I may seem a bit obsessed with the dead this week, but I think its so important to remember all those we have loved and lost – they have impacted on our lives and many have shaped the people we are today. Recently at the annual “blessing of the graves” in my home town it was lovely to see so many people there standing by their tidied family graves, honouring and remembering generations of parents, grandparents and so sadly many young children and babies. Despite all the controversy in the church these days this was a dignified understated ceremony and felt very like a real community celebration of remembrance.
My young 8year old son Milo never met either of his grandfathers, and is desperate to know all about them and what they were like. They would both have been so proud of him – its a shame they’re not around to see this enthusiastic, sporty, intelligent, playful and quite fluent irish speaking boy! We show him photos of our fathers but it takes more to describe their personalities – Milo is fascinated with the fact that he shares my dad’s passion for lego and making things – so he figures they would have definitely got on well and his other grandfather was a gaelgóir so he’s pleased to know that they could have chatted in irish. He often wonders if the grandads get to meet in heaven and have discussions about him and his sisters progress in life! One of his sisters wondered recently what accent my dad had – was it a strong Cavan one like my brother and I found my self saddened realising that we have no video or sound recordings of him – wish I had. My challenge is to bring a wonderful man to life in my son’s mind so that he knows where he comes from and what characteristics he shares with his grandads. We regularly visit my dad’s grave and occasionally my father in law’s (because its more difficult to get to) and Milo was moved to tears visiting them – seeing their graves and headstones as his most tangible connection to them. Unlike his experience we will be able to leave a record of speech, movement and colour – one of the many advantages of our digital age.