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2018-05-10 / Voices

Still Learning From Her

REZ IN THE CITY
BY DANA LONE HILL
OGLALA LAKOTA

It was a hard winter for my family not even to mention it was a long winter. Winter took three significant members of the Lone Hill Tiyospaye, including my mother.

She left his world with such bravery and the way a mother would, with worry about her children, what we would all do without her here to protect us. It is a little hard for me to adjust in a way to now stepping in such a role as the oldest female of the family. It almost makes one wonder as they step into these responsibilities if this is what she was training me for all my life.

I mean in a way you can say no. Because how else is one supposed to know who leaves when and where and what time and how. Your only hope is that your children leave after you and you gave them enough in this life to be able to make productive lives for themselves. You just want them to be ok. Because you are no longer there to guide them, guard them, etc.

We are all quietly taking her loss in certain ways, missing her when we hear a certain song, feeling guilt for not feeding small animals, and remembering certain times she made us laugh. I remember her for her quiet reserved strength, her quirkiness of never knowing who was going to be at our dinner table, whether it be a Vietnam Vet, a member of the Inuit natives from Alaska, a revered leader from AIM, a former GOON, Tom Brokaw, a doctor from England, a millionaire from California, a group of Farsi speaking Persians or just the family but for sure she kept life interesting by surrounding herself with an array of people from all over the world.

She went through life surrounding herself with diverse friends who all could be different by society’s norms. She often said she never felt normal. She was more accepted and receptive to like minded people and in that way opened our lives and hearts up to the world not as society sees it but as she did, in it’s vibrant beautiful hues of all people and embracing the eccentric.

Because she was, eccentric. The word itself rolls off the tongue that way eccentric and graceful at the same time. What can I say but she gave us the gifts of the world that didn’t cost a thing. Because in the end, that is what mattered. It was never about things to me. Things that can gather dust. It was about the experiences in life. It was about embracing the essence of all the essentials life has to offer, the freedom to be yourself, and the beauty of knowing when to let go. Which she did, not with a fight but with a beautiful exit to the next world.

Because as the Lakota saying goes “Men do the tough work, while women do the impossible.”

And that was what my mother taught me with her strength and bravery. While I will grieve this last year, I will also release after. So she can be the beautiful, free, and loving spirit she was in life on Earth and after.

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