OHSWEKEN, ONT.—Sheena Joseph remembers a vivid dream that brought her to a beach on a beautiful, sunny day, with the brightest colours she could ever imagine.
Her mother, Shelley Lynne Joseph, was there too, six months after she had died.
“She kind of just shook her head and it was like we both said, ‘You know, it’s OK, for everything,’” Sheena, a 31-year-old Mohawk woman, recalls one summer afternoon beneath the weeping willow outside her home. She was raised there by her maternal grandparents, on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, a reserve about 20 kilometres southeast of Brantford, Ont.
They embraced. Sheena woke up. She found some peace.
Not only with the violent death of her mother, but also with the truth that she had never been close to her, and that her mother’s sudden absence, although tragic, had not hit her the way it had other family members.