A day like today, usually finds me in a state of confusion. I have to check several clocks to find the real time - which ones have been moved back that hour, which ones need to be done manually. Far be it for me to be sensible and change them all the night before as is routinely suggested. Apparently my cell phone and computer and VCR are good. The microwave, stove and car are too lazy to do it themselves and need my help. Damn, twice a year I have to relearn how to reconfigure this.
Today is also a day of thinking about the departed. My culture is one that does not celebrate death, or the rituals of death. This is also partly my family custom. We have no grave sites for visiting. The one grandparent who was alive when I was born died when I was 10. My father did not have much to do with his family, my mother's family were all in Scotland and I was a teenager before I ever met any of them. Death was not a part of my family until recently. We have been rather fortunate for that, but also extremely unprepared. I was looking up some references for writing this, specifically an excellent production shown on PBS (POV: a Family Undertaking) about different death customs in various cultures and got sidetracked into reading many articles surrounding rites and rituals and ceremonies and how they have changed over the years and centuries. How much we have distanced ourselves from death and from the dying. In some way I wish we had a Day of the Dead. I wish we had a communal gathering to remember; a communal place to remember.
Today was a service for remembering at the seniors home where my mother moved into 2 years ago. There have been many deaths in that home during this year, including my mother and three of her close friends. A part of me did not want to go. Another part of me was glad to go. Glad to be a part of the service just by being present. Glad that there was a service. Glad that it was a beautiful November day for it. Glad that, when one wished to look away, there were still golden and yellow leaves hanging on some of the trees just beyond the large windows.