When I walked around the cemetery in Rome and came across this headstone I thought about the kind of love and grief that would inspire a man to have it made for his wife’s grave. I never imagined that seven years later I would understand that kind of love and grief on such a personal level as I do now.
Today is All Souls Day, a day that I have used to show how Catholic I am for the last 8 years. This is the day that separates us from Protestants, the day we pray for our dead! We have traditions and things we do for the day to mark it and celebrate it. We are Catholic. That is what this day has meant to me in the years past. I didn’t grieve any of the losses of our loved ones on this day. I used them. I used them to make a point. I don’t remember ever being sad on All Souls day before. But today I am so very sad.
I regret all of those years of not really grasping exactly what this day is about. It is not about sticking it to Protestants, although it surely makes a good argument about why we pray for the dead that isn’t so “we are right and ya’ll suck”, but it is so much more than that. It is so personal because we will all die one day and because, for me anyway, losing Anthony isn’t something to use to make an argument. Even if I wanted to do that, it would be impossible because I am just so completely stunned this is my life.
The intimacy that I feel this year is something I haven’t ever had. This Feast Day feels like it is all up in my business today. Every moment is me thinking and praying for the soul of my son and hoping for his salvation. Hope for Catholics is not the same as making a wish, it is about trusting in God’s promises even when we do not see how things could be possible.
Today is a difficult day. It never has been difficult for me before. I have always been cheerful and very much “thank God we are Catholic and know that people go to heaven” minded, which is part of that Prosperity Gospel the Catholic version I have talked about before. But today is not the same. Today comes with tears and with prayers and with me begging God for a sign that my son is ok.
Today I am in a space of accepting that this is real. He is really dead and that my option now is to pray for him until the day that I die in hopes that he will meet me and take me to Jesus. That also means not cussing people out online or in real life, staying close to the Sacraments and striving for sainthood.
All Souls Day Year 1: I miss Anthony and can’t do anything but pray for him today.
Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages and emails telling me ya’ll are lighting candles and offering masses for him today. I can’t even begin to tell you how much that means to me.