Learning from Laughter and the Trees: An Armful of Bones

20190613_103426.jpgBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I had never noticed how the melting snow of spring makes way for bones. One May morning, we wake early to walk the few acres of woods in the thumb of Michigan. Every few minutes, someone calls out “over here!” and we all rush over with our eyes on the composting leaves. A spine bone here. A skull there. Teeth still nestled in a jaw bone. A river otter? Fox? Racoon? Isaac tries to fit the bones back together in place and using his overly abundant 6-year-old animal knowledge attempts to determine the mysterious creatures. Later he will riffle through pages of his animal track books for further guessing. Cedar on the other hand just wants to fill his small arms with bones until he has so many he asks me to carry the extras. It’s not my first instinct to hold skulls in my hand with any delight or ease. Continue reading “Learning from Laughter and the Trees: An Armful of Bones”

Sermon: Cockroaches are my superhero too?

Isaac wearing spiders and wrapped in a spider web

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
September 30, 2018 at Day House Catholic Worker

James 5:1-6

“Guess what Mommy? Cockroaches are awesome!!!” Isaac said to be right after school last week.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, they can hold their breath under water for a whole hour! (or at least 4 minutes) And they have a hard shell! Also, they took lady bugs into space where it was below 0 degrees and they were still alive. So lady bugs can live in space!!!”

It was with such joy and enthusiasm as if these bugs had super powers!

Continue reading “Sermon: Cockroaches are my superhero too?”

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Under the Apple Tree Again

Grandpa, Cedar, and Isaac digging the hole for Scatters under the apple tree.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

The rain is pouring down with periodic rumbles of thunder. It is cold and the sun has set, but we can tell that there is a need in Isaac’s heart to make this trek. We put on hats and shoes and give into the rain as we walk down the street and into the backyard of my dad’s house.

It’s too dark to see the loosened soil, but we bend down low and Isaac says, “This is where we buried Scatters.” Cedar, who is almost two, bends down too and after a minute looks up at Erinn and says “Meow” and points to the dirt. Erinn says, “Is this where Scatters is? Did he die?” Cedar responds, “Meow die.” Continue reading “Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Under the Apple Tree Again”

First and Final Acts: Water as Sacrament

100_2372By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

(A reflection written about water and homecomings- the birth of Isaac three years ago and my mom’s passing ten years ago)

Ringing out the warm wash cloth, I laid it upon her face in my final act of love upon this body that had held my own. Drops upon her lips reminded me of a million kisses upon my forehead and pausing on her eyelids I was struck by the power in a glance pierced with love for me. I washed her this hair feeling beneath it to the scars and bone shifts drawing me back to a dozen surgical waiting rooms. In all its simplicity, water empowered within us a sacrament of love and grief. The water which nourished her life with endless joy and beauty now called her home.

In a handcrafted simple wooden box her ashes dwell as deep as we could dig. To earth she has returned. I sit in the rain watching and envying the pine needles that rest upon her body. Even now, long after death, the water nourishes her. My son waddles over picking up pine cones and rests them on his Grandma Jeanie’s little patch of ground unaware yet blessed just the same.

My love for him came with a big gush of water that had held him close for many months. Rushing over his body and down my legs, water baptized us both in a commitment of love altering life forever. Warm washcloth in hand, I washed the blood from his face giving equal care to learn by heart his soft lips and tiny eyelids. As I bathed this beautiful child with water, I welcomed him home.

Learning from Laughter: Fish Funeral

shovelBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

“Keep your eye on these fish for a few days. You don’t want him to be around if one of them dies,” she whispers so Isaac can’t hear.

For his two year old birthday, we got three fish which he quickly named “Two, Baubee, and Three.” He’s learning to count and there really isn’t anything more exciting at the moment than the numbers two and three. He can tell them apart and feeds them every day. And when bedtime comes around he refuses to turn off their light because, he insists, the fish do not want to go to bed- just like him.

Yesterday, one of them did died. It started growing something gross on its face and by the time we got home, Baubee was gone. The store attendant’s voice was ringing in my head, “you don’t want him to see if one of them dies.” Actually, I think we do. Continue reading “Learning from Laughter: Fish Funeral”