Missing Places at the Table

Many years ago in Northern Europe, people celebrated only two seasons: Winter, which started on November 1st; and Summer, which started on May 1st. In many places in the world, both pre-Christian and Christian communities have celebrated the end of October and the beginning of November as a time to remember our beloved dead.

Once while in California, I was invited to a dinner where we brought place-settings and special foods to honor those we had lost. We ate in silence and candle light, communing with those no longer with us. There were tears — and oddly enough laughter — as we recognized the places that those who had gone before still occupied in our lives. We remembered — we reassembled those relationships. It was healing to remember the friends and family that we remember and the ancestors and mentors who helped us become the people we are today.

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