Four years before my Lakota adoption, I met my Ojibwe sister and became part of her family. These relatives have remained on ancestral ground, the family is large and deeply connected. They share ordinary days, special celebrations, joys and sorrows. I am able to take part in similar ordinary days and special ones with my daughters and families since moving closer to them two years ago. As I watch my grandchildren grow and my children maturing, I feel greatly blessed.
Along with my Ojibwe sisters and brother, I am mourning the loss of a sister who passed on two days ago. Family members were with her every day over the preceding two weeks to love her through her transition and to support one another. As family, we need each other in these hard times and it is good to share the stories, the laughter and the tears. My relatives embrace the Christian faith and traditional ways so as they hold the wake, they also keep the fire for four days.
We honor our loved ones in so many ways. Keeping a fire in the fire pit symbolizes the fire we keep in our hearts. That fire makes us whole, helps us to remember and to grieve. When my father and then my mother passed away, I felt lost for a while. Keeping the fire, talking to relatives, writing helped me find my way. I offer two poems on the Poems page, one for Mom and Dad, one for Marilyn. My prayer is that we always keep the fire for those we love.