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  • Jennifer Adler


Fernwood is a hidden Marin County treasure that I have come to realize is not known by many locals. I go there to visit the goddesses that decorate their paths, to be reminded of Bali, and to talk to my father. I reflect on the pathways twisting and turning in my life mirroring the pathways that move through the hills of this land.

Fernwood sits on thirty-two beautiful acres above Tennessee Valley in Mill Valley but often goes unrecognized because it blends so beautifully into the hillside. The solace and peaceful energy found here towers over the land like a protective bubble. This seclusion secures a space for families to gather with those that have departed in a private space. If you make an appointment to inquire about their funeral services, you may see billowing smoke coming out of the beautiful ornate modern building covered in greenery. The smoke here is created by the cremations that take place in the days after someone passes.

My father died four months after being diagnosed with throat cancer. His fight, like many with cancer, was one that held many twists and turns. His attempts at chemo led to setbacks and more pain. The surgery that allowed him to breathe decreased his quality of life more significantly than he could have imagined. After receiving a final grave prognosis, he made the incredibly difficult decision to choose to let go of the fight and let his body lead the way. Once he made the transition to the other side, we had him cremated at Fernwood.

During his cremation, my sister and I had a profound experience while watching the smoke mix with our grief and free the soul of our loved one. The wonder and enchantment hugged our sadness and sparked our journey of inquiry into the death of our father, wondering where he went and where he might be found. The sacred ground and caring approach of the patrons of Fernwood allowed such a profound moment to unfold with ease and great spiritual connection.

November is pancreatic cancer awareness month. At Talisman, we chose this issue to honor the loved ones that we have lost to cancer and give back 10% of ad sales to The American Cancer Society. Please join us as we support the research, education, and healing of those whose lives are touched by this disease.

November is a time of grace. What do we feel blessed to have in our lives? It can be a time to sink your toes into your carpet at home and relish in the feeling of comfort and happiness. A time to pay respect where it is due and to feel gratefulness in your life.

Can you name five things that you are grateful for today? Have you satisfied your holiday senses and indulged in that large pumpkin pie slice topped with fresh whip cream? Let your senses have a holiday!

So this November, cheers to you, dad. I honor you this month and celebrate you as a writer. Your words should have been heard by more. Your laughter and infectious personality could steal the attention from the room. Music lived in your soul and the celebration never stopped in your life. You are a reminder to me to live my life as fully as possible, without borders, and to not be afraid to take risks. You inspire me to be wise, to have fun, to be careful, and to love as much as possible. I hope this acts as a reminder for all our readers to follow.

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