It may be strange to think of death as a holiday to be celebrated, or that there should be a holiday that focuses on death exclusively. But, the way I see it, why shouldn’t we?
People are so afraid of death.
That fear is in everything. We buy products to make us look younger. We get sold miracle pills, and try and find out the secrets of those who live to be 100. We try and block out the dying, deny that it is happening, deny that it exists.
So we ask God: If you love us so much, why do you make us die?
But death is never that simple.
There are many ways to die, many ways to leave this life. It is a mystery that we will never truly understand until we experience it.
But we can understand grief.
And as there are many ways to die, there are many ways to grieve.
Sometimes the grief is acute, sharp and stinging, like a knife.
Sometimes, the grief is a debilitating sadness that won’t let go.
And sometimes, if we’re lucky, grief is a sad happiness that a person has lived an amazing life and is now moving on to the next.
Someone asked me once: “How can there be love in death?”
I said, how can there not be love in death?
For the sick, it’s a comforting hand in theirs.
For the sudden and violent, to know that there was someone who cared enough to grieve.
For the sad and lonely, that there was something there in the end that came for them and took them in.
We are all equal in death.
We are all there. In the Summerlands, if you like. Or Heaven. Or in the Earth. Or with the angels.
It is the cycle of life: we are born, we live, we die.
And so, at Samhain, we grieve. We come together, to commune with the Ancestors and Beloved Dead, and we grieve together.
Because, it is only in grieving together that we can find the love in death in this life.