Friday, November 03, 2006

All Souls' Day

A few weeks ago I got a letter from the Roman Catholic church my mother attended. It was an invitation for the special mess on All Souls' Day (yesterday). They send this to the relatives who lost a loved one in the last 12 months. I immediately knew I wanted to go. I've been to the mess with mum on All Souls' Day in 1996, the year my dad passed away. Now I felt like going too, for mum and for myself. Later Joke decided to go with me.
It was strange to be in mum's church without her, although she was there in spirit. Every time I went there it was with her or for her, to pick her up after she had been cleaning there or drink something when she was hostess in the parish center. I expected her to walk around a corner any minute. We burned candles in the little chappel near the entrance, where the little cross with her name is hanging. It will hang there for a year and then we'll get it.
The mess was a bit long, but beautiful in a certain way. The priest spoke very personal. For every deceased church member a white candle with a name card in calligraphy was lit by the big Easter candle. The name and age were said out loud. That was a very emotional moment. At the end of the mess the relatives could get their candle. I have mum's on the mantelpiece next to her picture. Mum kept dad's candle and burned it at special occasions. I'll put their candles together and perhaps burn them next Samhain.
After the mess I wanted to light a candle in front of the Maria altar, for me that equals a goddess altar. Mum has regularly lit candles for me there. We drank tea and sat with my uncle Cor and aunt Corrie for a while. They were very kind and interested. Leo picked us up.
It was good to go. I know mum would have appreciated it very much and it felt like some kind of closure to me. The pain will never go away completely, I still miss mum and dad every day. I want to focus on their lives though, the memories I'll cherish, the love that never stops...


  1. Wow, what a beautiful thing your mum's church does for All Souls' Day. I'm so sorry for your loss. My mom lost hers this year, and I can't bear the thought of losing her. *hugs*

  2. Thanks for sharing! I lost my Mum over a year ago so I know how it is. ((Hugs))

  3. That must have been a very beautiful and moving service--I'm glad you went. I'm glad you shared that with us.

  4. Ik heb zelf niets met catholisme, maar er zijn een paar kerken/kapelletjes waar ik ben geweest die zo ontzettend veel kracht uitstralen...
    Ik kan me goed voorstellen dat dit een hele mooie dienst was en ik hoop dat hij je kracht heeft gegeven.

  5. I found your blog courtesy of Bond's blog; I was intrigued by the fact that you are Dutch. I am American-born to two Dutch-Indonesian parents, and I am a practicing Roman Catholic. I sing in my church choir, and this year's All Souls mass at my parish was very moving for me as well. My parents died many, many years ago, but this day always brings them closer to me as do their birthdays and anniversaries of their passing.

    We've done the candle ceremony for many years, but this year we performed the ritual with white roses. The names of those in the parish who passed away this year are called out, and their family members place the rose in a vase near the altar.

    Around the church, scrolls are hung that list the names of family members who have died; too many names of members of my family are on these scrolls.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on life, death, and spirituality.


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