I stand on the quay, the barges lined up with a ferrywoman ready to greet her passenger. I am apprehensive about this journey, the journey itself and who I will meet on the Island of Ancestors, what they will ask of me and what answers I will come away with. I have my thoughts about who it is that I am to meet and what I will ask – I hope I am not disappointed.
The ferrywoman steps forward and beckons me to the barge. She is familiar – she could be my guide. “Yes” she says, “it is I.” The barge is lit by a single lantern and the moonlight. My guide senses my apprehension and encourages me to use my ipod and listen to some music if that will help.
The barge is enveloped in mist, I can no longer see the barges for my fellow travelers nor can I see Duwamish. Out of the mist the island emerges. The ferrywoman brings the barge to a stop at the shore; she then helps me to disembark. I ask her if she will be accompanying me and she replies “No you must go alone, for it is your journey.” She turns and tends to the barge.
I follow the moonlit path that winds its way through the grove of apple trees. Ahead is a mound, its doorway two massive stone uprights and lintel. It is lit by two torches burning brightly. As I approach I notice that it is a passageway. I enter and walk towards the faint red glow.
As I walk the passageway opens up to a large open area, with a hearth at its centre. It was the fire that provided the glow that had lit my path. Seated before the fire is a person in hooded robes – the person I am here to see.
I walked around the hearth and sat on the bench opposite this person. As I sat down, he removed the hood. It was Kirk (my cousin who died when I was 18) he was as I remembered him. I greeted him with tears streaming down my cheeks. He said “I know you have many questions, but I don’t want you to waste the opportunity, so I will tell you that all you ask after are at peace and waiting for you when it is your time to come.”
There were so many questions that I wanted answered, there were many that I know who had questions. He spoke again “It is your journey, you must ask for yourself and not for others.” So I asked “Why, why did this happen to us, our family, why me?” He responded “Everything and everyone has its time and its purpose. It is all predetermined and you will understand in the fullness of time.”
He then gave me a folded paper boat – “A token from me to help you weather those stormy seas.”
“Now it is my turn to ask a question of you, Megan. Why did you not come home?” I thought this may have been the question and have had more than a decade to think about my answer. “I didn’t come home because I was scared. I wanted to remember you the last time I saw you, before I went on holiday. I didn’t want to see you lying in a coffin. I wanted to remember you as you. And I have regretted the decision ever since; even more so since Brendan died. Please forgive me.” “It isn’t necessary, you need to forgive yourself. It was lesson you had to learn.”
I felt in my pocket for a tissue and there in its place was my rose quartz heart pendant. I gave it to Kirk with my love and my thanks. He hugged me and then returned to his bench covering his head again with the hood.
I rose and walked around the hearth and back up the passageway and out onto the path, surrounded by apple trees. I returned to the barge. I was helped aboard by the ferrywoman. She turned the barge and headed back into the mist. Duwamish emerged out of the mist; before I knew it the ferrywoman had secured the boat at the quay and waited to help me disembark once again. I thanked her.
I looked around the quay, some of the other barges had returned, others had yet to return. I walked back to the inn with my little paper boat in hand.