We entered Black Rock City after a 2-year hiatus and were instantly overwhelmed and enfolded in strong arms full of love and friendship.
It was so cool to be so many people’s favorite surprise of the weekend – kept hearing over and over, Holy Shit! It’s Shin and Bridget!
I was a bit heavy-hearted, but very glad to get there and to discover that Magic was alive and roaring in BRC. It was home.
Friday, the day of my Grandmother’s funeral, Shin and I walked to the Temple of Joy in the midst of a white-out dust storm, and I passed quite a while meditating, sobbing, reading the words of others on the walls.
Way down low on one of the center posts I wrote:
Gladys Mary Caroll Connelly 9/18/15-8/28/02 Rest in Peace, Be Free, LOVE.
On the other side, I wrote to Dan’s Grandparents (who are major inspirations and role models to us, even though I never got to meet them in this earthly plane ):
To Bertha and Doc, Thanks for showing us HOW.
Walked out sobbing hysterically.
A wizened older man with the most intense laugh lines I’ve ever seen began making a joke at me – I didn’t get it, and didn’t really appreciate the attention – and when I looked at him sharply, he apologized and introduced himself as Dave, the builder of the Temple.
My arms flew around him and I hugged him tight, still sobbing, and thanked him over and over for this beautiful shrine.
This Temple is Joy, you know? He said.
We talked a long time – all of us crying and laughing – about what called me there, about Gladys, about JOY, about Living Well being the best revenge, about being blessed with amazing, transcendent partnership, about Donald Duck. “You may have heard this before,” he said, taking my hand, and looking deep into my soul, “Welcome Home.”
He gave us both a gold doubloon (never mind I already had a pocket full of them within two minutes of arriving in the Bleu Anchovy) so we could visit the inside of the base of the man. “Hold this for me, for a minute, will you?” he said as he placed the coin in my hand.
After that I was free, my heart lightened. I was able to Let Go and enjoy the wonders of our magical home.
On Sunday, at the Temple burn, surrounded by friends amidst a hushed, reverent crowd, a soulful voice began singing Amazing Grace – the song she always told me she wanted played at her funeral – (my father held no mass or service for her at the burial in Hayward. I was pissed off to hear that, but let it go, as I had chosen not to be part of that ceremony), and, hearing those words, “I once was lost, but now am free. Was blind but now I see.”, I knew that my Gladys, the Grandest of Mothers, was singing to me through that voice, that she Understands, that I came to the only right place there was to give her this sendoff, and I knew she was thanking me and loving me for it. Shin held me and we cried together, moved beyond words.
And then the Temple burned. It was the hottest, brightest, most spectacular fire I’ve ever experienced. It touched us all. A million voices, souls, thoughts, spirits were released. The elements danced together – fire, earth, wind swirled around the base, creating dust devils. At the climax, seven birds – some saw doves, others ducks – flew twice around the pyre and off into the heavens. Gladys is Free.