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MESSAGE FROM GRANDMOTHER BEATRICE’S DAUGHTER

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Dear Grandmother’s Community,

We are honored and moved to be invited to Menla for this historical meeting that the Thirteen Grandmothers (now twelve) are having in August 25-28. It has been a great honor for all four of us (my siblings and I) to have at different times traveled with our mother, Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance. She taught us many things as we visited her Grandmother sisters in their homelands to pray at different times in these past twelve years. Those wonderful trips and teachings are keeping all four of us buoyed up with resilience and strength as we wake up each day without our beloved mother here with us.

As we journey through this year, we are walking everyday with her Sacred Bundle-Nagi/Soul and we have to follow protocols. We are in the keeping of her Soul Ceremony each day. My sister Anita and I have cut our hair as a sign of mourning. Our mother Rita (Grandmother Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance) has also cut her hair. Until our hair grows out we cannot participate in anything out in public.

Our mother’s instructions to us included: when any family loses a loved one, here are some of the things that you can do: wipe the tears of the family, give them water, feed them sacred food, burn sacred tobacco, load our sacred pipes and pray for them, wipe them down with eagle feathers, smudge them with sage, cedar or sweetgrass, and comb their hair.

These and many other procedures make-up the ceremonial rituals during this time. I’m so appreciative that these twelve Grandmothers want to do that for us. It will be the first time anyone has offered to cry with us. The guardians of the ceremonies have stressed to us that we have four days following her last sundown to cry. That there are only four times during each day that we can cry: sunrise, high noon, sundown and midnight.

Now we can start to step out into public events again and go about our work. Thank you to the host and organizers of this event. Your actions are bringing a spring back into our steps, remembering how enjoyable food tastes and that it is ok to miss mom and cry now and then. We’ve been waiting for that for these past five months.

Our mother told us: “If you need me, call me and I will come.” I know my beloved mother means what she says, so I’m saving my “calling” her for the time when I’m really really needing her.

Thank you again to the Grandmothers for this special blessing that they have extended to us at this time. I know mom sees Creator’s face today so when we do call her, we will receive the blessings we need. It’s just hard to let her go.

Blessings to all and I look forward to seeing you at the retreat!

Loretta Afraid of Bear Cook