Friday, November 13, 2015

All souls and stuff

An altar in our kitchen
All Souls Day, the Day of the Dead has passed. We drank, ate, laughed and cried with the company of all souls. The cemetery was filled was a cacophony of people, children, dogs, boom boxes and roving musicians. Graves were piled high with flowers and tables were laden with food and drink, braziers wafting the smoke of roasting meat. In the late afternoon, mass was celebrated. People gathered to sit on graves and to stand in groups awaiting the part where their beloved's name would be spoken. For many of the elders, the names read out loud are as familiar as the backs of their hands. Here, everyone knows one another for a lifetime. There is a complex interconnection of marriages and relationships so that the corporate memory is exponentially broad, wide and deep.

When people stop to linger in memories the dead return to us in their essence. They rise again in a tender, more merciful re-collection. Death awakens us, hopefully, to live like everything we do and say matters, that the ripples of our lives continue forward in time like the ripples of the dead that move through us. We are imperfectly-holy saints abiding alongside those who have gone before us. When we think we are separate there can be no healing.


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