I remember celebrating All Saints Day at our church in Salisbury, NC where they would call out all the names of the church members who had died in the past year. It was a very somber occasion. We all sat there quietly waiting for it to be over. At least I did. It didn't seem like we were really celebrating the lives of the dead. It seemed like we were just remembering that they died. Maybe I should have tried looking at it a different way.
Yesterday I was peeling apples and as I did it I was remembering my Mom Mom C. who passed away 2 (or has it been 3?) years ago. When I was a kid I remember watching her peel apples with a paring knife and she could peel the whole thing with the peel staying in one piece. I thought that was amazing. Most of my memories of Mom Mom are in the kitchen. I have a windbreaker jacket and a necklace that always reminds me of my friend Jean who was my running partner and best friend and died of breast cancer 12 years ago. We have some shiny tin cups that sweat when they have something cold in them. I will never see them without thinking of my other Mom Mom B. She used to serve us Fresca soda which I never had anywhere else until I was older. Of course there are many other things that remind me of my grandmothers but these are a few that stand out in my mind the most often. There are many reminders in our house of my father-in-law who liked to put his initials on or in everything he owned. There are tattoos of RFP all over our house. Not only do I remember him because of his labels but because he was such a good recycler of things. He made all kinds of things out of leftover "stuff". When I made my cheese press out of an old plastic pitcher it reminded me of him.
These are much happier ways for me to remember friends and family who passed, and these little things are just a piece of how they touch me.