To my Aunt Jacqueline: thank you and may we redeem the time.
Earlier this week on Facebook, I shared a status of a mother delivering stillborn twins. Based on the caption, I got the impression that the parents knew their children would be stillborn but still wanted to have birthing photographs done because, in their words, “stillbirth is still birth.” When I shared it, I accompanied it with the customary trigger warnings and a brief family history. My mother is the only living girl of my grandmother’s 8 pregnancies. The reason for that is because my grandmother was carrying another girl that died in utero. My grandparents knew that she would be born deceased. My grandmother, due to convention at the time, carried her until her body naturally went into the labor process.
I shared the status and moved on with my day. If you read my original blog on religion, you’ll recall that part of my journey has been acknowledging and honoring my ancestors. It is an African tradition and if you think about it, it makes natural sense to stay connected to the people who are responsible for where you are today; though they no longer inhabit a fleshly vessel.
As I was going through my normal practice of communing with them, I started to think back on the post I shared earlier that morning. Never having heard a more obvious voice, “She is an ancestor, too” boomed. The “she” is the stillborn baby girl that my grandmother carried. All at once, I started bawling. You see, I’m the only girl grandchild of 6 grandchildren. I always wanted a sister; an older one. I don’t have one. I always wanted a blood aunt. I don’t have one…or I should say that I lived my life without one. I immediately texted the woman who is like my sister, NegraWithTumbao, with my “revelation.”
We talked about it and she gave me the idea to give my aunt a name. And after that, my spiritual imagination awakened. I feel I know how she would have looked, which foods she would have liked, how she would have lived. I imagine that she would have had the gift of sight and that’s what would have bonded us. I know she would have loved me and I know I would have been able to tell her anything in the strictest of confidence and she’d always honor that.
The most perfect part of this is that she used a FB post that highlighted her own experience to remind me that she’s here. If I know nothing else, it’s that when your eggun or the universe or the deity you serve wants to get a message to you, anything is up for use.
Spiritual awakenings are interesting in that they usually come after great loss. Mine did. But, the magnificence of loss is that when you pay attention, you realize that everything you lost is being replaced with something greater right before your eyes. Most times, we’re too consumed with worry to notice it right away but in the stillness, even if it’s a baby who leaves before they come, your eyes are opened and you become cognizant that you’ve gained so much more than you lost. I lost a husband and in return, I gained a sister. I lost a job and in return, I gained the opportunity to make money using my gift and doing what I love to do. I also gained the aunt that I always lamented not having.
It doesn’t matter if your eggun lived 80 minutes or 80 years, they each have something to offer you, and their love, the thing that never dies, will still do its perfect work.
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