November 1 and 2, All Saints and All Souls Days in my Catholic tradition, are celebrations of our connectedness with those who came before; those who are recognized as saints by means of the process of canonization as well as all the other faithful people who are not so recognized and, in the case of All Souls Day, an opportunity to remember and pray for all the deceased. This idea of this connection, forward and backward in time, as well as with other members of the Church and the world, is very dear to me.
This past week, in particular, during Sandy and its aftermath, this connection, backward, forward, and wide, was made very concrete to me. The very real suffering of so many individuals and families, meant that almost everyone was affected whether directly or indirectly. The outreach to help that so many people are displaying, whether to people related or not, is an expression of that connection.
…Which brings me to my Dad…
November 4th is my Dad's Birthday. My dad died twenty years ago. It hardly seems possible that it's that long ago; we are still connected by ties of love and shared experience.
There was an article on the editorial page of the NY Times, that spoke of what the author felt was an erroneous concern by many people that children would be traumatized by the storm. The author stated that most adults that he or she (don't remember the gender of the writer) had spoken to who had experienced a large storm with their families had memories that featured the adventurous aspects of the experience and pleasant time spent with their families in unusual circumstances.
It made me think of my own experience with my family who, while visiting my grandmother in East Quogue, got stranded there during Hurricane Carol. I was 9 years old. It was scary, but it was also an adventure, making do without electricity and figuring out how to help out; my help being actually needed. My family was together and that provided all the security needed to get us through the experience together.
I always felt safe with my parents, and in particular, my Dad, not just during a hurricane, but all the time.
I thought I'd end this little stream of consciousness with a couple of photos of me as a young child with my Dad. The first is of Dad and me at Central Park Zoo. The second is on a family picnic with my maternal grandmother and me.
Happy Birthday, Dad!