Sunday was All Souls’ Day. On this day, as well as November 1st, Filipinos remember the faithfully departed and flock to cemeteries and columbariums to spend the day with their family and friends.
It has often been wondered why the living seem to always feast during this festival for the dead. Some people don’t understand the need for a celebration.
In truth, I didn’t fully appreciate it either, until recently.
Since as far back as I could remember, my family and I would go to Caloocan to my paternal grandmother’s house in on November 1st so my Dad could visit his dad’s grave. The next day, we would all go with the rest of the family on my mom’s side, along with other families in our community, to South Cemetery to pray at my older brother’s grave.
My dad never really brought me to the cemetery where my grandfather was buried – it was always packed full of people and it would have been easy to lose kids amidst the chaos that the cemetery was on November 1st. When his remains were moved to my grandmother’s gravesite, I was already in highschool then, that was the only time that I was really able to say I visited his grave.
The visits to the South Cemetery were always solemn. Since the plot where my older brother (who died when he was just eleven days old) is buried in is leased by the Church, his neighbors there are also other Church members (some of whom are probably distant relatives of ours). We would always have a priest along with us for those visits. The priest would lead the prayers, and we would sing a hymn or two. Some of the families (and probably my Lola too) would bring cold water/juice and light snacks that we all could partake of before we leave and head back home.
It was an outing definitely, a commemoration of life.
We never were like the others who would stay for an overnight vigil at the cemetery. Nor would we bring loud music, or alcoholic drinks, or gamble, at the gravesite. To each his own, I guess.
As I grew older, I began to skip these trips. I don’t know exactly for what reasons I missed them during the years that I did. But this year, I had work on Saturday and my parents didn’t go to visit my paternal grandma’s grave until evening. My parents went to my brother’s on Sunday morning (I suspect earlier than the rest of the community members) just as I arrived from work. I skipped that one because I needed to sleep so I could be awake for the luncheon we were having that day too.
You see, for five years now, another All Souls’ Day tradition has sprung. We would have potluck lunch at the columbarium, and gather round for my Lola (maternal grandmother) and Auntie Leesah. Close family friends were also welcome to this gathering. The kids enjoyed playing in the gardens at the back of the Cathedral, and several times also found ways to get themselves wet at the fountain. This Sunday, we were all there. I pray that in years to come, I wouldn’t find myself having excuses to miss even this one.
At work, I started at yet a new chapter. I have mixed feelings about this and all I really want to say is I can’t wait for the time when I will feel up to this new challenge.
I will be doing pretty much the same things but with a bunch of new people. There will be familiar faces, but I know that they are not going to be there with me everytime, and definitely not all the way. I have been doing pretty well with my current LOB, and I have really enjoyed the past eight months. I had never really though I would say goodbye and start over somewhere else. Not so soon.
In a way, I feel like having me move is as easy as moving around office furniture. I spent eleven months as an agent for a tech account. Eleven months for the same tech account (seven dedicated to a specific line of business) as a trainer. Then five or six months as team manager for a much-beloved-and-still-sorely-missed tech/cs account. Until I had to move and spend seven months back to my original tech account. And now, eight months with the LOB with so many supported products. The upside? It’s all in the same family. This new one is still in the family, I guess.
On the other hand, this account may actually be my destiny. Haha. Back when I was a trainer, I had a chance to work with this account that, at the time, was just starting out. I had to be dedicated to another account that launched at around the same time, so I dropped whatever it was I was doing for them. The opportunity to join them came again when we all had to be reallocated, but it still wasn’t my time to join them. And now, just when I least expected it, I am already there.
Not a lot of people know of the move yet, and many were surprised. I was able to bid my agents goodbye, with exception of three who have been on their rest days.
I’m sure this is a good thing. And I don’t want to start anything with a heavy heart.
I will go there and bring all that I know with me. And pray that things will go smoothly. 🙂
My next post is going to be my 200th on this blog, and to celebrate it, I am hoping to be able to give something away as a gift. *finger crossed*