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.