Samhain, or Halloween, is a day to honor the ancestors.
I have special feelings for several amazing women whose shoulders I stand on.
In the only photo of my great grandmother, I see a grim faced woman clutching a purse.
She was born in the 1860's, and she came to this country following 5 of her children, who saved enough money to bring her to Coney Island, where she watched several of her grandchildren, never able to communicate with them because she never learned English.
She had seen her own father hung to die by the Cossacks and had witnessed huge suffering in the Pograms. Every single one of her European relatives would perish in the 30's and 40's.
Her daughter, my grandmother, was put on a train alone at age 13 from a small town near the Romanian border. The train went the wrong way, the ocean liner she took sank when it hit an iceberg, and the street car when she arrived in New York caught fire, a story she would tell gleefully 70 years later.
She survived 5 husbands and the death of one infant, she worked and worked and worked, then when she could finally retire in her 60's, she bought a horse to ride and learned to dance.
She spent the last years of her life teaching yoga in San Diego and folk dancing in Israel, always telling funny stories and laughing away her cares.
I stand on the shoulders of these amazing women.
I will honor their memory by dancing and laughing as I get older, too.
I will honor the amazing hard physical labor they lived with most of their lives, and I will remember their stories to tell my children and their children.
"As a white candle / In a holy place, / So is the beauty / Of an aged face." --Joseph Campbell