Absence in Tradition
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
What about permanent absence?
Absence is easier to digest when the absentee has not been a permanent feature in our days. The grieving of someone who has been in our lives every day and with whom we have grown accustomed to call on every important or unimportant moment of our lives is much harder to get through. Doable but difficult.
When someone has not been in our lives everyday, the mind plays games thinking them far but safe; it is easier to make believe they are around until something triggers their absence.
That trigger is…today.
There is a Novena, a catholic devotion that asks for graces consisting of prayer for 9 days in anticipation of the symbolic birth of Jesus (even if he was not born on December 25, that’s when we celebrate it) that I have done every year of my life - I assume, even 7 months old, I was in the living room with my family during the Novena.
The Novena traditionally starts today, December 16, 9 days before Christmas. All of us, my maternal family, will start it today, but there will be one person missing.
My aunt probably did the Novena every day of her long life too and during the last 8 years when prayer has been more needed than ever in my life, she devoted the Novena to me, or at least, I was one of the prime requested graces. Yesterday, as she expired, I asked her to pray for us as she travels closer to God.
I know she will.
Tonight I will sit in front of the Nativity and will carry on the tradition of all my years, a tradition of faith I hope to pass on to my kids.
There might seem to be one person missing tonight but there isn’t, it is just my mind playing games. She is still there, praying the Novena with us, like she has done every December of her life and my life.
The tradition continues.