This year I observed Samhain, the pagan holiday between autumnal and winter equinox that is meant to focus on death, remembering lost loved ones, and letting go of old things.

Prayers on Samhain

I am here to honor the memory of my wife’s parents.

Mary Jane Brown, who I only knew at the end of her life when she was not present in her body. 

Kenny Brown, who I never met in this life but I feel as if I met him through knowing my wife.

I remember my first childhood dogs, Precious and Freckles who got me through a lot of emotional times and lived long lives. 

We remember the 49 who were killed at the Pulse Nightclub. I remember Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Matt Shepard and Leila Alcorn and so many other queer saints who were taken from us too soon.

Lastly, I am here to remember my old life and mourn the childhood I never had as a queer person. It’s not something I can get back but it is something I want to honor. My childhood was one of religious trauma, abuse, and suppression of who I really was. So, I am going to try to recreate what I always wanted in the present. That creative, quirky free spirit deserves to live free.

Holly Louise Holder, I release who you were. You never go tot be who you wanted to be. But now I want to let go and breathe new life. And take on a new name in this new year of harvest and rebirth from the dead things all around me. Let us lean into that new life as H.L. Holder-Brown.

I’m letting go of the past that was Holly and becoming HL Holder-Brown. My new life is just beginning and I am grateful to live it in community with others and with my wife. 

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