IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
This weekend is Halloween weekend. If not for the pandemic restrictions, we would all be preparing for eager and happy children trick or treating outside our homes – a much anticipated tradition we have adapted into our culture. Growing up, I always associated Halloween with candy, pumpkins and dressing up. Rightfully so, it is a holiday where children and children at heart get all decked out to play some tricks, collect some treats and have some fun. It was not until I got a bit older that I realized the merriment and tradition I heavily associated the weekend with was a result of a mélange of symbols and traditions from around the world, all of which were centered around and celebrated our beloved departed. Dia de los muertos in Mexico, araw ng patay here, All Saint’s and All Soul’s Day, the list goes on. Whatever culture you are from, or whichever tradition you choose to celebrate, it is a weekend to honor those loved ones of ours who have gone before us.
Different families have different traditions yearly to honor their beloved departed. Although times may have changed from what we were once used to, and though we may not be able to carry-out such customs in this “new normal” as we once did, it does not mean that the very core of the weekend has disappeared. We can and should still most definitely honor the memories of our ancestors, and those who have gone ahead of us. Most especially now at a time so uncertain when we know more than ever that life can be fleeting, we must make more of an effort to pay tribute in whatever way we are able. After all (at least for those ancestors of ours who we were able to spend time with) their time here on earth blessed us with many memories, learnings, lessons and precious moments that have made us who we are today.
As I was sipping my cup of coffee this morning, I was thinking about the pandemic, and even if we are on our second year living in this new normal, it still seems so surreal how life changed for a lot of us overnight. Yet, at the same time, life has gone on. It made me ponder on how my grandparents would have handled the situation – what would they have done differently? What would we have handled differently if they were still around? They have always been role models to me, and the years they lived when I was still young made for fascinating stories. They lived through wars and crises, and they were always to me a bank of wisdom and knowledge because of their experiences. How would they have handled a global pandemic?
And while I will never get my answer to that, it gave me moments to reflect on memories that have passed me by. I realized that while they were no longer physically around for some of the greatest of milestones in my life I can only wish I could have shared with them, that they probably had the best view of them anyway, and more importantly, had a hand in making it all happen. A great part of who I am today I definitely would attribute to the time I spent with them while they were still here on earth, and those years I will always look back at as some of the most blessed years of my life. The opportunity I had to spend my childhood and some of my adolescent years with them is priceless and the biggest of blessings I could have ever asked for. Beyond the cute ghosts, the ghouls, the pumpkin carvings, the costumes, the decoration, the scary stories and the treats – those memories that seem to come back to me more this time of year is the true happy in my Halloween.