Two weeks ago I collected my cousin from minuscule Santa Fe airport. We travelled up to Taos together – a Native American pueblo town in norther New Mexico, the scene of my uncle’s tragic death in 1971. I’ve felt drawn there since I turned twenty, as the threads of my family’s grief had, of course, wound themselves into my own nascent life-narrative.
We held a ceremony for Martin – beloved lover, brother, son, father – vanished from earthly form before I could even meet him. The circumstances of his death were so difficult for those who love(d) him that it seems there was something incomplete about those ritual undertakings, such as they were, that took place in honour of his death. Being there I understood precisely why this would be and touched a shadow of the horror his passing left in its wake.
So, to speak to him in ritual space, to support my dear courageously honest cousin in his articulations, to play Charles Mingus’s version of Mood Indigo (my favourite from the wealth of vinyl records from his collection that opened my hungry, teenaged ears and etched themselves on my soul), and to pass on messages from those that still love him, was, for me, a sense of completion – a closing of a precious circle. How we wept.