Buying a Vowel

My brother called me late last night. And although he said initially that nothing was the matter, he then proceeded to tell me just how hard his life has become lately. He seemed surprised that he was admitting this all to me on Thanksgiving just minutes before midnight.

And he laughed the entire phone call.

He said with what he was up against, that crying was not an option. His words seared into my heart and by the end of the call I too found myself laughing. And when he eventually hung up, I too found it impossible to cry, I was so heart sick, I was past tears.

I wandered blindly around my kitchen compulsively reaching for food till it hit me. The reason my brother called me minutes before midnight on Thanksgiving … is because I am the only person who he can tell the truth about his life. And at the moment, his life is fucking impossible. And that brought me back to brink of tears again, only much, much deeper. I fell asleep finally on the verge of sobbing.

This morning as I lay in bed, I thought about all the people in my life where crying is not an option at the moment. There is too much coming at them and it looks like it is starting to speed up. My brother is facing heart stopping stress, backbreaking work and utter exhaustion to hold off complete financial ruin … and he is losing the fight. My friend K is facing a life threatening illness with very slim chances of fending off having to make a terminal choice. And my friend S just buried her father and has to fly home to the west coast while leaving her grieving mother on the east coast. And then there are the myriad of friends facing hard choices about what to do with their ailing parents who increasingly need almost constant care.

Everywhere I look, I see loved ones facing some very hard choices and looking desperately for some new options, some alternatives to what seems like impossible choices.

And so today ... For my brother, my friends, and people suffering everywhere who may feel sometimes that crying is not an option … I pray to the gods. I pray that the tightness loosen, and that the rough areas recede. I pray for sweetness and joy to fill their lungs and heart in whatever way brings them some respite. I pray for concrete answers to desperate prayers. I pray for forgiveness and resolution. I pray for compassion and miracles. I pray for lightness and real laughter that eases away despair. I pray for divine intervention and love. I pray for second chances and fool’s luck.

Today, I pray that in this hard, hard world of constriction, restriction and limits, that my tears, my real and welcomed tears on their behalf, will give them what they need to buy a vowel.

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Fri, 11/23/2007 - 10:46am.

Sylvia (not verified) | Sun, 11/25/2007 - 5:02pm

Just want to thank you for sharing your deepest heartfelt trials and tribulations...I don't have much to say other than thank you for keeping on, being strong for yourself and others even 2 years after Katrina...I live in Boston but spent a year in NO at Dillard..It was only recently (last month) that I found someone close to me that I didnt know the where abouts of ...He is well but my heart and prayers go out to all of the Gulf Coast and what they continue to endure...My heart has never been so heavy and so ashamed of this country, other than slavery of course....

Rather than go on with never ending emotions...I will say I know of an organizaiton that has been to Mississippi to assist teachers/after school staff in dealing with the children's trauma after Katrina. They are called Project Joy. I do not work for them but attended a Leadership Institute course entitled "Resiliency, Behavior Management and Mental Health in After School Programs" in which the founder, Steve Gross was one of the presenters.
While I was intitially VERY impressed with him and his new organization, it wasn't until I attended one of his recent trainings that I truly saw the profound, life changing methodologies they embrace in relation to healthy child development but more importantly, how to deal with children that have endured overwhelming trauma.

As someone that still works in the Out of School time field, I can state with confidence, they truly know what they are doing...They are amazing and life changing! I hope you check out their web site : are powerful...

I wish you all the best as that whole region is in many people's prayers, even 2 years later....I just wish I could do more....

God bless. Keep your faith...Thank you for sharing...Is your name really Katrina?????

: )

Love and hope coming at ya! - S. Jackson of Boston!


Reya Mellicker (not verified) | Wed, 11/28/2007 - 8:25pm

I'm so sorry to hear this sad news, Katrina. Much love, warmth and strong energy is headed in your direction.

Thank you for shedding the tears he can't. Thank you.


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Recent comments

  • Nephthys (not verified)

    I've been with Firefly for a number of years, I recently left my position at The Firefly Community to pursue other dreams but to be clear how much I was involved before I address the statements made, I was a teacher, Priestess, member of the Inner Circle of the Council of Elders, Course Contributor, Clergy, Delegate and Divination reader so I was quite involved with Firefly on many levels.

    I am offended by your statement that Firefly is cultish. Given my involvement as listed above I can safely say that Firefly members are not cultish in behaviour nor is Firefly cultish in of itself. I am no longer involved with Firefly in any strong capacity other than that of a student so I can also safely say this is not coming from a blind faith position. I will be the first to admit that part of the reason I left Firefly was because I did not agree with some of the changes Lady Iris intended to make, that being said, I don't support the idea that abuse should be turned into a political statement.

    I don't know Sean and I am not close to Lady Iris (I live in a different country) and have not commented on the situation with her marriage but some of his behaviours are reprehensible. If a President did this he would be impeached and booted so I fail to see why it should be ignored and relegated to 'personal marital issues' when behaviour like this is indicative of larger psychological issues. If Sean Bennett is allowed to use and abuse women in this fashion, eventually he would work his way through the single ladies in the OHF and what would you be left with?

    2 years 1 week ago
  • Virginia Carper (not verified)

    I for one have been pondering this question. Iris did highlight a valuable point - how are checks and balances established to prevent potential abuse and to air concerns. These are hard lessons that groups need to learn.

    Without denying people their agency, how do you set up a system that will prevent abuse by other members? How far does a group go to ensure the mental and emotional safety of the adult members?

    For example, I know with my disability (brain injury), I would deeply resent being told that the group is looking out for my best interests. It would seem to be paternalistic on the group's part to assume that I cannot fend for myself. But because of my disability, I can be easy prey for a con-artist. How do you solve a dilemma like that? Can this be encoded or is this sort of thing too nebulous to pin down?

    2 years 2 weeks ago
  • Virginia Carper (not verified)

    I have a traumatic brain injury.

    That being said, I got caught in the cross-fire in the Firefly Campaign, since I did not get with the program - i.e. Firemoon was abused by a sexual predator, who for the sake of the community had to be removed. I was shocked at how this mantra was repeated over and over everywhere it could be. I was shocked at how the Firefly folks did not identify themselves as they sought to achieve their goals. It left a poor taste about Firefly in my mouth since I started to regard them as "cultish", incapable of independent thought or discussion. Also it disturbed me how the Firefly folks who had nothing to do with DC, carried water in the campaign as well.

    Since I had lot of free time, I researched the consistent posters and everything I could find, and an disturbing picture arose. The one you described of a one-sided campaign to achieve a stated end, without proper identification or perspective.

    As for the brain injury - I got raked over the coals for making light of the issue from an avowed healer, who thought my injury was a ruse. That scared me into thinking that perhaps my impression of the "cultishness" of the Firefly group was true. (I know cult is a loaded word, but I cannot think of the word that would indicate a group of people, emotionally inflamed with one mission in mind, and not allowing any dissent.)

    2 years 3 weeks ago
  • Kali Firemoon (not verified)


    I am so sorry that we have not met yet since it so obvious from your comments that you are a close personal friend of Iris’s and know all there is to know about the situation from a front row seat. I mean, after all, one who has seen a woman four months pregnant, losing weight and physically appearing to not be pregnant would of course understand the emotional, and yes, physical stress she was under. But of course, since you were there I don’t need to remind you of that. So lets move on to the rest of the story, you know where her husband chose to have unprotected sex with someone else, who I am sure was a complete virgin and posed no risk to mother or child, and then husband went home to engage in carnal activities with his wife, confident that his unborn child was never at risk. Yes, I am sure that all of your female students understand why you are firmly in the husband’s court. After all, it’s always the woman’s fault when marriages go bad. Or at least that is what I seem to glean from your article. Yes, I am Firefly, and I was one of the one’s chosen to help this woman after she was victimized by this predator who seems to have persuaded the pagan community that it is acceptable to treat not one, not two but at last count four woman as though they were simply a means to his end. And BTW I know she attempted to alert the community to her situation and apparently no one felt it worth even a cursory investigation. Oh yes, one more example of us not wanting to rock any one’s boat. I will tell you that in response to her story, several other pagan women have come forward with similar stories of abuse reported to the male members of a community met with similar disdain and an obvious desire to hide this type of behavior. Do I believe it happened this time, yes; do I believe that this community is willing, no matter the cost, to hide this type of behavior, yes. No one wants to call attention to the pagan community because we already have an undeserved stigma. But that does not mean we should allow behavior none of us condone simply because we are afraid of controversy. If one of us needs be sanctioned, then we either stand and sanction or accept the stigma so many would place upon us. We need to “police” our own. When four and probably five women come forth and tell the same story of predatory behavior against women we either act or fold the tents and go home. So I suggest you talk to all of them before you post any more pontifications. I also realize you can never post this but we both know you will have read it.

    2 years 3 weeks ago
  • Cara Schulz (not verified)

    Hello Katrina,
    Although we know one another, mostly online but also when we met at Sacred Harvest Festival, for your readers let me note that I'm the Managing Editor of PNC-News and the Co-Editor of PNC-Minnesota. I was the primary author of the PNC-News statement that you are writing about.

    The persons who contacted me asking when PNC would cover this were not Firefly members. Most were not local to DC, but were Pagans and polytheists in other parts of the country who had donated to the Pagan community center in DC and naturally had an interest in it. Why would they contact me? Because I'm the Managing Editor and people often contact me to ask if PNC is covering a story or to request that we cover a story. That's how we get many of our articles - through our readers.

    As for why PNC-News put two different situations in one statement, it's because they are related in nature and both needed to be addressed promptly.

    If anyone has any questions, we encourage them to contact us and ask them.

    2 years 3 weeks ago
  • Kat, Emralde (not verified)

    Thank you for this perspective. I very much appreciate the voice of the elders as I struggle with my own (not-voiced) feelings about this situation and its outcome.

    2 years 5 weeks ago