May S had written to a friend who had lost her father. The friend said, "...a piece of my identity pulled away." Yes, that is so. When a loved one makes that journey to the other side we lose part of our SELF. We are always lonely for the one that has left us behind. But looking toward a great reunion when we make our crossing.
Today is the 5th anniversary of Brandon's departure. He'd be 22 now.
Verlyn Klinkenborg writes, "The air wears the tannic acidity of decaying leaves." I still have a small collection of leaves from his last autumn. I have some prayer ties I made as I sat beside his young and brutalized body at his wake.
I don't remember who said it and must paraphrase, too. But these words are in my thoughts again. "The dead rise up to walk the fields of memory."
I made a pot of jalapeno bean soup for Brandon's memorial feast then went to Cass Lake with Annie and kids. On our way we stopped to pick cedar leaves for the sunrise-sunset fire. LL day labor had delivered a load of wood. Gene was the firekeeper. When we got to Gene and Chey's house I hung the last bundle of prayer ties in one of the old box elder trees. The tree was shorter than me 55 years ago but raised itself high above the house by the time Brandon was born. It sheltered his childhood and now the tree is dying. Annie sat in the smoke turning jingles for Cedar's new dance dress. Chey and Lamaya had gone to a pumpkin patch near Park Rapids with Headstart.
By 5:30 we had a big crowd waiting for food. Everyone brought something and there was a lot of leftovers. Faith made the spirit dish. Terry offered a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude for our wonderful Brandon. Wallis spoke of his journey. Shirley read a poem. Esther B told a very nice story. When I told about Brandon on the mountain, Justice came and stood beside me.
About 7:30 it was cold and dark so many had left. The tables had been cleared and dishes washed when we began to smell propane gas. Faith called the fire dept. We opened the house doors and tried to get everyone outside. We had to douse the fire, too. Soon we heard the siren and saw the flashing lights. The firemen did not find a problem with Chey's tank. They checked out Laurie's, too. Then they crossed the street. We could see the red light flashing on their gas detector. They turned off the gas, notified the homeowners of the situation and left.
Later we hurried home through a moon bright night.