Every year—every day—every hour—every breath—begins with uncertainty. We don’t know—we can never know, thankfully—what’s in store.
This year, for me, that truth is only more obvious.
On December 11, 2019, I had a plan. I was three days away from an Inside Passage “cruise” I envisioned as a writing retreat. I was on track to complete the first draft of the book I’m writing by New Year’s Eve. LW and I were anticipating a simple, quiet Christmas—just the two of us this year. My work calendar was filled with editing jobs lined up for the coming weeks and months. I had a detailed list of changes I wanted to make in the garden come spring. My trip out east in May had moved from the daydream stage to the tangible planning stage. I felt on top of things.
On December 12, underneath a full moon in Gemini, everything changed.
Nothing could have prepared me for what unfolded over the next nine days: Worry giving way to fear giving way to bewilderment as I sat in my mother’s driveway for six hours knowing something was wrong but not knowing where she was or what had happened to her. The shock of her cancer diagnosis yelled into a phone. Grief layered with betrayal layered with disbelief layered with panic. The struggle to keep my balance when the earth kept shifting under my feet. At the center of it all, intense love. Sacred moments shared with my mother and my sisters. Laughter. Music. Tenderness. Then, shock again. Dissonance. Betrayal. Trauma. Grief. Yet another shock. The shattering of illusions. Walking away.
My daily tarot card on New Year’s Eve: The Wheel of Fortune. (One of Mom’s two favourite TV shows, the other being Jeopardy, which we’ve also experienced throughout this series of events.)
Annie Lionnet’s Tarot Directory says the card heralds “a turn of events you could not have predicted and over which you have little control … it is up to you to determine whether this will be a positive or negative experience.”
According to the Aleph Tarot description of the card, The Wheel of Fortune gives and takes, often abundantly, often cruelly. I am experiencing both first hand. Unfathomable cruelty followed by inexplicable kindness and generosity.
The Motherpeace Wheel is zodiacal, and Vicki Noble suggests using the card in conjunction with one’s astrological chart. When I turn there, I find Leslie Benson’s benediction for the Gemini full moon—which she describes as one of identifying core values and choosing love:
During this potent full moon, the last of 2019, may our ears be open to hear the call of divine wisdom, may our eyes see the way forth, and may our hearts, minds, and spirits have the strength and clarity to choose love as we navigate the stormy waters of these difficult times.
There are only two feelings: love and fear.
There are only two languages: love and fear.
There are only two activities: love and fear.
There are only two motives, two procedures,
two frameworks, two results: love and fear.
My mother and I have disagreed on many things over the years, but in the eye of our December storm, we agreed on this: Fear is a terribly destructive force.
Tomorrow I will travel to rejoin my mom. I want to be with her and surround her with love in her final chapter, however long that chapter turns out to be. My core values are easy to identify. They were passed to me from her as they were passed to her from her beautiful mother.
I walk calmly into this new year with the words of Jody Wilson-Raybould guiding my steps:
I am a truth teller who comes from a long line of matriarchs. This is who I am and who I always will be.
And I choose love.