A Space for Writers of the World
Making Ceremony Out of Darkness: Walking With Our Sisters, Ziibiwing Center
Handle these watchwords with love—make a healing space for families and loved ones in pain.
These are the teachings.
We remembered the lost with
designs in white ribbon on a red floor,
cedar branches in spreading green,
vamps of buckskin, felt,
velvet, birchbark, paper
a rainbow of patterns,
Overwhelmed with the sheer beauty of what I had witnessed, I left the first night singing to myself—so glad to be alive and to be able to help with such a project. But as soon as I sat down in my car I was halted, pierced by a single thought. I was reminded: We should not have to do this.
—————We should not have to do this.
——————————We should not have to do this.
———————————————We should not have to do this.
We should not have to set out tissues.
We should not have to wrap the grieving in blankets.
We should not have to hold these precious vamps in our hands
—————each one a story of a life missing or lost.
We should not have to make a ceremony to keep them close.
We should not have to look at our friends, mothers, sisters, daughters, relatives, ourselves
—————and wonder who might be next?
We should not have to fight a legal system that does not care
—————that does not even count the missing.
We should not have to do this.
—————There is not enough sage in the world to clear the grief.
I wiped my face clear of tears—
—————kept the tissue for the tear bag at the memorial.
Everyone came back the next day and we opened the installation, the ceremonial lodge, with good words and love of the community—even if we didn’t have to
—————even if the rage and frustration were there
—————even if we cannot undo those losses.
We answer the violence with love and gentleness—beauty,
—————the work of a thousand hands.