Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Honouring Those Who Are Gone

November 1, also known as “All Souls’ Day” is when I take the time to remember and honour – and mourn – non-family members I know who died in the past year.

I keep a list on my computer during the year, so that on this night, I can hold it in my hand and take time with each name.

This is the night whose ceremonies often take the longest. I don’t want to feel rushed. I want to feel the connection with each and every person. I want one last time to truly feel the presence.

Although those we love remain with us as long as we love and remember them, we must also remember that their souls must continue on their journeys. Taking tonight to say a goodbye, to wish them well in whatever waits for them next means we can live with happy memories, yet not tie their souls to this plane indefinitely.

The rituals of mourning are so important. Over the years, it’s become the fashion to be stoic – to take off an hour from your day for a funeral and then come back and “everything’s okay.”

Everything is NOT okay.

A hole remains in the lives of those still alive. And All Souls’ Night is a time to begin the healing process. It is not weak to mourn. I am suspicious of those who are so capable of cutting themselves off from love that they cannot and do not mourn. That doesn’t mean displays of histrionics – it means the deep inner connection that we have with those we love.

And tonight is the night to honour that connection.