Grief often rears its dark, draining head, not just when someone dies. The onset of many life crises is the loss of something. A relationship, a value, a sense of purpose. We’ve all experienced a loss of a pet or cherished object (See Writing Your Lost and Found Story.) But what else have you lost during your lifetime?
It’s a somber celebration, if that’s not an oxymoron. Many of us find ourselves missing someone on All Saints Day.
Theologically we celebrate the face that loved ones have joined God and are in communion with other saints. We also confirm our belief that we will join them at the heavenly table one day. (Read a full explanation from Presbyterian Missions.) I used to wonder if missing someone on All Saints Day was bad. Because I always do.
When we think of all the “saints” that have gone from our lives, the less faithful—or more honest–part of us wants to lament. “But I’m going to miss him or her! I already miss them!” If the loss is recent, it can even be difficult to hold it together.
In my church, the bulletin contains a list of individuals who have died since the last All Saints Day. Reading the list is like taking a fist into the gut. It contains the names of lovely people who contributed so much to the life of the church. It has names of people who inspired me. When I think of these people–friends, co-workers, and prayer partners and relatives who have died, I miss them.