Maeve on Menopause

by Elizabeth Cunningham

I am not going to write about Thanksgiving. We didn’t have it in the first century, though we gave thanks and made offerings, chucked a lot of gold down votive wells. When Celts feasted, usually a roast pig was involved. It could be quite dangerous. There was such a thing as a “hero’s cut of meat.” Men have been known to fight to the death over that cut. Think about that when you ask for the drumstick.

This piece may be my last for awhile. Elizabeth has been invited to experiment with this blog in a particular way over the next few weeks. For my (perhaps temporary) swansong I am responding to the question: What does Maeve have to say about menopause? Yes, I have gone through it.

In Magdalen Rising there’s a whole chapter about my menarche. To my dismay, I realized there is no corresponding chapter about menopause in Bright Dark Madonna. Dear readers, I apologize. Like many of you, I had a child (my second and long awaited) in my early thirties. Her menarche and my menopause roughly coincided, but her change took center stage. My menopausal years were also complicated by having to contend with Paul of Tarsus. No wonder I did not notice my hot flashes. My blood was always boiling. I don’t want to give away too much plot. But I might as well tell you: not long after one final knock down drag out battle with Paul, I spent seven years wandering the world searching for my runaway daughter. My red hair turned grey. I did not bleed, except in my heart. Then I took care of my mother-in-law. Believe it or not, when I had given up all hope and thought of such things, I had the most wonderful, tender, fleeting love affair in my early post-menopausal years.

So what do I want to say about menopause: there is life after it. Life that can be juicy, sweet, surprising, as well as sometimes dismaying and out of control (when wasn’t it?) If you are lucky, you may get to sojourn for a time in a cave or other retreat as I did. You may learn to love yourself, even forgive yourself; you may have moments of wisdom. (I for one am still capable of being rash and foolish.) For sure you will find out what the moon has been trying to tell us for a long time: It’s just a phase. It’a sll just a phase. Life itself, a phase. Don’t let it phase you!

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Anonymous November 24, 2009 - 9:48 pm

How delicious! Thank you for this first feast of the Thanksgiving holiday: your words of encouragement and wisdom. Maeve, you and Elizabeth deserve to share the hero's cut!

faerian November 25, 2009 - 12:09 am

raising a cup to your moon in all it's phases…will miss you Maeve but look forward to hearing more of Elizabeth <3

RawVoices November 26, 2009 - 1:54 am

Thanks Maeve. I think I am at the very beginnings of this juicy phase. It is as unpredictable as I am and as appreciated as I have become to myself. I find I don't mind this change. I feel strong in a different way than I did when I was pregnant. In pregnancy I was protector, defender. Now I surrender, now I allow, now I know I can be gentle with myself and not try so hard to conform to norms that I once ignored. As I embrace this phase, I embrace the best of my unconventional nature and it alright…

Anonymous November 27, 2009 - 2:19 pm

"It's just a phase. It's all just a phase." –This is brilliant! Thank you!

DavidASosa December 5, 2009 - 3:26 am

Elizabeth you will never know being as you are not a meat eater, but I will fight over a chicken wing… No lie.
Its a phase I will remember that, its hard sometimes but being a hild of the waters it would do me wise to heed these words.

BaaadRaven December 9, 2009 - 10:52 pm

Yes Maeve! I agree; There is life after menopause, and what a life it can be if you are bold and bodacious!! This Bodacious crone has not missed a step! lol lol lol .

Great partying with you! ;-D


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