Candles for the Dead

Samhain (like Beltane) was seen as a time when the “door” to the Otherworld opened enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings, to come into our world. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them.Samhain on Wikipedia


During all the panic and muppet-arm waving about NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow, it just dawned on me that at this time last year my father was still alive. The book that I was planning on writing was based on an old story that he used to read aloud to me from a worn book which had been his own as a boy. It was all for him (and the result was indeed dedicated to him).

I’d flown back to the US in September for my last visit with him and starting that project had a lot to do with finally writing it for him. Not because it was a book that he would like, mind you – but because of the family memories associated with the original book. I finished it before he died and managed to get a rough first draft to him which he was too ill to read, but at least he got to see the dedication. It meant a lot to me.

I have four sisters, and I suppose we were all “Daddies Girls.” He was such a larger-than-life figure to us all. (And to the community where we lived, to be honest – he did so much for the town and surrounding county. He headed the local Search & Rescue, assisted with creating the local chapter of the American Red Cross, was awarded Reserve Peace Officer of the Year and a Meritorious Service Award from the Sheriff’s Department.) More than that, he was the man who spent every weekend camping with us, or teaching us to hunt, or giving us riding lessons and hauling us to horse shows. He spent one night every month stressing over the household budget for the next month (we weren’t exactly wealthy) with a half-full glass of Scotch at his elbow to ease the pain. He was the strong backbone of our family, and once he was gone we drifted apart.

So tonight on All Hallows Eve I will light a candle for my father to show that I remember. And tomorrow I will attempt to make sense of my mess of a book idea because he despised quitters, and whiners, and liars – and I will be better than that. He is still my rock.

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