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"Alone" Chapter 13
The one thing I have learned in sharing this series with you the reader is the meaning of the word appreciation. The understanding of the word encouragement and above all the gratitude I feel in my heart for being a small part of your life.
I do hope that the people I have written about have been the teachers they were in real life to someone like me who had slowly started to climb out of the pits of desperation. Some would say that meeting others is by chance. Me I would say meeting someone and connecting is not by chance it is by design.
Yes there are going to be those people you meet that are momentary. Just a few words in passing but I would ask what are the words that you have spoken that may impact their lives. What were your actions today towards the people you met. The ones you work with, the casual acquaintances or lets take it another step and say the ones whom you love and love you. Imagine them stopping and thinking about you right now and ask yourself what did you leave them with.
Far to often we would be left with the desire t go back in time and change things. I know I would. I have stood many a time with both feet in my mouth over something I have done or said. Thus I think the reason to be always aware and conscious of the needs of others. Over the years I have been involved with people and all they ask most of the time is to be heard.
We have reached the final chapter in this book and I do hope you have enjoyed it. Please visit me at the links below to look at the other writing I have listed on Amazon. I do hope you join Tannis and I in more adventures. There are many other titles to chose from. Please do stop in and say hello at any time.
Take the time today, tomorrow and the next day to begin to think along the lines of listening. Open your eyes, your heart and love to another and I think you will find you will be the one who is in need as well. Speaking the truth about you will open far many door than pretending to be just fine... Know that you are loved.
Spring had come and gone and wildflowers abounded. It felt good to be out of the trap of winter, to watch the streams flow again and hear the birds come alive in song. The long-range weather report said it would be a lengthy hot summer. We would all welcome it. The Yukon, like many regions in Canada, was experiencing changes in the weather patterns.
It was the first of June when the phone rang early in the morning. I picked it up to hear Rob’s voice. “Iskwiw is gone.”
His words cut through me like a knife.
”She passed away last night. Her daughter called this morning and asked me to call you."
All I could say was, “I’ll be flying up for the funeral.”
“Yes, she would have wanted you there. The ride is free,” he assured me. “Pack and be at the airport on Tuesday at 6 am. The funeral is at 11.”
As the plane settled onto the runway in Old Crow, I saw a few sober people there to meet us. The small church was filled to capacity. A simple pine box stood at the front. Joseph, a master carpenter, had made the coffin very plain, decorated with only a hand carved rose on the cover. It looked so small standing at the front of the church. I stood for the longest time gently touching the coffin, thinking of all that this special lady had taught me in the short time we spent together “Kiskatchua, Iskwiw. Kiskatchua, my friend, I will miss you.
Her coffin was adorned with what nature had provided: a caribou hide draped over it, some wildflowers, and a few flat stones her friends and family had collected. A picture of her sat on top of the lid: Iskwiw dressed in her finest, the gift I had bought her before we left Edmonton.
In the church many went forward and spoke of the love she had for Jesus and the impact she had had on their lives. They encouraged me to speak of the journey I had taken with her. I told how the simplicity of her love had impacted me and the true meaning of relationship and love we are all called to share, and the unselfish gift she had given to another in her last days by not taking the treatment offered to her. I stood with tears in my eyes as I spoke the word “Kiskatchua.” It was in her tongue and a word I would cherish for life.
The graveside service was simple; each took some dirt and tossed it onto her casket and turned away. Both Rob and I wept as we took turns saying goodbye to a dear friend.
The Elders of the community had decided they would also conduct a traditional Cree burial away from the church and the attachments it brought. Her burial site was located on a hillside overlooking the Porcupine River she so loved. Iskwiw had wanted it that way. Only those she trusted and loved were there. Sober and somber yes but each carried a hope and trust in their hearts knowing Iskwiw was free of all pain and suffering.
A traditional ceremony of celebration followed, with much food, many stories and much dancing. I sat back and watched the participants. They danced with abandonment, without shame before the Lord, because He would be the one to gain as He received this wonderful lady. There were mixed emotion all about the room. Some in laughter over her antics and others in tears over her loss.
A beautiful young teenage girl came forward and spoke to me in English. “Come dance for Iskwiw. She would have wanted you to dance taking my hands in hers and leading me out to the steady beat of the drums.
I stepped into a new place of freedom and danced in circles. My thoughts took on new meaning at the freedom I felt with those people. The spirit of Iskwiw was there; it filled each person. I could hear the whisper of “Kiskatchua” through the room and out onto the plains. I discovered something deep inside that day. I had discovered what Iskwiw wanted me to find. It echoed in the wind and I could hear it deep in my spirit.
I stepped outside into the warmth of the night and stood for several minutes. Then I was drawn back to the graveside. It had been covered over completely. Several newly planted wildflowers swayed in the wind.
I reached into my pocket and removed the small package she had given me. I pulled a loose string on the bow and it pulled apart. I opened it slowly. Within was the beaded bracelet she had worn for many years, the one telling her life story through the beads.
Iskwiw was still speaking in my life. Her words were few but they spoke clearly to me. I stood looking at her grave and a few words came from my lips as I tapped my heart. “Kiskatchua, Iskwiw, Kiskatchua.” Then I turned and walked slowly away.
As we pass through life we need to understand that God places people near us who will enrich us if we open the door to the wisdom they are willing to impart.
So often today we are caught up into our own lives and fail to see the blessings around us. We have become an “I” society in so many ways, each of us plugged into ourselves with iPods, iPhones, iPads and books that we fail to see the need around us, particularly the needs of others. Once you gain and establish trust, you will be amazed at the strength and love that grows. The gesture may be as simple as a smile or an encouraging word. We never know what we will learn from others.
Today as I sit and reflect on the effect this small but never absent lady had on my life, I know I will be ever thankful for the many lessons in faith that she taught me. I will always be grateful that I made the simple gesture of placing my hand on hers on that bumpy plane ride. It opened the doors to so many new experiences and opportunities. Try it and you will see the difference you can make in another’s life.
We were created of one family. No matter the colour, creed of background. We are one in the eyes of the creator. No matter who is placed before you, simply love them for who they are and you, in turn, will be blessed.
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