Our lost loved ones are never far from our thoughts. At times it seems like they are all around us, and the memories come thick and fast, as if bursting out of our tear ducts and rolling down our cheeks, each tear a memory of them. There are other times too, when we have made special moments to remember them, think of them, call them by name and recall their lives, sharing them with others.
One such time is the Winter Solstice. As the shortest day of the year, it is the midpoint in the length of days of the year. The word Solstice means ‘sun-still’. A mystical time of year where spiritually the seen and unseen can meet, where for a moment we can peek through to the other side. After this time of year (the end of June in Australia), the days are longer as we move towards the summer. On or around this day, a tradition amongst our friends has begun. We gather with children, and remember those who are no longer here, and light a candle in their name. This year, the rememberences were so long, the plate of candles ended up spilling onto another plate.
Lost Loved Ones
First we dim the lights, share some stories, some true, some imagined. Then we remember the ancestors. Sometimes we light the candle and say something simple like ‘this candle is for the ancestors’. The most recent rememberence we called them all by name. Grandmothers and grandfathers, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, friends, pets, loved ones of friends. We also remembered lost loved ones we did not know, famous artists we loved, great minds, people who had changed the world. When we spoke out loud the rememberences, we learned things about each other, things in common, things that we shared, things we loved. Children and parents alike. We found commonality amongst the ancestors and peace in saying their names, what they did, how we loved them.
It is an emotional experience, but also a beautiful one. If you would like to add your lost loved ones name and a sentence about them to the comments below, we will say their name and light a candle for them next Winter Solstice. Or maybe you have your own tradition?