For us Catholics, November is the month we remember and pay our respects to our beloved departed. November 1 is All Saint’s Day and November 2 is All Soul’s Day.
In the previous years, our lady president also declared November 2 as a national holiday, in addition to November 1. This year however, our new president did not declare November 2.
Most of the families visited the graves as early as Saturday, October 30. For us, the whole extended family of my mother’s side went on October 31, a Sunday. We started at 9:00 AM and finished by 1:00 PM. We stopped off four cemeteries — from Buenavista to Los Angeles. Masses for our departed loved ones were offered earlier though — because there are no masses for the dead on a Sunday.
First on our itinerary, we laid flowers, lighted candles and said prayers to my maternal grandfather, grandmother and uncle at the city cemetery in Bancasi. Hubby and I also visited his father’s and his two siblings’ graves.
Then, we proceeded to the nearby San Vicente Cemetery to remember my other uncle.
From there, we rode fifteen minutes to the Buenavista Cemetery to visit another aunt. Lastly, we went back to the city and traveled twenty kilometers to my father’s grave in Los Angeles Cemetery, where we also visited the rest of my father’s family – my grandparents, my
uncle, my two aunts and my cousin.
All our duties done and complete, we went straight to Rosario’s for a belated lunch. With everybody together, including my sister and my niece from Manila, it was a cheerful day.
I don’t know but about the time before or after All Soul’s Day, a lot of deaths occur too. I’ve long observed this. Probably because the day of the faithful departed is nearing or just ended that it’s so easy to notice these deaths. This year for one, I knew a lot of acquaintances who passed away.
My hubby’s friend who we just saw in the airport last October 12 unexpectedly passed away last week. He died from a heart attack.
Then my close friend’s father also passed away in October 17. My friend and her immediate family migrated to the US around twenty years ago, but they always come visit their home country every two years. Her father died of cancer. My friend’s dad was a doctor who had wanted to come back home when he was diagnosed in August 2010. The family assured him they will fly after he completes his chemo treatment. He didn’t. My friend and the rest of the family came all the way here to bury his ashes, as her father had wished.
Our previous city mayor also died in October 29 from complications of diabetes. His kidney transplant was unsuccessful. He had been the mayor for 18 years. He was just laid to rest last November 11.
Last night, I also attended the wake of a schoolmate who died of cancer. He was only 39 years old.
May all their souls rest in peace.
After remembering our beloved departed on the day especially devoted to them, Christmas season in the Philippines officially starts. Although as early as September, we already hear Christmas carols and songs on TV and on radio, families usually start decorating their houses with Christmas ornaments after All Soul’s Day. By this time, department stores and streets are all adorned with fancy and elaborate trimmings.
Advance Merry Christmas! : )