NOTE: This tribute to Sobonfu Somé, originally sent as a Weaving Earth newsletter, was written by Lauren Dalberth Hage.

We send this special newsletter in remembrance of our dear relative, friend, ally, and teacher, Sobonfu Somé, who passed on from this world in January. Alongside so many who loved her and learned from her, we are feeling her departure from this world acutely here at WE. Our connection with her was strong and beautiful, and we have spent the last weeks grieving her loss and feeling grateful for her life. Thank you to those who have sent condolences and supported us. In this time of transition, both for Sobonfu’s spirit and for all of us who carry on here without her, we write these words to celebrate her life and share some of what made her so special to us.

Destined from from birth, Sobonfu brought the rituals and teachings of her home village in Burkina Faso, West Africa, to the industrialized world. She dared to teach about the importance of sharing grief as a community process to modern peoples. She met the contrasting worldviews she encountered with love, compassion, and patience, as well as a sharpness that cut right through any embedded cultural norms of individuality and separatism. Her work with intimate relationships (of all kinds) was masterful: Continually encouraging our “private” affairs to be brought directly to the center of the circle, where we discovered time and again that they can be held, celebrated and healed. She reminded us often that “a relationship is too big for two people to hold on their own.”

With unapologetic clarity, Sobonfu carried medicine for a society sick from generational loss of community. She walked her talk — wholeheartedly laughing with us, crying with us, loving with us, and holding us. She had a gift of illuminating the unique beauty in each person, stoking their inner fire to help it burn brightly into the future. She exemplified so many of the qualities being called for in these troubling times: Cooperation, community, authenticity, courage, and strong, heart-based feminine leadership.

We are so thankful to you, dear Sobonfu, for all that you are, all that you’ve done, and all that you will continue to do. We feel so many things – sad, grateful and peaceful. We hear laughter. And drumming. And wailing. And relief. You carried so much during your walk here on earth, and we are grateful that you get to rest now. Your love and your teachings live on in us, and we will carry them forward in the best way that we can. We trust that your support of us here on earth will likely be even stronger as an ancestor, and we will call on you, as you taught us to do. May this transition be graceful for you and for all of your relatives. May we each live with fullness and authenticity, the way you did. And may we remember the gift it is to even be here at all.

Thank you. We love you. We miss you. Until we meet again…

~ Your “wifey,” your brothers, your friends, your students, your allies