Picture of my mom, Jeannine, and my dad, Carl. Taken 3 days after their wedding in 1957
Parents and Their Legacy
When we are young we look to our parents to teach us right from wrong in all kinds of things. From our first steps to say, “Sorry I stepped on your toes, to table manners, how to say, “Please, thank you and your welcome” “You get in more trouble if you lie then if you admit to what you did wrong”, to all the other niceties we need to get along in today’s society. Yes it is still polite to open the door for a woman, help older people out by opening doors carrying bags or packages so they do not have to, offer a lady, older person or pregnant woman a seat in a crowded bus or train. These are all things I have taught my own children as well.
Then we become teens and think we know everything and resent our parents for trying to keep us as little children. Most of us rebel in one way or the other and put our parents through minor or major hell. When we start dating our parents are again there to tell us about safe sex, tremor about us going on car dates. Warn us against drinking and driving. Now a days teens also get warned to not text or talk on the cell phones while driving. They worry the first time we drive away solo wondering if they stressed road safety and ingrained responsible driving into us.
Then we become young adults, going to parties, bars, maybe having sex, doing drugs we didn’t try when we were younger because we are adults now and our parents cannot tell us what to do. Yet many of us feel guilty afterward like we let our parents down somehow.
I did not have my dad to help guide me through my teen years as he passed away a month before my 12th birthday in 1970. The memories I still have of him are precious to me but as the years have passed I have lost some of them. This saddens me because growing up I did a lot of what society deemed at the time non-traditional girl things with him like playing pick-up hockey with other male relatives. My fondest memory of him I are the times him and I would go off fishing for the day, this started when I was about 4. It was alone time because my mom hated everything about fishing and did until her death this year. The worst part is he never physically got to see who I grew up to be. He missed the births of all my children and having the pleasure of watching them become adults and starting their own family’s. I also wonder at times how my life may have been different if he did not pass away when I was so young????
I did have my mom there to help me but I was a very rebellious teen. During those years I did and said things I knew when I had children of my own how much my actions and words at times hurt my mom deeply. But the one consent in my life until six weeks ago was my mom with her unconditional love. My life was a real mess because of drinking and cocaine when I was in my forties and I knew I was not fit to care properly for my children. My mother never batted an eyelash when I asked her to be guardian for my three youngest children. Her and I agreed I would stay away from the children until I could get my life in control again. We also agreed I could only have supervised visits with them because I was not clean yet and was afraid of physically hurting them again.
My mom was there to watch my children become adults, some marry and most of her great-grandchildren. After I straightened my life out and I moved back into the home with my mom and children, her and had many long talks into the night and when the children were at school. Through this we healed old wounds and she became on of my best friends. I knew no matter what happened in my life she would be right there helping me through it.
Even though my mom was a Christian she allowed me room to explore other faiths and choose the one I wanted. One that would bring my heart, mind and soul peace. After visiting many types of churches, I was invited to a Samhain coven gathering. It was there I embraced the pagan path as it answered a lot of my questions about some things that had or were happening to me. Once I told my mom I was a witch and following a nature based spirituality she was happy. Then she told me of a few of my ancestors that practiced The Craft and that she knew some things before they happened. When she had surgery she asked me to do a healing ritual for her with her participating. She had me read her Tarot cards more than once and make her a healing charm and also a protection one.
I know my dad and mom are in the Summerlands and there they do not feel the aches and pains of human life. My mom is no longer grieving for my dad as they have been reunited and are happy. She was also reunited with the eight children she lost after me, making me an only child. But I would give up a year of my life just to hear their voices and be able to hug them one more time. I know we all will be reunited when I pass into the Summerlands but today my heart aches and tears fall not because words were left unsaid or fences still broken but because I love them both so much.
My parents legacy are myself and my descendants. The love they gave to me to them. The protection both as a Spirit and human. There most important legacy to me is if you ask for forgiveness from someone you have wronged most of the time you will be forgiven.
This Samhain when I honor my ancestors with lighting a birthday size candle for each of them my mom and dad will have larger ones so when everyone else goes back to the spirit plain they and I can visit.