Thy soul shall find itself alone
‘Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness — for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.
The night, though clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven
With light like hope to mortals given,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop from the grass.
The breeze, the breath of God, is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token.
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!
Spirits of the Dead
– by Edgar Allan Poe
The older I get, the more I am confronted with finality and thoughts of death. Not that it affects me at this point in my life, but I find it happening all around me – dear friends who moved on far too early, family members who succumbed to the final sleep, and the horrors of the world that rob so many of a dignified life worth living.
Then there are those who are, for all intents and purposes, biologically alive but fail to understand the true meaning of being alive or grasp the purpose of their own existence.
Why are we here?
What is our purpose?
Whose life, other than our own, are we meant to make a difference in?
Days like these I turn to the spirits of the wiser ones who have passed on and seek their advice.
What would they have done differently?
How would they have acted if they had been in my shoes?
If they could lead me somewhere, where will it be to?
At times I feel the spirit of my grandfather frowning down upon me, grumbling that I have not ensured that more justice in the world takes place or that I take in more strays (two-legged or four-legged). My grandmother would be saying I need to learn to take better care of my plants, be less generous to others, and live more frugally. My mother-in-law would be telling me to bake more, take more holidays, and trust my instincts. Daddy would be nagging me to complete my tool set and do more for the parish. Mommy, on the other hand, would simply take me in her arms and ask me what does my soul want.
Have I done enough?
Have I made the right decisions?
What more do I need to change?
I could never tell the difference between All Saints Day and All Souls Day, since both days are intended to honour the departed in deed and prayer. It is my hour of silence and secrecy, but also my time to seek solace in solitude with all the saints and all the souls.