St. Alban’s Episcopal Church
Reflection All Saints Day
October 31, 2021
Remember to remember
A few years back, I had two significant experiences that literally changed the way I think about All Souls Day. The first was when I was invited to spend a week with a friend of mine who was visiting her sister who lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Our visit would take place during their world famous festival of the Day of the Dead ceremony which lasts for several days, beginning on November 1st. I consider myself so lucky to have been in Mexico to celebrate that holiday. I’m sure there are some of you who have been there for that festival.
There were so many things that simply amazed me —- the sand decorations all around the central square in front of the Cathedral, and the elaborate pictures artists designed right on the sidewalk. And they stayed there for days for people to enjoy. The parades of thousands of revelers who came to town just to participate in the festivities. And their costumes — wow!!! The next day, when we traveled out to the huge cemetery we saw graves decorated with red and yellow marigolds and then all kinds of items surrounding the graves, these were put there to remind loved ones of what the deceased loved while alive. It was so wonderful to see how they remembered and celebrated the members of their family who had passed on, no matter how long ago it had been since their loved one had died.
When I returned home to the United States, my family and I went to see the Walt Disney movie, “Coco”. I’m sure it was the movie makers intention to put out this movie close to the time of the Day of the Dead, because there so much pageantry and then all the skeletons telling their stories. I thought I was going to see just one more fanciful movie, entertaining of course but not of any substance. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The story of “Coco” goes:
Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Héctor, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history. There are many twists and turns but eventually Miguel brings back to his family the essential piece of the puzzle that his family has missed, and that is, they, and of course we, because this is where the movie gets so personal for me, for we must continue to remember those who are no longer with us. In the movie, someone said, “There is no one left in the world who remembers me” and that was when I was truly shaken. Those who are not remembered any longer are forever lost. That is why the Day of the Dead, All Saints Day, All Souls Day, or any other commemoration of remembering those who have passed on
IS SO IMPORTANT
So, I decided to do something about that, and I searched through my family history, the family Bible, and other sources of information to find as many of my relatives’ birth and death records as I could, and I put them into my daily calendar, and I circle their names. Now, for at least those few days, I am able to remember them. I want to remember them. And then whenever I get a new calendar, I put all this information into it, year after year.
The most personal and poignant remembrance must be that of my granddaughter, Kami. I shall never forget my own daughter, Kathryne’s pleading request after Kami died, and it was 16 years ago now when she was only seven years old, that we all remember her and speak about Kami often. I try very hard to remember that request. I speak to my daughter almost every week, and it’s a pleasure now to talk about Kami. Our tears of long-ago have changed to ones of laughter and happiness that we can share and both feel good about those conversations.
I am sure many of you have the same stories to tell about your loved ones. Are there any who would like to share and tell us their names and how you go about remembering them?
I will end by reciting the song that came from the movie, “Coco”
Though I have to say goodbye
Don’t let it make you cry
For even if I’m far away I hold you in my heart
I sing a secret song to you each night we are apart
Though I have to travel far
Each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I’m with you the only way that I can be
Until you’re in my arms again