Gavi, one of Bastard Nation's founding foundlings, gifted us with dark, disturbing humor which shaped Bastard Nation into more than just an activist group, but a movement with soul and humor.
Gavi was the Magdalene and Moses of BN. She danced with ghosts. She danced with her Jewish and Irish ancestors and connected with their sorrows and the injustices inflicted upon them. She danced with her Bastardy. Gavi was the ultimate Bastard, living and celebrating the shame, and speaking of feelings and thoughts that many of us were afraid to utter or think, until she made it okay.
It was a summer's evening in 1997, not long before Gavi departed this mortal coil. We had been chatting online and I'd sent her some articles on the Irish Magdalene Laundries, a topic that, along with the Irish adoption schemes, she'd not been familiar with. Not half an hour later, "Ghosts" arrived in my inbox. Gavi's Jewish and Celtic ancestors had drawn the Muse to her. Those of us who have lived this experience could not express what Gavi so eloquently drew from her soul. I am privileged to share her words here.
We each knew our mothers very well, and some of them talked to us every day, in their little rooms, alone. Sometimes there was anger, sometimes crying, but we were always with them, and felt close. In our whispers to each other, underneath the grass, we've shared how each of our mothers grew austerely silent as the day of our birth approached.
Some of us withered from all the unhappiness, and left our mothers early, and here came to rest. Others traveled the birth canal, just like any of you living, but our mothers disappeared so suddenly, we died of fright.
But we don't speak to frighten you. We call to you because you are our brethren. In each other, we have found comfort, but our ears are keen in the silent air, and we know many more of us lay, all over the earth, forgotten.
We never lived to understand what was so important to your ways that made our growth, our awareness, so brief. And though we are now part of the trees, the light, and the air, our spirits stay sunken, unidentified.
We understand we are bastards, and we know there are the living among our kind. You are our brethren and you can hear us in the night when you think about your own mysteries, and wonder.
Every time you speak out for the bastards, you bless another one of us with a name, another with a face. Whenever you feel isolated, you can call to us and we will hear. Use your breath, your precious life, and change the world's ways for all of us. Know we were loved by at least one silent heart.
Be strong, and love each other, and the world will surely change.