Ciunemteni Caningqalria Naugguirviinani What is before us that cannot be avoided

by Ina Pavila

I am reminiscing about coming in from the cold, with my skates on, to a warm, clean home and the smell of food cooking on the stove. My mother and father in the living room, watching me as I take my skates off. The feeling of security, love and peace in the home knowing that I am taken care of and cherished.

I can hear the humming that my father did, all the time, as he was doing things in and out of the house; the smell of bread baking, oh the memories of those days still linger on to this day. What I would trade just to sit in front of the couch to play with the inuguaq (cloth doll) my mom used to make us out of pieces of fabric.

I remember using an empty match box for a bed. Those were the days where I felt safe and sound, without any worries… then life happens.

All of us have experienced loss in some form; loss of a mother, father, child, husband and the list goes on. Every time someone close to us dies, they take a part of who we are with them it seems. I had not realized that the death of my mother had impacted me greatly until just recently. My mother died about almost twelve years ago and I went downhill after that.

A lot of us that have lost a loved one, grieve in different measures. I have realized that there are various degrees of grief with each death experienced. The loss of my husband had a different degree of grief as did my mother and father. How we deal with grief nonetheless; will determine how quickly or slowly we heal.

I had chosen a wrong way of dealing with my grief. I started drinking and perhaps drinking to cope with my sorrow prolonged the healing that was taking place within. It was not until I realized that I had to change the way that I was dealing with my grief that I made it a point to get some help.

I had gone through counseling and within that year, weaned off of drinking. I have some cravings at times, when I am going through discomfort, but am able to – like Peter Jacobs Sr. had said; leave it be and it will go away, next thing you know you are not thinking about it.

We cannot change some things that we have experienced in life that are beyond our control; like death, but we have to recognize the fact that despite what we are facing, we can control how we choose to respond to it. I know that it is very hard to lose someone in our lives, but we cannot allow to lose ourselves when we have children and families to take care of, knowing that they are relying on us for the same security in which we ourselves were cultivated by.

I cannot help but the think of the Serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Life happens, things happen that are beyond our control; Acceptance helps us to release those that have gone before us. We will begin to learn that all along they had never really left; they are in our hearts. The same love that my mother gave me, I am able to give my children and grandchildren; the same peace she had, I can have in my home; the same security that I felt when she was around, I realize was inside of me all this time.

We all have to address our concerns and/or problems; communicate with immediate family or friends. Nothing is impossible!

Ina Pavila works and writes through the Orutsararmiut Traditional Native Council’s Methamphetamine Suicide Prevention Initiative.