Yesterday I lost my beloved sister Pauline Bedonie to an unexpected car accident. She was in her mid 50’s with what seemed like a long remaining life in head of her. Pauline is/was my adopted Sister from my adopted Navajo family. We adopted each other, and it was Pauline who fully took me into her clan in a ceremony in 2008, at which time she instructed me to identify myself as coming from the Naakaii Dine’é people, the Mexican Bear Clan.
I have always taken this adoption seriously, and even more seriously I have taken her teachings and the example she has set for me in relation to the energy with which she held the sacred Navajo ceremonial traditions, songs, and ways of being. The Navajo people have a saying they use to refer to the elderly’s, those who have lived long lives adhering to the traditions and having reached a point in life where their traditions have led them to a place of wisdom and serenity. They call it, “walking in beauty.” By Navajo standards Pauline was not yet an elder, though she had a great many people who affectionately called her Auntie or Sister, and was revered for her gentleness, great patience, and a deep understanding of the ceremonies and the energies they hold. In many ways she walked in beauty.
I write this blog to you this day, not so much to share any specific wisdom, but rather in death to introduce you to the life that she was, as with each blog I’ve written, and likely with each succeeding one, you have and will hear Pauline’s voice speaking through me. That is the imprint she’s had on my life.
In my Navajo teachings I know that she is with us now even more so than when she was in her physical embodiment, though presently this does not serve as much of a salve to the wound of her loss. I know she is now with the “Holy Ones,” as she so affectionately referred to them, and will be at the side of her son Rolando and daughter Tashina for all their remaining days. It is always those of us who remain that suffer the loss, not the ones who leave us. This is a simple fact of life, not necessarily easy to accept, but real.
Thank you for reading this day. May you…may we…always hold our dear ones close and cherish their days with us as a precious gift. For Pauline, I will hold true to her teachings out of respect for the mother, sister, auntie, and human being that she was. Of many things, she taught me patience, the importance of a loving intention, the importance of holding to the traditions, and that Spirit can work through us in a variety of ways.
I will miss you Pauline.