Monday, November 12, 2007

November Remembrance

November is the month of remembrance. All Saints, the very first day of the month begins the sequence of remembrance. The next day, All Souls, continues this cycle, as we remember those who have gone before us but are not named in the Canonized Saints list. I like to think of my family as my private saints--when I ask for them to pray not too many other people are asking at the same time, so my needs are heard immediately. Shortly after my mother died, I discovered that she, who had been a lifetime devotee of St. Anthony, was a great person to ask to help me find things. I reasoned that most of the things I was looking for where here in her house, so who better to know where they were? I think Papa was a bit shocked at first, but he joined in--now he gets some of the same prayers. This is a strong connection for me, since I believe in the after-life and believe and hope that these good people whom I still love and miss, and who loved me, are truly in heaven. It is comforting to turn to them.

At the same time, I send there names to the Church to be remembered on the Altar for the month of November. Prayers should be acknowledged by prayers, I think.

For me there is a cycle to grief that ends with remembrance. Remembrance is a work of our hearts and souls that continues after grieving (which is organic and unavoidable) and mourning (which is a great psychological and spiritual work of our lives) have finished their cycles. Remembrance remains and it is our work too for it helps us stay grounded in the values of our lives, connected to those who taught us and who gave us those values and lives, as well as allowing their names, their faces, and their stories to continue.

I do this gladly for my family now and hope that someday they will do it for me.

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