A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with mono. Pretty lame for a 30 year old woman to have mono, but whatever, it is water under the bridge now. It took a long time for me to get better. Months in fact. Mono has left me with a specific form of PDST, post traumatic stress disorder that I totally made up....Whenever I even feel the slightest tickle in my throat I start to worry that it is mono coming back to get me...or worse EBV rearing its ugly head! OH NO!
Over this last summer I finally started to feel in control again. I went six months without getting sick. Not a sniffle, not a cough, nothing. I was happy to be well again and I vowed to never take my health for granted.
At the beginning of October my partner came down with the flu. I started to super dose myself with vitamin C, echinacea, all the stuff you are supposed to do to not get sick. I did end up getting the bug he had, but a much more mild version of it. He ended up being really sick for several days where I was just a little down for a day or two. I was so happy and so relieved.
But two weeks later...the week before Samhain to be exact I start to feel like I had the flu, again. It started on Wednesday and I figured, ok, I will just rest this out and by Saturday I will be all better, right? Wrong! Wednesday was no fun, Thursday was worse, on Friday I cried as I forced myself to eat oatmeal alone on the couch watching daytime T.V. But I held out that Saturday would be ok, Saturday would be my golden return to civilization.
Because you see Saturday was Samhain. Saturday was the 30th anniversary of the Spiral Dance in San Francisco. Saturday I was going to wear the cutest Mad Hatter costume EVER! Not only was it going to be a big, fun, public Reclaiming ritual, and all my friends in the community were going to be there, but I was also supposed to help and put up the Student Altar.
Saturday rolled around and I debated going to the ritual all day long. I still felt like crap, but I thought I might be able to force my way through it. If I just didn't cough and used hand sanitizer every five minutes I wouldn't get anyone else sick either....but in the end my logic won out and I stayed home, alone on Halloween.
When my co-horts left for the ritual the first thing I did was have a good cry. I really let it go, really felt sorry for myself, really wallowed in it for awhile. I even called my mom and had her bring my french fries, but she didn't come in the house since I was so sick. Then I realized that I still had responsibilities to bear on the night when the veil is thinnest.
I had brought home all the written names of the Beloved Dead from our local public ritual. I had promised to dispose of them with the love and honor they deserved. So in a moment of strength with a belly full of amazing french fries I cast a circle around my house. I took my cauldron and headed out into my backyard with a lighter and the slips of paper.
I sat on the stoop amongst all the fallen leaves from my tree in the yard. It was dark, but the almost full moon allowed me to see quite clearly the names lovingly written at the ritual from the previous weekend. I read each one out loud for the moon to hear and the set each paper on fire placing it in my cauldron watching the smoke fill my yard like fog.
Ironically, or maybe not, the last name on the last slip of paper was the one that I had written. The name of my beloved dead.
Am I sad that I didn't make it to the Spiral Dance? Yes. I am wicked annoyed that I still feel like crap? Um, YES! But my Samhain ended up being just perfect.