Well, tonight is the night when some people around the world remember their lost ones. In Christian religions — as they usually do, they took the idea from pagan festivals, in this particular case, the Celtic harvest festivals — they call it All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween) — “hallows” meaning ‘saints,’ but the date referring to the dead.
I’m not a believer, but I know what it feels like to lose someone you love, and as a symbolic animal belonging to the human species, I also try to do something to honor the fact that the dear ones I lost were once alive, and we loved each other — in spite of fights!
This year I recorded an audio version of a poetic prose I wrote two years after my mother’s death, in 1990, and I made a picture, too. Other years I have written poems, or stories. Or simply sat down to look at photos. Or lay in bed thinking about her. But it’s true I remember her very often, unintentionally I mean, for instance, in class, when I tell you stories about my past! Like yesterday, when I told the Casino story in Y3C (it’s the second year I tell that crazy story!) and after that remembered what an extraordinary mother I had, who taught me to play poker and to have lovers instead of boyfriends if I was not sure He was the right person for me! 😀 I like it when memories come this way because they make me laugh instead of making me sad.
Because my family was small, I did not enjoy something which I think is really valuable, not for the religious reason but for the sharing that takes place: the sharing of memories. In wakes, most typically, people who loved the person who died spend long hours together, and this gives them the chance to tell stories, anecdotes, about the person. And it’s amazing. You sort of learn more about the person you loved, from other people’s viewpoints. And many of those stories make you laugh and feel consoled (keep you company in some way).
So both for believers and non-believers I do recommend that you get together with people you love and share your memories on the person you all lost. It doesn’t have to be in a wake, of course. It could be anywhere, anytime! I did it with those friends of mine who lost their parents. We went out for a meal and started sharing memories, and singing the songs they used to sing, and having a lovely time together!
Then, of course, we have the other side of death — remembering how many people are getting starved or killed because of the greed and the violence of others. I also try to remember this, to give me energy to fight for a better world, and to help me appreciate how lucky I am in a positive way, this is, learning to defend my happiness, nurturing a commitment to trying to make people feel ok or happy.
So — happy Day of the Dead! Make the most of it!