Nov 01, 2022

Day of the Dead, the season of grief and loss, All Soul’s Day, Samhain, Halloween - the veils between the living and the dead are thin this time of year. A time of honoring and remembering. 

Grief is…so many things: painful, shocking, heavy, light, bittersweet, sweet, melancholy, devastating and so much more. Everyone grieves in their own manner and in their own time. 

And as we journey through the grief tidal waves and bogs, it is our memories of our loved ones that gradually become nourishment to our souls. Remembrance. 

Storytelling is universal and can be a potent salve to the grieving heart. Storytelling keeps our memories alive and creates a vessel for connection and sharing. 

Perhaps you have been thinking about a loved one that has died. Why not tell someone a story about them?

My dad passed away in January of this year (same day as Thich Nhat Hahn - I like to think my dad had good company on his journey). My earliest memory of my dad: I am probably 3 or 4 years old and I am looking out the window into our backyard. It is pouring rain, as it has been for days. My dad is struggling to prop up a branch of a tree that is threatening to break off and fall down with a long two-by-four. From my child perspective, the tree is HUGE and my dad is like some sort of superhero, drenched and muddy, but ultimately successful. 

Oh - just in writing that story I remembered another that I had not thought about for years. This is a story that he told me about himself, but it was so vivid I feel like I was there. He had just installed a metal towel rack in the bathroom. Unbeknownst to him, one of the screws hit an electrical wire. When he put his hand on the rack, a strong current of electricity started running through his body, causing his hand to contract on the bar and he couldn’t release it. Being a smart guy, he figured he had to do something fast, so he put his feet on the wall and pushed back so hard the rack came away from the wall, releasing him from the current. He dislocated his shoulder in the process, but lived to tell the story!

That was my dad - a great problem solver! And of course so much more. 

And so it goes, the remembrance. 

Tell a story, share a story. Write, speak, draw, dance the memories. The dead are gone, but they live on through us. 

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