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  • Writer's pictureSama

Becoming and Ancestor

Updated: Jun 5, 2021

My grandmother recently passed away, however, I don't experience her as being 'away' now. In fact I feel her very close, more available even than before she died. As I shared in a previous post, her passing was a deep healing process. My mother shared about witnessing her go through a "wrestling with her demons" process in the last two hours of her life and then a great peace came over her, gifting us with the experience of letting it all go and releasing into infinity.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to participate in my grandmother's process of becoming an ancestor through my Womb Arts practices of Neurographica drawing with Antje Howard and Writing from the Womb. The Neurographica process was beautifully healing, although intense as I used the photo my mom took of my grandmother right when the great peace was coming over her and she passed. The photo is very intimate and not quite right to share here, but it is very clear to see that her worries and fears melted away in those final moments. The drawing process involved using different colors and flowing with lines of energy moving around the image. It very quickly became a chakra healing process for my grandmother, as well as myself and my whole family lineage.

Although the images do not want to be shared here, the poem I wrote about this process can be shared:

Nonni’s last hours

She found herself at the gate

Covered with dark thorn bushes

Thickly woven with cobwebs

Shrouded in silence

She knew this gate

She had locked it tight

Many years ago

Of late, however

She had heard a voice


A six year old voice

Weeping through the night

Why weren’t the nurses tending to her?

She followed the sound of that voice

All the way to this gate

The one she had vowed to forget about

Yet now the cries of this forlorn child

Were piercing the spell of silence

She had cast over this place

They pierced the spell of forgetting as well

Those cries were a call to action

She began pulling away the cobwebs and thorny branches

Searching under the rocks at the base of the gate

For the key she knew she had hidden there

The lock creaked and the hinges groaned

But those incessant cries evoked her determination

The gate opened to a garden of dead and rotting things

Everything she ever wanted to forget

Not feel

She had tossed them all over this fence

Into this garden

Where they had festered

Now she had to clear the piles of rotten forgotten things

Toss them out into the light and air

To dry out the slime

Allow it all to compost down to nourishment

To bring this garden back to life

After wrestling with slimy thorny brambles for a time

She discovered she had cleared a path

To an opening to a cave

The crying voice was echoing to her

From the darkness there

Finally she would meet this child

As her eyes adjusted to the darkness in the cave

She saw a small thin child

In rotting rags

Huddled in the corner

Shivering and weeping

Slowly she placed her hands on the child's back

Their eyes met and she recognized herself

That part of her that had been hurt beyond repair

That part of herself she had to abandon

Lock up

Forget about in order to carry on

She held her there for a long while

They wept together

“I have come back for you.

I am so sorry I had to leave you.

I can hold this hurt you carry now.

Look, my daughter and my granddaughter

And our ancient grandmothers are here to help us hold this pain”

We all begin singing a song

‘Like a ship in the harbor

Like a mother and child

Like a light in the darkness

I’ll hold you awhile

We’ll rock on the water

I’ll cradle you deep

And hold you while angels

Sing you to sleep’

We sing the song over and over as she carries this girl

Out into the garden

The piles of discarded forgotten things

Have already begun to decompose more completely

Providing nourishment for life to flourish once more

We work together to clear out the last festering places

And plant seeds of new growth

The sound of our voices singing

Bring warm sunlight into the space

And a spring of clear water bubbles up from the ground

The seeds sprout and quickly leaf out

Blooms and fruits swell

The aroma of life fills our nostrils

The child is no longer weeping but watching in wonder

As she is surrounded with beauty and life once more

Soon she sits up and takes her own adult hand

Together with herself once more

She steps forth into the beauty

Along the pathway of song

Into the realm of love

This poem is a testimony to healing that can happen even for someone like my grandmother who never found if of value to revisit the past in order to heal. She was very much in the camp of denial about how past traumas were still effecting her in the present. As she aged, her coping mechanisms around this no longer worked as she couldn't keep busy anymore. Her body tired out and slowed down. And the physical constrictions of denial and suppression contributed to her dementia symptoms.

In the last few weeks of her life she was in a home as she was unable to care for herself and her children could not give her the care she needed. She complained about a 6 year old girl crying through the night at the home. As this was a home for elder dementia patients, there were no 6 year olds there during the nighttime hours. Except her own inner 6 year old who had been silenced her whole life, whose cries had never been heard and could no longer be suppressed.

Another aspect of my grandmother's passing is her reunion with my grandfather who passed away over 20 years ago. They had been together for over 40 years when he died and my grandmother spent the following 6 years prioritizing her sleeping hours as she could still be with him when she was dreaming. This next poem is what came through me as I connected with their reunion. Her passing felt very much like his spirit came and guided her to him. And this union in the spirit realm seems to be their ancestral gift and guidance for us, not just their descendants, but all of humanity. May we all remember this intimacy we long for:

Becoming an ancestor

She looks at the back of her hand as she reaches for his glowing fingers

Her own skin barely remembers what it feels like to contain

Muscles, bone, and blood

Only hints and aromas of these densities remain

As her fingers touch his

The memory of physical touch is strong

And satisfied just enough to ease the longing

Of those long years she lived without his body next to her

But it mixes with a new sensation

A mingling of essence

Free of the barriers of skin

Unhindered by the hardness of bone

Her hand merges with his

And the satisfaction of this deeper older longing

Erases all need to pine for anything or anyone ever again

She feels him drawing her close

At first she expects to feel his embrace

Warm soft lips pressed against her own

A sensation she had dreamed about feeling again for so many years

But now she feels his glowing lips passing right through hers

Right through the roof of her mouth, to the center of her brain

He kisses her there, creating an explosion of bliss and light

Erasing all residue of her prolonged loneliness

Instantly soothing that familiar ache

Flipping it permanently to its exquisite pleasure form

Then he dives down and kisses her heart

And all of the weeping she held back

Behind walls of functionality

Barriers of getting by

Breaks through these now flimsy membranes of smoke

Flooding her whole soul and his with an ocean of liquid love

They both dissolve into this ocean

And undulate to the rhythms of the planets for an eternity together

Always present for the cries of their descendants

Still bound by skin and other membranes

Longing for the touch of infinity

Thirsty for the waves of love they have become

And in joyful rapture they splash into our lives

Crashing through our insistence on suffering

Or stretch out into stillness

For us to rest upon

Floating in soft silver ripples

Smiling upon this illusion of separation

Tickling the liquid inside our membranes

Into remembrance

Through this process of supporting my grandmother's transition into becoming an ancestor, I have discovered that we can bring great healing to ourselves and our families by tending to these passages. And that we can gain great allies in the spirit world by sustaining our relationships with loved ones when they pass. Granted this is an easier process with me and my grandmother because we already had a relatively healthy, close relationship based on love and mutual care. It might require skilled support from Ancestral Healing practitioners to nurture more difficult or abusive relationships towards healthy supportive ancestral relationships. But this experience I had with my grandmother gives me hope that this kind of healing is possible, even with those loved ones who were in resistance to or denial of healing processes while they were alive.

I will also mention that this healing happened for me and my family after many years of ancestral healing practice. I had many conversations with my grandmother before she died about our ancestral lineage, often weaving connections in the stories that she hadn't considered. I have also worked with my mom even more deliberately as she is very engaged with inner healing work and participates in many of my Womb Centered Healing offerings. One of the beauties of the Womb Centered Healing work I do is that I can focus on my own healing process and it radiates back through the womb portal to all of my ancestors, siblings, and descendants. My mother has often confirmed that she was feeling healing energies moving without knowing that I was engaged in some womb healing process myself. I have learned to check in with her whenever I engage in these healing processes so she knows what is going on.

So these last moments of my grandmother's life were prepared for, welcomed, and tended to. They didn't just happen out of the blue. I had sung the song to her over the phone, the one written out in the first poem above, during the last hours of her life, offering my presence and energetic connection for her passing.

From this experience I have learned that the beauty of these moments becomes available when we slow down and offer our precious attention, our loving energy, our presence. We are enriched when we open to the intimacy of connection, especially when there is pain, difficulty, death. Death can be a beautiful passage. Thanks Nonni for reminding us of this truth.

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1 Comment

Beautiful Sama! Thank you so much for sharing the story and process of this transition.

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