. . . on Sisterhood

Today I am thinking about sisterhood and about how special that bond is. Did you know that there is more to sisterhood than the sisters we are born with? It turns out we are partly what our genetics hand us, and also what we make up for ourselves. After the untimely death of my brother last year, I was left with a huge void. But, because of his passing new family members have emerged.

Immediately after my brother’s death, his ex-wife, from whom I had been alienated, required help managing the impact of the crisis. There were a plethora of ways Dave’s demise affected her sons, but one son, in particular, needed a lot of attention. Throughout the next twelve months, we collaborated on strategies to navigate the grief and get access to essential services for my nephews. Through this process, my sister-in-law Denise and I rediscovered our friendship and recommitted to each other. A deep and abiding respect grew out of devastating circumstances and a new Goddess-sisterhood was formed which remains deep and ongoing.

DavidMimiJoyAnother sister that emerged after Dave’s passing was Mimi. We worked on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at Betsey Johnson as sales girls in the 1980s. After I introduced Dave and her they began dating, ultimately living together until he met and married Denise in 1989. Michelle and I remained Christmas-card friends through the years but Dave and she resumed a deep friendship after their subsequent divorces in California.

When our family took an extended trip to Scotland over the summer to commemorate my brother’s life and passing, Mimi asked if she could come along. Of course, I said yes. Then, one night in Scotland after a day of storytelling and crying in the kitchen, it occurred to me that we might both mitigate our loss by declaring our sisterhood. Our mutual losses became a bridge to a reimagined family. The next morning we announced our commitment to becoming sisters to our children. Not a week goes by that I don’t get or give a text beginning with the phrase: Dear Sister.

Today, I arrived back at the Museum of Motherhood in Florida and met with Dawn Parker who managed the space and completed her Spirited Woman Summer Residency. This grant came to us through Nancy Mills, who was recommended by my West Coast Mamapalooza Coordinator, Stacy Robin— another sister. Many sisters. Many opportunities. I give a nod to all my sisters and meditate on my bountiful family. I pray we can all feel the connection that is ours to acknowledge. Meanwhile, wishing Dawn the best and opening myself to whatever this next cycle brings in terms of fresh beginnings and the ever-expanding circle of friends who make up this beautiful human family.



Trip of a Lifetime

(A letter to my friend upon the completion of our travels)

Dear Karin- I hope this note finds you great.

I am just now winding up forty-five days (and counting) of life changing travels. Zena and I left St. Pete, Fla. on May 27th and I am back here in the Tampa airport heading to Ohio. It is July 16th. If you add all that up it equals fifty days on the road with most of the time spent abroad.

Our trip brought us to NYC for MaMaPaLooZa and a visit with family and friends. From there, we headed to London for a week. It was so wonderful to see you there and spend time. High tea and the boat ride around the Thames were real highlights!

Then, my dear old friend Terry and his wife Michelle whisked us off to their recently restored villa in Tuscany. The trip to Perugia airport was uneventful, but the van transport into the mountains was a real hair-raiser. Their estate was magnificent-ten rooms in total-unearthed ancient stone ruins recently restored and finished with modern amenities. We swam in their pool, practiced yoga, and ate and drank all nite, every night. Friends floated in and out of their expansive kitchen throughout the afternoons and in the evenings we explored hidden mountaintop villages including the more popular destinations like Cortona. In Cortona I purchased a beautiful gold and silver necklace from a third generation jeweler. I think it gives me super powers, but more about that later.I have blogged about most of the trip online at MarthaJoyRose.com if you want to hear more about Florence, Rome, and our visit to the Amalfi Coast.

The second portion of our visit took us to Scotland to meet up with nephew Harry, all my kids, brother Dart and his wife Jennifer as well as two of their children. My Dear departed brother Dave was the catalyst for this portion of the adventure. We were looking for ways to process his untimely passing and honor his life. In lieu of a Viking burial at Venice Beach in California (we would never have gotten the permits), we determined that Findhorn Beach in Scotland might be a great second option.

The day we traveled to Findhorn was cold and blustery, about fifty Fahrenheit with misty rain. Brody took the lead in gathering sticks and ferns to build a rudimentary mini-raft the size of a 11 by 8 piece of paper. We all contributed: twine, feathers, flowers, shells. Finally, we wrapped a bit of his ashes in medical gauze, courtesy of Zena who carries a Red Cross kit the size of a small suitcase with her everywhere.

Together we carried this raft down to the edge of the sea procession style with one of the kids playing bagpipe music on their cell phone. At the water’s edge, Harry took the raft, accompanied by his cousins, and swam it out beyond the breakers. Needless to say, it was a very moving time for all of us.

The second week in Scotland, a close family friend Michelle joined us with her daughter Rily. She too came with candle lanterns which we released over the water on a calm night just outside of Glasgow. All of these ceremonies have helped me process Dave’s passing and allowed each of us to move forward in our own ways.

Back to the “super powers”. This trip in its entirety has reinvigorated me in ways I never could have imagined. First of all, love of family; we all got along so well, everyone was so fun and loving that my heart is absolutely full and I think this feeling is going to last for awhile. Next, appreciation of adventure. Europe is not that far away! I must remember this. I NEED to return to Italy to see my friends before another twenty years pass and also to procure truffles. And, I MUST get back to Scotland as it is absolutely one of my favorite places on the planet. Finally, three cheers for my sense of accomplishment both in planning such a magnificent trip and for surviving the Highlands on single lane roads in a nine person van, white-knuckling it, with a left-handed standard shift while driving on the wrong side of the road. SUPER POWER!

All in all, this was indeed the trip of a lifetime. I’m back on the farm in Ohio feeling incredibly blessed.

Send photos from tea time if you can….

Love, Love, Love,

Joy xo

Tally-Ho Scotland, Home of the Brave

The Rose Clan family motto is “Constant and True.” I am not sure if  I am either of those things, but I do love my family with rock steady ferocity. Both of my brother’s; Darton’s kids (minus Chad and Beth who are expecting), and brother Dave’s eldest Harry Rose, as well as my four plus Carl, descended on Edinburgh a week ago Friday. This coincided with the one year anniversary of Dear Dave’s passing on June 24, 2016.

Harry David Rose III (1959-2016)

It was after his son Harry fantasized about some sort of epic Viking-like send off, that I suggested a trip to Scotland. David’s unexpected and untimely death left us bereft, especially as it was only two months after our Mother’s passing. Scotland is our ancestral homeland and the place where the Roses of Kilravock traces its roots since the 1400s.

Storming the ancestral castle

We arrived in Edinburgh and toured the town at a rapid pace before heading north to Elgin, Nairn, and Skye. We stopped at Findhorn beach, built a raft made of ferns and flowers, blessed it, and then Harry carried it far beyond the breakers where it drifted out of sight, holding our prayers and blessings.

Dave’s memorial burial raft

The trip to Skye through mountains and fairy-falls is unlike any other road trip. Single lane byways and nature in all her glory do not disappoint. The island is one of my favorite places in the world. Actually, the entirety of Scotland rates exceptionally high on my list of soul places. We have enjoyed abundant sightseeing, including Loch Ness, hiked Skye (Old Man of Storr), swam in the North Sea, ate (at Three Chimneys), shopped for cashmere at Johnston’s Mill, fly-fished and shot clay pigeons at Kellas Estate, and taken a million pictures while singing a thousand songs.

View from Skye hike

Next week we head south to Helensburgh for a stay at Monumental Castle about thirty minutes from Glasgow, and to meet up with an old family friend….. Just one week left!

The city of Edinburgh near the Royal Mile