Friday, October 01, 2010

wishing it were

Photo by Tom Grey

My daughter, Liv, has always loved stories. Stories of mythical creatures and the lessons these myths hold seem to entice her imagination into applying these learning experiences upon her life.

Awhile back, for movie night, the kids and I watched ""The Secret of Roane Inish". After learning of the legend of the Selkies, Liv was truly enraptured and enthralled.

"The seas around Orkney and Shetland harbour the shy Selkies or Seal-Faeries (known as the Roane in Ireland). A female Selkie is able to discard her seal skin and come ashore as a beautiful maiden. If a human can capture His skin, the selkie can be forced to become a fine, if wistful, wife. However, should she ever find her skin she immediately returns to the sea, leaving the husband to pine and die. The males raise storms and upturn boats to avenge the indicriminate slaughter of the seals." -- Brian Froud and Alan Lee, "Faeries"

Liv has decided that her father was a Selkie. That the pull for the sea was too much for him and he had to return to his home....Leaving us behind - me, his wife and his 'Darkies', the offspring of the Selkie and a human. But she feels that he is happy in the sea and that one day we will see him there amid the waves.

While the thought that the pull of the ocean was stronger than his love for us fills me with sadness, this explanation of his 'departure' from us fits so very well that it carries some ....comfort, even for me. That he is back in the ocean that he so dearly loved. That there is a 'reason' for him to leave us. A need stronger than we were able to fight against.

As I watch my kids learn to accept the loss of their daddy, I find healing in their ideas and theories. To them, I am the giver of comfort. The one who offers a stable shoulder and an empathetic word. And I wonder if they will ever understand that not only does their presence make life more than bearable, but it brings me peace and understanding of our loss.

I know that he died. He is not literally in the sea. I know that he didn't leave us because he was a seal. But the sparkle and wonder in this theory adds a magic that is not present in the 'real' story of his loss.

And I love to imagine him in the place he loved best ~ the sea.


Neve said...

I love that movie and I love the sea, and so do my kids. I named one of my sons Ronan because it means "little seal" and that is what the children of the selkie are called in the Irish legend. It was obviously a powerful movie for your daughter, I am so glad she finds comfort with this story. Loss is hard for anyone to understand. Beautiful post Jackie!

Jen said...

How wonderful that Liv can weave a story that brings her comfort and an understanding of larger forces in the world. I talk to my daughter about how her daddy "returned to nature" and it brings me comfort, too. Nothing that has lived is ever lost, it just changes its form.

darcie said...

Oh how I love that little girl of yours....what a great story to take comfort in....especially for her....

Opus said...

What a wonderful story. Your daughter is very wise.

Boo said...

oh wow, I loved this post. So tender ... it's good that Liv (I LOVE that name) has found her own way of understanding what has happened).

Have you ever read them the story of Waterbugs and Dragonflies - it is a wonderful and powerful analogy too. Here is the link in case you haven't:

Anonymous said...

Jackie, the other thing that struck me about Liv's ideas is that she is looking at destiny. Because the seals don't leave their loved ones because they want to but because that is what they are meant to do. In the same way Liv may be asking what her daddy's destiny was, and somewhere underneath it all, what hers and yours and Briar's is. This is why these legends and stories are so healing for children, because they shed light for our souls on things our minds cannot understand.

You are wise to let her explore this and find healing for yourself. What a gift!
Kirsten A. (my google ID doesn't work for some reason!)

Saoirse said...

Just FYI, the offspring of a selkie and a human are called "ronans"...not sure where the darkies reference came from.