book review: Texas native and #indieauthor, Sandy Foster Morrison

Just Because You're Dead Doesn't Mean You're GoneJust Because You’re Dead Doesn’t Mean You’re Gone by Sandy Foster Morrison

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you’re not “from here,” then you might think you know something about East Texas from having watched the recent movie “Bernie.” Frankly, the movie is spot on at revealing the snippy, elitist, prejudiced thinking prevalent there (and the horrific twang of speech!).

But this author: grew up there. Her memoir of that experience will make you cringe and groan if you are from here and it will make you exclaim in disbelief if you’re not. But I can tell you from my own Piney Woods roots that her account of “how it was (is)” is all true.

Ms. Foster-Morrison has a breezy tone that sets the reader at ease right away. She is fiercely honest, a laudable act of courage, given her ancestry. I commend her for this.

Her story, a black comedy with tragic moments, is the story of “every-woman”: how marriage, child-rearing, society and family influence and rule our becoming and if we are tenacious to a fault, as this author, having the will to become who she herself determines to be in spite of overwhelming odds against her, how we survive.

Personally, I deeply identified with the main premise: that those who have left their fleshly bodies have not “died,” but in fact carry on communicating with us from beyond, especially when our relationships on this plane have unfinished business.

If you are looking to fantasize and be carried away, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a meaty story, full of unexpected turns and raw emotion, one that will make you laugh and cry, and leave you deep in thought, read this book.

I dare you.

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mourning: lost & found

mourning mother flickr image attributionimage:  “mourning mother” by Jinterwas.  Used with permission of Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

Yesterday, I met a young woman whose only child died last year.

Through tears, she told me that those close to her want her to “just get over it already.”

If you are one who feels uncomfortable when in the presence of pain being experienced by another and so you tell them to buck up and move on, please know that in an emotionally healthy individual, the grieving process takes time.  Lots and lots of time.  What is lost, is lost forever.  And mourning is never “over.”

The pain comes in waves, unexpectedly, profoundly.  And sometimes, for years.

As for me and my own experience of grieving, most recently the loss of both of my parents, and within that context, the perceived permanent loss of any possible reconciliation with them, the process has been ongoing since I first realized they were both in the process of leaving their bodies, until this very day.  It has been more than five years.

The pain has subsided.  It is distant now and thoughts of my loss do not always cause me to dissolve into tears, but I do still mourn for them, for myself, and for this planet full of others mourning.

I continue to allow myself whatever form of process-release I need:  wailing, talking out loud to the deceased (believing they “hear”  and respond to me),  furious dancing, receiving bodywork and energetic intervention, talking with a trusted friend, writing and making art.

Hard-Times-Require-Furious-Dancing-Alice-Walkerimage:  Walker, Alice.  Hard Times Call for Furious Dancing, (New World Library, 2010), book cover.  Illustrations by Shiloh McCloud with Michelle Noe

I am clear on this point:  relationships do not end when one “dies,”  but they do become more difficult to navigate because the other now lives on another plane of existence, communicating in non-linear dream-time, thought waves and forms, scents, signs, nudges, and yes, even visions.

For me, writing and making art are the most significant way I move forward–toward the Light.  The point is movement, not resistance to apparent darkness.  Seeking new insight and understanding regarding what is lost and moving gently toward integration of the new understanding into my life-view and way of being in the world, in relationship, transmutes all negative energy into positive, allowing all experiences to be used for the Highest Good.

When I can truly assimilate and put into practice what I have learned from a relationship and from purposeful, deep reflection on its relational qualities and nuances, studying and accepting which is my part and which is the part of the other and how we became who we are (were) together, then the essence of the relationship is not lost but found because the essential life of it lives in me and, indeed, in all whose lives I touch.

touching water by Augustine Ruiz flicker creative commons attributionimage:  “espejo” (mirror) by Augustin Ruiz.  Used with permission of Creative Commons.  Some rights reserved.

This process work is a profoundly spiritual experience.  My most recent series of art,” the surprising” and my full length book of poetry, what holds her (under submission) are both examples of living this process

Further, when this kind of profound interaction between the worlds takes place, each of us heals and can then, and only then, organically move forward with living our lives as they are now, resurrected in this new form, moving more freely within and between the realms and planes of existence toward Harmony and Love–the Highest Vibrational Frequency.

Om symbol creative commons attributionimage:  “OM” symbol by Karen.  Used with permission of Creative Commons.  Some rights reserved.