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Jarin Dreamsinger
Breaking My Father's Reality 
17th-Sep-2007 06:39 pm
I didn't blog about this, but my grandfather was in the hospital recently for cancer surgery. When he came out, he had to go into a nursing facility for physical therapy before he could go home. He's 93 years old, and he didn't face this idea very well. He very nearly gave up hope, thinking he would be stuck in the nursing facility for the rest of his life.

I went up to New Jerey in early July to visit him in the nursing facility, while my parents were there visiting from Minnesota as well. He wasn't looking so great, I barely recognized him when I first saw him. He was complaining that whole day about having to sit up all day rather than being allowed to take a nap. The staff were trying to build his endurance, and that was the first day he was being asked to stay up so long. But it was really his attitude that was the problem. He didn't think he was going to get well. He was dealing with depression. And from what I was told, he had been for weeks.

My parents know about my metaphysical practices to some degree, and my mother at least believed in them enough to ask me to do what I could. Direct reiki work at the nursing facility didn't seem to be helping much. So, when we got back to my grandfather's house that evening, I decided to approach the matter from a different direction. I did a ritual for him, asking his departed wife and other departed friends and relatives to do whatever they could to help him. And more importantly, I invited my parents to join me in that ritual. My mother did join in, my father chose not to but did sit and observe. I went through things point by point, making accomodations for their beliefs, my grandfather's beliefs, and the likely beliefs of the departed in question. I also explained things to my parents as I went along. In the end, it was a very interesting evening, and my father did comment that he felt like he understood my practices a bit more after seeing some of what I do and having it explained that way.

But it wasn't until the next day that I think he really started to believe there was something to my practices. See, when we went back to the nursing facility, my grandfather was in a far better mood. He'd gotten a great night's sleep. And, without prompting, he started talking about a dream he'd had... involving his wife, and his departed friend Sam Shore, and a bunch of his other old friends. Many of whom we'd explicitly invoked the night before. Then out of nowhere he started singing an Irish drinking song and talking about an Irish relative we'd also very explicitly invoked the night before. My father's mouth simply hung open in shock. My grandfather's recovery progressed much more rapidly after that.

Which brings us to now, and why I'm writing this post. Now my own father is the one in the hospital. He just had another toe amputated due to diabetes-related complications, as well as some bone removed from the site of the first amputation. He's doing fairly well, expected to be home soon. And I just got the most interesting email from him. Seems that, last night, my father attended a native american ceremony in the VA Hospital Chapel, all on his own. He went through smudging, listened to native drumming and chanting, possibly smoking a sacred pipe but I'm not sure if he did that part or simply observed, and telling about himself and why he had come to heal while holding a sacred eagle feather. All in all, it lasted two hours, but he says the time "flew by". He seemed very impressed, and retained a good bit of what he had been told about the function of smudging, which he accurately related in the email. According to his email, he was the only non-native participant but they allowed him to participate fully.

To say I'm shocked would be an understatement. This is not even remotely like my father. My father has a tendency to roll his eyes when my mother starts talking about metaphysical things. Less so when I do, since he knows damn well I've done my homework on them, but it's still never been a belief he's shared. I think seeing the effect that my metaphysical practices had on his father in law, my grandfather, must have affected him more deeply than I realized. I don't know if, ultimately, this will lead anywhere... but I can't help but think getting smudged and taking part in a healing ceremony like that one will be good for him. He certainly seems excited about it.
17th-Sep-2007 08:19 pm (UTC)
:3 I think it will do good for him in the end, and I'm really glad he seems to be much more accepting of things like this :3

(Much of me wishes I could even be open to my folks, much less be accepted for it, but at least I have you guys as my family *hugs*)
17th-Sep-2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
*smiles and hugs back tight* Yes, well, it wasn't all sunshine and butterflies when I originally came out to my parents about the whole pagan, poly, bi, otherkin thing. There's a reason I did it from several states away. But yeah, things seem to have gotten far better since then. My mom has always had certain borderline metaphysical experiences, even if she tends not to interpret them too well. My father has rarely taken them seriously, and in her case I'll admit it's generally with good reason. I get a lot of my gifts from her side of the family, but she's never set about learning to use the ones she has. And every once in a while the universe kicks her in the head as a result. I did mention to you about the shaman she ran into out there who was telling her a lot of (true) magical things? The one I've never met, nor whose description matches anyone I've ever met, nor who was ever told about me by her, but who told her (in regards to checking the veracity of the things he was telling her): "Ask your son. Ask Jarin."
18th-Sep-2007 02:13 am (UTC)
Yeah, you did mention that :3

And I imagine it wasn't all roses, but then again, at least you HAD that chance. I still live in the same state as my parents and much of my (meatspace) family has been borged into my mother's not-so-little cult of God Warriors :P My sister at least accepts gay men as not being the spawn of Satan, and THAT is a major achievement; I do not WANT to think of what would happen if my folks found out I was bi. Or transgendered. Or pagan. Much less *all* of the above. :P

(One of the things that hurts--hurts like hell, hurts like a fucking KNIFE--is knowing I will *never* have that; my mom, and other members of my meatspace family, are too far gone and the only (meatspace) family I have that would have accepted even the pagan bits are either dead in the ground seven years or estranged themselves. :P And this is counting *the whole* of my mom's side of the family; Dad's side isn't much better. I still have nightmares to this day of my family finding out that I'm merely a *critic* of the church I grew up in and being not only disowned but stalked by members of the church as a result. :( I am never, ever, ever going to be able to be honest with my family about the most basic things about myself, and it makes me sick and sad and were it not for the fact I still *care* for my dad and my sis I'd probably just say "to hell with it all". :(

(I'd kill sometimes to even be able to safely tell my folks that I "believe in that Injun stuff" without the risk to my own personal safety. At least your folks accepted eventually. At least Wingy's folks have partially accepted stuff about him. I am *never, ever* going to have the ghost of a chance of even *that* with my family. I am frankly *dreading* what will happen when my mom dies, because I'm going to be forced to attend to a damn neopentecostal tent revival-disguised-as-a-funeral to "keep up appearances" and not get disowned by the rest of the family (not an issue right now, admittedly, but the Marguerite Perrin clone *IS* damn close to her seventies as is my old man).

(Sorry...just angsting. Hence why I *do* get happy for folks whom their parents ultimately accept. It hurts like hell knowing I will never have it--but at the same time I also realise how fortunate they are that they have parents like theirs, and not parents like mine.)
17th-Sep-2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
I think seeing something done and then seeing it work in a way that is very difficult to rationalize is far more convincing for someone than hearing someone talk about it for years. I'm very glad for all of you that this is happening - sounds like the magic runs strong in your family.
17th-Sep-2007 10:37 pm (UTC)
True, I think this is the first time he's really run into a strong proof of magic. If my grandfather had just mentioned a dream about his wife, sure that could have just been a coincidence. But the fact that so many of the people he mentioned were ones that we specifically invoked, and people he hadn't previously been talking or thinking about, was really kind of impressive. And far more dramatic a result than I was expecting from a highly improv ritual. It's definitely going to be interesting to see where this goes. I'm not sure how strong magic runs on his side of the family, really... I know my little cousins on that side of the family feel Otherkin to me, but neither my father nor my grandmother on that side ever were into magic in any way, nor any of the other adult relatives I've met on that side. Though there's some potential with some distant relatives I haven't met out in Minnesota who are into the SCA and also attend native pow-wows if I recall correctly. I never knew my father's father, though I know I get some of my interest and skill with computers from him, but as far as I know he wasn't into the metaphysical either. On my mother's side there's a clearer connection... a great great aunt or something that was a Spiritualist and worked as a medium. And my mother sometimes claims to see things that aren't physically there, which have coincided with my own impressions at least enough for me to take seriously the fact that she may have seen something even if she's not great at figuring out what it was. And her sister may be elven like me, we have a lot in common, though she's never gone into metaphysical things to the best of my knowledge. The one time my aunt ever played D&D, with some friends who wanted to see for themselves whether or not it was "dangerous" for kids to be playing, she ended up playing an elven ranger. And I was able to guess that would be the race and class she would take, before she even said it. Lots of little things like that seem to run in my family. It's one of the reasons I keep an open mind about otherkin having a genetic component to it, even though other days I hardly see how I could share DNA with my family.
18th-Sep-2007 07:08 am (UTC)
18th-Sep-2007 08:45 am (UTC)
Hey. I wish you and him all the best in this. Hope things will turn for the better there.
18th-Sep-2007 12:39 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! I'm glad you got to play an integral part in your father's and grandfather's initiation/recovery.
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