I’ve mentioned my hippy, believe-whatever-you-like-or-nothing-at-all church before. One of the reasons I love this congregation is because it marks celebrations and traditions from ancient cultures, modern religions, and agnostic philosophies. It’s a mixed bag of human connection.
Each year around Halloween, we dedicate a service to the ancient celebration of Samhain. During this time of year it is believed the veil between the worlds is thin and on this day we will plant bulbs in remembrance of those we love who have died. (Source).
During the service, congregants are invited to pick up a daffodil bulb and speak the name(s) of loved ones who are missed. We meditate on the daffodil bulb, how it lies dormant awaiting new life. We silently shoulder each other’s burdens of loss. We remember.
I think of my grandparents, particularly my grandmother Grace (we called her Gam). I think of the baby I carried for a short time but will never meet.
This year I sat through the service, feeling the tears welling up and the lump constricting in the back of my throat. I focused in on Gam and how much she would have loved my kids, had she met them.
It was then I got a surprisingly vivid mental image of Gam holding our baby. I could see the lines in Gam’s face as she smiled at me. I could see the silken threads sewn into the baby’s beautifully quilted blankets. I felt a sense of calm and peace. And I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude for this image.
I picked up only one bulb this year because I now believe that everyone I love on the other side is together. Bundled. And happy.
We plant the bulbs together in the church garden after the service. My girls helped me pick the perfect spot.
One Sunday this Spring, we’ll be welcomed to church by gently waving rows of daffodils.
And once again, I’ll remember that even in death,
we are never really alone.
Your Turn: How do you honor those you miss most?
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