I would say that my heart has been breaking but in truth it actually broke. It was the third story this week. Stories of another woman murdered. Each one was senseless, marginalized, disowned and disregarded. In any given week I am sure that I hear thousands of these stories. But those numbers become too large to make an impact. They get rolled and curled into statistics, the greatest lies of all. No, it is the ones about an individual that have the most affect. Leave a mark.
The way out is an old one, a descent. A journey into the Sacred Cave of Darkness once again and each time is unique. There are a few things in common with the descent of Goddess Inanna/Ishtar. At each step I must give up something. My defenses, comforts, protections, rhythms, righteousness, certainty, and finally my beliefs and values including my Cronehood are taken from me. I am laid bare, alone, wounded and exposed. All of my tears have already been shed. What is left is emptiness, the final price of entry. Having been here before will not matter. This is not a place of comfort. Nor is it a punishment. It is another initiation, held in a place of complete darkness. Continue reading
Kathryn Louise Truitt Ellenberger
On 19 May 2013, my mother died, four days after her hundredth birthday.
She’d been living for weeks on ice chips and low-dose morphine, regularly leaving her body to walk and talk with my father, then returning to report to my brother at her bedside and to me via long-distance phone. No one knew when she would leave and not return, but everyone believed that her departure was imminent.
Five days before her centennial, however, she suddenly said to my brother, “It’s only a week away; maybe I can make it.” And she revived, sending the nursing-home staff into a frenzy of last-minute party planning. When the morning of her birthday dawned sunny and warm, they came to dress her for a convertible ride around the small town of Reinbeck, Iowa, and she said, “Hallelujah, I thought I’d never get out of this place alive.”
The convertible was a bright yellow muscle car with the top down, and the route had been planned so that town residents could come out on the curb to sing “happy birthday” to her at various stops along the way. It all worked like a charm, and she made the driver stop three times in addition, to listen to the birds singing and to watch squirrels run up and down the tree trunks. After a half-hour ride, they returned to her room, which had been transformed into a festival of balloons and cakes and flowers and visitors with cameras.
The next morning, she slipped into a coma and was gone three days later. And the morning following her death, I woke with the realization that there was no one left but me who knew the stories of her early life. In a rush to send something to my brother before her grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered for her funeral, I wrote the following:
Some Things You May Not Know About the Young Kathryn Louise Truitt Ellenberger: