of truth.
You can see it here. In the place of stillness, it opens. The winged soul bending down to touch the Earth, never truly leaves.