Why is it that we refer to people in the past tense when the body completes its function? If she becomes a “was” instead of an “is” that means she doesn’t exist. She is no longer expressed through the body that we recognize but it doesn’t mean she went out like a candle flame.
I’m sitting where I can see her face clearly. The veil between the seen world and unseen mystery is tangible. Within the sacred circle of her Beloveds there’s a deep stirring of the ways of the old, like we’ve done this before from a time we don’t remember. We know exactly how to be- perfect in our individual response of letting her go yet united in love. We are at the pinnacle of presence blessing her holy departure.
She’s lying in the centre on a bed of a thousand pedals staring into the eyes of her children. My heart cracks wide open to feel the nuance of all that I’m feeling. I don’t want to pull away from this… I won’t falter to my attachments and crumble. I will all of me to be present with her. I stay anchored to my faith that we go on when our body does not.
I am an open vessel funnelling this profound moment. Ancient circuits are going on line because I know this ceremony. This is how it is suppose to be… Our hallowed anthem of whispers, cries, songs and prayers will carry her onwards and always.
During my time as a doula I welcomed many births. How does such a small being survive the arduous journey to the outside world? How can it be crushed, pushed and pulled without being utterly damaged? I’ve heard that the pineal gland releases huge amounts of DMT also known as the “Spirit Molecule” during birth and death. The tryptamine induces an intense altered state similar to what one would experience at a peak of a psychedelic experience. Perhaps that is why we hear of near-death stories where survivors have profound spiritual experiences and encounters with other worldly beings.
I need to believe that the many Ayahuasca ceremonies Scarlet did prepared her for this ultimate trip.
Scarlet Mary Rose came into my life like an explosion of confetti. We met over 2 decades ago in a college music program. Before Scarlet, I’d never met a woman who could unabashedly, unapologetically, and genuinely express herself. I didn’t know what to make of her except that she was deeply intriguing. She invoked, inspired and provoked parts of me that I didn’t know existed.
Burlesque sounded like something that came out of Timbuktu. I had no idea what it was until Scarlet glorified the art through her fantastical imagination. She captivated me with her vision to empower women and liberate sexuality through creativity- music, dance, twirling titties and gyrating asses-it’s a freedom movement of unbound self expression. She said her nipples would be covered in fancy tape and her vagina always just out of sight. My mind was blown.
Within a year after my diagnosis she got the exact same news. I thought I was solid, I thought I had my fear at bay but she was really afraid and it triggered me big time. I supported her through what I’d learned, I did my best to inspire her to dig deep, but there were days when we were both mentally mangled by our prognosis.
People can love and support you the best that they know how. But unless they are in the trenches with you, there’s no way to grasp the extent of mind fuckery mortality plays on you when it’s knocking at your door. We leaned on each other and respectively gave each other space. We made a pact to be honest with where we are at.
I’ll never forget the day I met her at the hospital after her chemo. She was convinced that the treatments would kill her, that her body couldn’t take the chemical assault. I held onto her like I held onto my own life. “There’s got to be another way”, I said.
Scarlet did find her own way. I witnessed her transcending fear and step into grace. She looked into me as her soul spoke out that she was ready. I instantly let go of my own agenda, my own need for her to keep going… for her not to give up. She wasn’t giving up, she was letting go.
Al and I drove 2 hours to this beautiful, remote, retreat centre to send her off. It’s important for us to be here for Scarlet but for us as well. We don’t talk about my health as long my cues are affirming that all is well. But, the “what if” is still in the periphery and now we are facing it with Scarlet. Somehow we know that there will be healing by being close to what we don’t want to think about.
“See the wood this ceiling is made out of? ” Scarlet says. “I bet my grandpa milled it because it’s the kind of wood only he milled at the time. My ancestors are here.” I am savouring every word she says. I’m collecting every opportunity to take her in before she goes. I tell her I love her. She holds me and whispers “when it’s time just let go”.
Scarlet is holding court before her departure. She is singing a duet with a Beloved on the piano and it’s the performance of her life. I’m sure her voice is opening the portal to the place where she is going. The last line of the song is “let me die” and we all crack open some more.
I’m keeping a firm eye on her. What if she changes her mind? What do I do if she does? Scarlet’s reliving the highlights of her burlesque career. She’s bringing in her Beloveds who couldn’t be there in person through her stories. There’s tales of glitter bombs, big balls and her cowgirl burlesque act as Rosy Rawhide. We are laughing, singing, crying and celebrating. All the while she is leading the way- there’s no apprehension, no fall back, she is set on her trajectory and ready for takeoff.
“I’m gonna smoke this joint and then we’re gonna go” she claimed. This is it… and we all know it. We walk in a sacred procession to the place where her body will be left behind.
My mind is trying to keep up with the magnitude of what is actually happening. I am straining my eyes to see beyond the wet curtain of tears. I will not miss the holy instant of her spiritual metamorphosis. I feel her leave.
We are taking turns revering her brilliance. It feels like we are suspended in space existing between here and where-ever she is. The men leave and several sisters stay to wash her voluptuous, porcelain body. I am singing as I wash her breast with the scar from her surgery. It is deeply healing for me to be so intimate with her scar that’s akin to mine. I am at peace entranced by her beauty- She’s a renaissance woman blazing the path to always.