Today, Friday the 13th, 2 days after the sweat lodge. I did not write this yesterday (or post this until today) as I was letting the experience sink in as I reflected upon it. Today, the day of my Grandfathers viewing, I am ready to write. Before I poor my heart out about one of the most powerful experiences of healing I have ever had I must share something with you.
I have many people ask me why I write. Especially, why do I write such vulnerable personal feelings and thoughts and put them out so others can see them? I will go into this in much greater depth in a future article but I wanted to touch on it briefly here.
I John C Rogers believe in living life on the out side. I believe in the beauty of a world with out secrets, a world where each person openly shares their joy, pain, love, and passion so that all might see, gain strength, learn and be inspired from one another. I believe this so much that I have often found myself baring my soul to complete strangers. I believe this so much that I share this moment with you.
Wednesday night at 6 pm 5 members of the Campbell clan and 2 adopted members (my dad and My Brother in-law) showed up with an open and trusting heart. We had all been asked to come with an intention for the evening. Mine was, as I said in my previous article, to let go physically of my grandfather and to forge a bond with him spiritually.
I went into the start of the event with a belief that my clan was going to be a mess of tears and wailing from the pain of losing our grandfather. I would like to share with you my experience of what happened that night. I will respect the experience of the others that were there, as well as the ancient ritual, by sharing my experience only. I am going to share it in the form of a letter to the men in attendance and extend the message to all of Grandfathers’ family.
Brothers, Campbell’s, clansmen, I come before you humbled and in gratitude for you. During that night as I was given the opportunity to connect and reflect I found myself in complete awe of you.
During the moment when I was invited to reflect on the masculine I took pause and reflected on Grandpa and the physical things I will miss; his smile, his solid hug, his toothpicks, him walking around trying to get us to eat more food, the way he told powerful stories and made them seem like the great events were done with ease, they way he spoke with certainty and more.
I shed some tears as I acknowledge such a powerful physical being as Grandfather. As I felt deeper into the moment and Grandpa’s strength I found myself noticing and feeling the souls of each of you there with me. Here I was surrounded by some of the noblest of men I have ever met. My tears became tears of gratitude for Grandpa and for you.
Later that night as we were given the opportunity to connect with our ancestry, I felt grandpa so strong that I could see him kneeling down in front of me looking at me with wisdom and love in his eyes. I had the thought I should be crying. This was the time I thought all of my family would emotionally lose it. But I was not crying.
Instead I found myself yearning to speak to grandpa. I thanked him for the lessons he taught me, I told him I was going to miss him and I promised him I would carry him in my heart for ever. Upon whispering that, I stopped and my mind started to analyze what it would look like to carry him in my heart forever. I had the fear come up that I might forget, that I might forget how he looked, how he spoke, what his message was.
vAs I started to analyze deeper, my heart jumped back on line and I once again noticed grandpa. He leaned over to me and put his hand on my shoulder and I could feel the gratitude in his heart for me. I could feel the gratitude in his heart for the other men there. And amongst my fears of forgetting him he said “John you don’t ever have to forget, if you ever want to remember look at your brothers, look at your cousins, look in the mirror”.
At that moment I realized that Grandpa had stood so tall that he had inspired us all to walk in his foot steps. That we his children and grandchildren, are living examples of grandpa and his messages. Each of us in our own way carrying on a part of this great man.
Instantly I saw a flash of each of the members of his clan, OF OUR CLAN and I saw them through grandpa’s eyes. Phillip, with your heart the size of the universe and beautiful tenderness.
Josh, your thrust for knowledge and the courage like that of a commander and leader of men. Adam, with your strength and certainty in God and acceptance that is so strong you are willing to stand as a bridge from your religion to the world.
Casey, your absolute loyalty and love. A man who even with the world on his shoulders can inspire others to feel peace and at home. Grant, your open acceptance and willingness to be a support for others, even a complete stranger.
Ryan, the nobility that can lead a kingdom by example and heart alone even in the toughest moments. And I saw the rest of grandfather’s posterity there with us that night and I felt a pride and honor that I will never forget as grandfather once again whispered “you will remember”.
In that moment I became aware of the calmness around me; instead of the sobs of loss I felt a sea of love. I found the peace and strength to carry on knowing I will always have grandpa in my heart and more so then ever in my life I felt proud to belong to a heritage of honor, love, and leaders. Who each in their own way carry on Grandfathers message.
I stand here as a witness to each of your greatness and the greatness of our grandfather and heritage. If you ever feel alone, if you ever start to think that you don’t remember just look around… and remember. I love you all and I love you grandpa!