Saturday, November 1, 2014

All Saints Day

As has become my custom, I always put pumpkins on Mom and Dad and Grandmother's graves for Halloween.  It lends a bit of the spirit of the season in the cold and wet cemetery.

Today is All Saints Day, a Catholic holy day to honor the dead.  When I moved to France I learned just how important this day was to people all over France.  In Paris, it is the custom to pack a lunch and your grave cleaning supplies and go spend part of the day with your deceased friends and relatives.  Far from being morbid, I found it to be a warm and wonderful custom that involves whole families.

While I didn't do that much at the actual grave, I did bring the pumpkins and talk with Mom and Dad as I do every time I visit them.  It never seems like much, but I am not really sure what else I can do.  What I did for them, I did while they were still alive.  After their deaths, I buried them with the ringing of a Tibetan Bell and words from the Bible and other traditions.

It has been 2 years since Mom's death and 7 years since Dad's death.  Still, many times, I long to speak to them both if only for a few precious minutes.  The other day I was driving my car to work listening to a father talk about his 27 year old daughter's battle with breast cancer.  He is at every appointment and takes care of her as only a parent can take care of a child.  He closed by playing a song called "Daddy's Girl" and suddenly I found myself sobbing at a red light.  Grief sneaks up on me in ways that I can never anticipate. Crying was a good release in that moment...because it reminded me that I am and always have been Daddy's girl.

I miss them both, I love them both.  As All Saint's Day comes to a close I remember them and honor them now and forever.

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