My throat was closing tight, and oxygen was getting scarce. I itched in places that sent shivers of fear through me. Yet, I couldn’t give in to the fear, not there, not anywhere. I am the strong one, the calm one who can always be counted on to cover for everybody else. Why should I go to the people who won’t even let me finish a sentence, never mind shut up and listen?
So I go to the one place, and to the people I know will listen. I can trust them to care, I have trusted them with my deepest sorrows, and my quiet joys and they have loved me the same, and supported me no matter what I have or haven’t done. And now they have gifted me with a safer place, seated at the hearth of my favourite Goddess, Hestia-
She is the One who warms the home, and guides the children, the One that feeds everyone happily and impartially, and takes pride in the homeliest of tasks. The One Woman who can find happiness in a sink of dirty dishes, and the laundry to be folded and put away. The All-Mother who makes sure everyone has their vitamins, and warm dry slippers.
You will see her hand in rows of home-canned food, patchwork quilts, crocheted afghans, and daintily embroidered handkerchiefs. You will hear her in the songs that echo of family, and shared laughter.
It is to her I turn. She is brimming over with comfort and love, in her arms I can admit the fear and helplessness that gripped me when I struggled for breath, and knew how bad I was getting; even though those around me doubted that what I felt was real.
She has the most comforting tones of my mother’s voice
(happy memories in my heart),
The soul-borne empathy
(we understand one another so well)
Of my brother Matt, and the ineffable
Ability to awaken my mischief
(necessary for someone of my moody nature)
Like my brother Jim.
And yet, nothing like them at the same time, Hestia carries the wisdom of always watching those around her with a protective eye- but is it She who teaches us that Parents must let their Children fly or fall on their own eventually, or they will never believe in themselves, nor trust themselves to weather difficult life-lessons.
She is also the one to remind us that our sorrows make us one with everyone around us, and our kindnesses will make us welcome to all who have been touched by us. And yet, it is no exaggeration to speak of the She-Bear protecting her cubs, or the Lionesses in a pride mothering one another’s litters.
She’s the one that gets up at Midnight to check on restless sleepers, and quiet little coughs. The one who rises first, to start coffee and breakfast for a family that overflows bloodlines.
She is the keeper of family histories, and the funny, naughty things that dignified elders did in their youth. She will show you pictures of people you will never meet, and tell you they are family.
It is wrapped in her love, warmed by her protection, and strengthened by her belief in me that I am become my best. She is the Teacher, Care Taker, Feeder, Nurturer, Taker of Temperatures, Maker of Treats, and She Whose Kiss Makes All Things Better.