There comes a time for most of us when the myth of the “good parent” dies. The “good mother” dies and the “good father” dies. It is simply not possible for any human being to be as trustworthy and infallible as a child expects them to be.
The Gate of Grief “what I expected and did not receive”, we have found through our meditations on the threshold, speaks deeply to many of the Mother Wound (and then the father wound too). “What I expected and did not receive from parents… I expected to be safe and I wasn’t. I expected to stay innocent and I didn’t. I expected to be provided for and wasn’t. I expected to be accepted and I wasn’t…”
This is where we often find young people is it not? Both young folk in the outside world and our inner adolescent. The dissonance between the ideal of childhood and the starkness of the adult world. The parents of adolescents are on slippery pedestals indeed!
And so much of the anger and angst of adolescence surely comes from an inner process of discerning what we can trust and whom. Because the people we thought we gods turn out to be human.
What does it mean to be trustworthy anyway? There is surely a synthetic layer of trust manufactured from the desperate parts of our perfectionism that says “I can only trust that which is infallible; I must be infallible to be trustworthy”. Then there is a trust that is woven of humanity and that very fallibility; authenticity and humility.
A truly trustworthy person is one who admits where they have made mistakes and shows willing to mend those bridges. Not someone who appears to never make mistakes at all.
And so it is that the disillusionment of the good parent is part of the process. I have a sign on my toilet wall to inspire me from the throne “mistakes are part of the process”; what a relief. It’s almost as if its part of the plan.
In my observations of the spirituality of dementia (the book has been in looooong gestation) I have time and again found that for many the net result of a spiritual approach to dementia is unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness. And a relief that death finally comes.
As that person, like Inanna descending into the underworld, releases the role of parent, sibling, friend; they come ever closer to their Essence without the masks; an Essence, the clarity of which heralds the ultimate threshold of death.
Why am I oscillating from adolescence to dementia? This is where our morning call for the Red Tent End of Life Doula Preparation took us; with many detours inbetween as well. But the common thread here is that at each threshold of life we have to let go, be held, and return renewed.
We considered the origin of the world “threshold”; which is the lip on the floor at the door of the grain store which stopped the thresh from scattering. The thresh was held.
Now. When we use the term threshold to describe birth, death and all the major rites inbetween we often refer to what we are letting go of and grieving and what we are stepping into and celebrating. But what is being held? What is the thresh of us?
What is held at the threshold, is that Essence of “who you really are” as you take off one mask and put on another. Those of us in circle and community who would hold sacred space are holding for each other the innate essence of our divinity. That, which was never born and will never die; that survives the dissolution of the identity in the liminal space between forms. We transform and yet That, formless and in all forms at the same time, endures.
So; there are roles for us all in this world to be the holder of That. For each of us. The village raises the child; the village needs to hold the dying. If one person alone can never truly be trustworthy by our innate humanness; a community of such flawed beings can be trustworthy; consciously.
Because when humans in their frailty fail us we have to turn to That which is constant. And at every threshold there needs to be That which lives as us which does not change as we change. As Awen said early on in this work “to know we are loved on both sides of death” is surely our deepest desire.
A Love we can Trust.
These blogs are inspired by the shared contents of the weekly Zoom call for all members of the Red Tent End of Life Doula community. We share the content of the call in these blogs to share the amazing wisdom that rises through our circle. The personal details remain confidential. If you would like to join one of our trainings then do email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or look us up on facebook.