Ah, November, you are rapidly coming to a close. Before Advent takes over, I want to take a moment to note a special family tradition that we started this November, in hopes that we'll continue it for many years to come.
During the month of November, beginning with All Saints and All Souls Days, the Church takes time to celebrate and remember the faithful who have passed before us in life. We are in turn encouraged to remember deceased loved ones in a special way.
This year, T suggested that we set aside a night each week to remember one of our departed family members with a special meal. Each Friday or Saturday in November, we have dedicated a family dinner to a loved one, chosen a reminiscent menu, and shared slideshows, pictures and stories during the meal. We finish with a special dessert and, most importantly, special prayers.
We started the month with a dinner in honor of Dee (T's dad) and Grandma Cookie. We had steak (Dee always told everyone to get the steak when he was treating), creamed corn and Schubert rolls, and the cookies and whipped cream for dessert. When we finished our slideshow, Buddy Bear said, "that Dee, he a funny guy." G-bear was interested to see the pictures of herself as a baby in Grandma Cookies arms. E-Bear said it was his new favorite meal.
Week two we celebrated GG Isabel with pasta and brownies (because she was known to love a good dessert). It was wonderful to give the kids their own chance to share memories of GG, since we last saw her just 18 months ago.
For week three, we were traveling to Chicago as a family for a friends wedding, but we didn't want to miss a celebration. So, we made the most of it and got Happy Meals at McDonalds in honor of my Grandpa Dick, who loved to take his grandkids to McD's. The kids loved telling friends over the weekend that we had celebrated great grandpa at McDonalds.
Which brings us to this weekend, when we celebrate my grandma Luverne together after Thanksgiving. She loved liver and onions, which I probably won't be able to make. But, hopefully, MoMo will be able to tell some wonderful stories about Grandma to make up for it.
Regardless of who we are remembering, our prayer at the end of the evening has been the same:
"Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel (from Luke 2:29-32).
May the Angels lead you to paradise; may the martyrs come to welcome you and take you to the new city, the new and eternal Jerusalem. May the choirs of angels welcome you. Where Lazarus is poor no longer, may you have eternal rest." (from the Antiphons of Commendation)
We are so thankful for generations of loving family members who have gone before us. Lord, thank you for their examples and love. May they rest with you forever.