Prayers help to spread love and peace across the planes of life and death. After forty days of a passing of an individual, he or she is finally able to ascend from any pain and suffering felt up to and through his or her passing. So why the gathering only now? Well, for some, power in numbers always helps in these difficult times. Whether one is Catholic or religious to any degree, coping helps when you have the strength of those close to you to carry the burden of loss. On the 31st of August of this year, we celebrated the fortieth day of my sister Johannah’s passing with friends and family, through song and prayer, and through laughter and love.
From sadness to happiness, surrounded by her family and friends. My mother was probably the biggest example of a humble support structure being broken down and slowly repaired once more these past few months. She was undeniably the closest to my sister in the months leading up to the fateful July 18th morning of her passing, and it is very inspiring to see her go through so much, to have given everything she could, only to amount to a (physical) loss. Because we all know how spiritual my mother is and her endearing social strength as she dealt with what seemed like the inevitable, I never truly believed that we lost my sister, her daughter, in the spiritual sense. I sat with my cousins and one of them said that she was so eager to find out that she was able to salvage voice messages from my sister because my cousin simply missed her voice. Comparatively, I can imagine my mother taking care of chores around the house, missing the voice of her daughter and the conversations she often had almost every day with her. And yet where silence has been for the past forty days, the void had slowly closed with the increasing presence of her friends and relatives. While only physically temporary, I’m sure the memories of the echoes of laughter and smiles all around during this fortieth-day prayer and celebration of the life of my sister will continue to resonate around my parents’ home.
So what of the cake? Life goes on, and so do celebrations for those still among us in life. I just turned twenty-seven and my family found it best to roll in a cake and small celebration for my own life’s anniversary toward the end of the night. Grateful, no doubt, but melancholic; it was a wonderful honor to have so many people cheering for me and singing birthday wishes, but it still felt a little empty without my sister there to sing along. We can only hope that she was watching down on us that night as we payed our respects to her as I turned another year older; she would have been proud as she always was of me when she was still with us.
The rest of the photos from this event can be seen at my flickr album.