The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Comfort December 31, 2013

Yesterday was a false start. Or a false ending, rather, as dad didn’t make it to the crematorium. Like any other business, it too has its busy days, and I guess, as the old joke goes, yesterday, folks were ‘just dying to get in’. So I took the opportunity to arrange for the obituaries, making sure his name was correct, the date of death as we wanted (and not as it must legally be forever recorded), and of course, making sure everything was paid for. Amazing the costs involved. A small fortune just to run the obits. “This is a long piece” one woman at a paper warned me. Yeah, and dad had a long, full life. Can’t skimp now. Gotta share as much as I can. With the papers taken care of and other tiny distractions we made it through our day, but the phone call never came. That last call from the undertaker, the siren of that final trip, it never came. So I find myself here, on the morning of New Year’s Eve, my brother’s birthday, and the final day of the year, awaiting the news. It’s still something I dread, and if I think too much about it find my heart beginning to beat faster and harder. Still his beautiful hands lie folded on his chest, still he looks as he did. By tonight, by the time I’m on the train platform welcoming my young son back into my arms, my father’s body will have been transformed…

This blog feels to be getting a bit tedious by now; just how much pondering of one subject, no matter how important to me personally, is too much? It kinda feels like I’m pushing things here. But since I mean to document my adventure through life accurately, and since I am still living through this event, I’ll continue, in hopes that it doesn’t put people off. And if it does, skip it. I’m writing more for my own healing than for anyone’s amusement at this point. But if you’ll stay with me for one more paragraph, you may be uplifted to read what follows shortly….

As I was checking the stats this morning, I saw that an old post – a writing that even predates this blog – had been read. I remember that night, that journal entry. I remember Elihu singing to Mr. Roosevelt, his giant red rooster, downstairs in the office. He’d been trying to draw him, and was coaxing him to relax, to stay put, to allow Elihu a moment of stillness. Luckily, I’d had pen and paper and was able to scribble down what Elihu had been saying to his bird. My son often speaks like this. He is a thoughtful, loving and reverential boy. But it’s not often that I’m equipped to take down his wisdom as I was that evening. I feel lucky. And, in reading my young son’s words (he was six when he spoke them) I take comfort from them. His words speak to me, to my father, to the feeling of love and peace that must await us in that next world… Somehow, it almost feels as if my father has gently directed me to re-discover these innocent, healing words.

Elihu, age six, speaking to his rooster…

I come in peace, I come in peace, you can relax, I am coming to be with you in peace

To know your soul, I’m coming in peace. I come to warm your soul and to warm the soul of the earth

I come to warm the face of planet earth, I come in peace, sit and relax and do not worry

I come in peace, I mean no harm. I really don’t. Sit and relax by my side.

As soon as I’d entered the last line above, the phone rang. The funeral director told me that dad had left, and was now on his was to Bennington. And at noon, he said, we should be ready with that glass of wine… Here we go. Here goes dad, and here comes the conclusion to one part of the journey. And hopefully with it, comfort and peace.

 

Blessing June 4, 2012

I’m not yet a true Waldorf mom. It’s continually new to me, yet I know it’s the absolute right place for us to be. I knew it the first day. Funny, less than a year ago I still had an image of the place as being a combination of moneyed, greener-than-thou professionals and naive, modern hippie types who all merely parroted slogans of love and light because it was progressive and hip. Now I realize I was not correct in any of my ignorant assumptions. Within hours of becoming the mother of a student at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs I was greeted by people – mothers, dads, grandparents, teachers. I was made to truly feel welcome, and instantly there was an ease of relationship with the new people I was meeting. We had something in common. What exactly it was I wasn’t yet sure – and I’m still not quite sure. Something, however, has brought us all here. We were all out of step in some way with the other educational communities at large, or maybe we all knew there must be something better, something more deeply connected to creator, earth and community. Regardless of what’s lead us here, we are all here because we understand this place is incredibly rare and special.

Each day I shake my head in amazement at the things that Elihu is learning. The very environment that Waldorf and his wonderful teacher (wow do I feel lucky there!) have created for him. Each day, in an off-the-cuff sort of way, more as an aside than a piece of news to share, Elihu will reveal to me yet another aspect of this school that impresses me more deeply than I ever expected to be impressed. Tonight, as we sat at dinner together, he began to recite something I’d not heard before. He knew the whole thing (in the span of four weeks Elihu has memorized many, many verses, both song and poetry – and not for having worked at it; it’s simply part of his day there) and I was enchanted as he recited this piece…

The sun, with loving light makes bright for me each day.

The soul with spirit power gives strength unto my limbs.

In sunlight shining clear, I reverence, o God, the strength of human kind which thou so graciously hath planted in my soul that I, with all my might, may love to work and learn.

From these stream light and love, to Thee rise love and thanks.

A simple Google search has me finally learning more about the history of this school and its founder (and author of the above prayer) Rudolf Steiner. How lucky were we to stumble upon this miraculous haven. I couldn’t feel more grateful – to Rudolf, to the teachers, to everyone who has dedicated their life’s work to the vision of the Waldorf School. Shakin my head and sayin ‘Amen’ to it all.