Recently the word pilgrimage has been on my mind. An etymology source notes: Pilgrimage: "to go on a journey" as a pilgrim, seeker, offering homage".
Click here www.etymonline.com
So why am I commenting on this idea?
Our first journey, our first pilgrimage, I believe, is our birth. Or maybe even earlier, our return to the life ahead of us as a soul, then a sperm or egg, fetus...No matter, I am going on a pilgrimage. A journey to pay homage to my mother and her family in Northwestern North Dakota.
My Grandfather, Franz Hjelmer Brundell, was born in Northeastern Sweden, close to Finland. When he arrived in this country at 17 years of age he spent time in Minneapolis with his family before heading to North Dakota to homestead land. I am not certain of the timing, but he created there a sod house for his family: wife Hannah ( her parents were from Sweden ); daughter Lillian, sons Elmer and Quentin and Milly. ( My mother ).
I remember my Mother telling me about tying a rope to the house ( after it was built ) and the barn during the winter so that no one would get lost in the snow!
My Mother's pilgrimage was 83 years long, and she died in 2007. She elected to go off her oxygen and die. Strong-willed to the end she was determined to live her life her way until her last breath. Shortly after her death one of my brothers did carry his portion of her ashes to North Dakota to scatter on her father's grave. However, the ashes I have are still sitting in my closet. Waiting. Waiting to be spread.
And this is the time. In late June I will take a road-trip pilgrimage across Northern Idaho and Montana to Power's Lake, North Dakota. With the ashes. And my dog, Mallow.
At first when I decided to go, to do this, I thought "oh good, a road trip". But as time has gone on, and with the help of a dear friend, I have realized that this is more for me. After all this time it is the final, deep letting go of my Mother. A way to pay homage to the Grandfather I never knew. To honor the land that held that family - my family - for many years. Homage to the journey across the ocean, across land and forest to put down roots. To homestead. I am really not sure what to expect. And yet, I am willing to go. To journey. To be a pilgrim. To seek. To honor. And be open to the outcome.
So this is my pilgrimage - only one of many of course that we all experience or undertake - willingly or not.
Pilgrimage: what is yours? How are you a pilgrim right now? What journey have you already undertaken? What journey are you preparing for? What homage are you going to pay at the end?
Consider that it is never too late..never too late to reach for, to aspire to, to dream of what our heart's are longing for. Never. Never.
If you are at all interested, I am creating a website of my family www.minvackerfamilj.com,
My Beautiful Family, with photos and captions.