Technically, we live in a part of the country that will never see a hurricane, but that is what it looks like outside tonight ! All that snow from Colorado has moved east and changed to heavy rains and blustery winds. I was awakened to the sound of rattling windows, and became fascinated watching the wind and rain dancing with the window screens. What can I say...I love stormy weather !
Emotional storms come and go across our emotional landscape, and sadly at the time they occur , they are not so much fun to watch for either the one experiencing them or those around them. They are often not as predictable as those metorological events either. Especially not those associated with grief. They are often triggered by the silliest things, blow fierce for a time and then the sun comes out again. I learned that in the counciling sessions that we attended after we lost our son. I also learned that it is not uncommon to experience odd periods of grief as far removed as 40 years after a loss . Nothing is unusual in that department, and only worrisome if the sun does not come out again after a few weeks. Happily mine have always passed within a day or so. This one was triggered by a birth experience question and the time of year. The original meaning of Halloween was to acknowledge the spirits of the dead at this time because so much in the agricultural world was dying. The harvest was in, the foliage was dying back, the animals were either migrating or preparing to winter over, and men thought it only natural that the spirits of those who left the world of the living noticed this increased activity and came around for another look see.
During our workout session ( yoga for this day ), I started to think about the custom that marks my own celebration of Halloween/Samhain; that of setting out much loved foods for my ancestors and then partaking of it for my own supper. They do not physically eat it , but absorb the gesture of respect shown. There is no inherent power in the food put out ( other than calories and nutritional value to humans consuming it), so why should I run the risk of beginning a bad chain reaction just because that is how it has always been done ? There is no law saying this must be done. The only thing close to a law says that the dead will be remembered, and death thought of as a natural part of life. I pondered this , and bounced the idea off the Hubby. He is my best friend, best adviser, and best way to help me find a grip in life. He agreed, and so I rethought my plan for the night. We also decided to head back down to the family cemetery on Sunday afternoon to take part in the All Saints Day celebration going on there. Much more figure frendly than a table filled with foods to honor the memory of the dead ! So this will be the official display of honor for this year
On the wall is some simple papel picado we made, the gingerbread house, the sugar skulls, a paper model house, a skull and numerous ceramic items made by my mother in law before she contracted Parkinsons and Dementia. Watching her struggle with the disease as well as watching my own mother battle Dementia is a whole other kind of death. You remember who they were while watching who they are slip slowly into that world of death, and they become ghosts of a different nature. Sad to watch, but it shows you how valuable those little memories they made for you have become.
So it is decided that we will have a "feast" of seasonal foods and then the next day walk the cemetary to visit the graves of our dead. While there I will place a sprig of rosemary on each, as the cemetary regulations do not allow for flowers or grave blankets to be placed in the winter. Rosemary...that's for remembrance. Just as meaningful as a plate of perogi, arrancini, barmbrak and more !