I want to keep telling you about Africa, about my trip, and I don't think I can until I write this post, transitioning who I was before my mother died, and now, afterwards, who I am discovering myself to be. The night I posted the last entry here, I found out that my mom passed away. She wasn't terminally ill so it was a huge surprise to my brother and I. As anyone can imagine it swept away the luxuriously slow integration that I was making between Uganda and home, and forced me to -be here now- in a way that I didn't like at all. I feel a bit cheated of my experience while also grateful that I was home when she passed, and not in another country, so far away.
It took some time to feel like I could write about anything except her passing so here I am, almost a month later, and I'd like to continue sharing with you if you're still out there, listening.
Lisa Saper-Bloom talks about the reaction she had to her
malaria meds, and I breathe hard for some reason. LOL
It's fascinating to me that as I weave my way through the maze of mourning my mother, that even at this time I pull the lens of Uganda in front of me and see it all through that. I guess I'm marveling a bit that I can't go backward, I can't be who I was before I left, forget what I learned, unravel the threads that my trip wove through me. I think about the many women I met there, who are raising grandchildren because their daughters died of AIDS. The sorrowful, rich, heart of Death that is in all things. We were gathered at Shanti when we heard some children had found a black mamba in the bush, its dead body had now become a plaything in the street. Death truly is in every corner and touches us all, and it's something that as human beings, every single one of us, no exceptions, have in common.
We all have to grieve our dead. We all have to wonder, what will the future be, without this person we love? Each culture has its rituals around death. When we sat at the bonfire on the last night at Shanti, Stella, one of the midwives, told me that they don't usually have a bonfire unless someone dies, and that now people would wonder if someone died. We both had a good laugh as we danced around the big fire.
I have to wonder, what would happen if I grieved in Uganda, in Kasana? How would I be held there? What would be expected of me, of my family - how would the community feel the loss? I won't know these things, but that's okay. It feels good to wonder, to have access to Shanti in a new way.
The next thing I'll post is one of my entries from while I was gone. I still welcome questions, is there any specific thing you want to know about? Hit me with your ideas and inquiries!