To those not in the liturgical know, today is All Souls' day.
A day when every year I take a look back and think for a bit.
Every year for the last 7 years, I've wondered whether my name will be on the list of those who have died and who people want to remember in 12 months time. Even last year, when I was 4 days away from an interview for a job I was fairly certain to get, I still thought I might be on the list this year. I had convinced myself I was going to get the job then be an utter failure at it so would end trying to kill myself again as that would be the least bad way out of the situation. As you may have gathered, err, I'm still here. And haven't tried to change that either.
Next year, if I'm on the list, it will be because someone/thing else changed that [or I've daydreamed into the path of an oncoming vehicle or something, which won't be purposeful instead will just be because my brain isn't fully alert at the moment]. My shift to "I can't kill myself if I wanted to" is probably going to be a steadfast one.
However, when the list of those who people have put on to be remembered was read out this morning, it still got me. Would my grandmother who I adored, admired and felt privileged to know and love until she died nearly 8 years ago recognise me now? Not physically recognise me, though that might be a challenge. Would she recognise ME? Have I grown into an adult with a completely different outlook on life? To the point where my morals of a studious 12 year old with high hopes for all of humanity are missing? Has my mentalness knocked that out of me to the point she would see a different person standing in front of her? I don't know. Well, I fear I know the answer, but I don't want to admit it.
Would the 13 year old (whose name I put on the list) who killed herself 7 years ago have decided life was worth living if she had been stopped? I can't say, I didn't know her. But from dealing with those who were struggling to deal with me and then the huge grief for this girl, it affected me.
Would the man who died 10 days ago who I was meant to meet for the first time 4 days ago be recovering if he had gone to the GP one day earlier?
The truth is people die. And today is a day for remembering those who have died and knowing they are at peace now. Even after doing 8 funerals this year, I won't ever get complacent about the fact people die. It can have the tendency to move from "being part of the grieving process and the final bit of life" towards "3 hymns, music before and after, home in an hour". Which is crass, and something I hope never fully happens.
Tonight I shall go to the other service and listen to the list of my church once again. Safe in the knowledge that those I have had the pleasure of knowing who have died are somewhere better than this world, and those who may have even been lost out of people's memories are there too. When names and faces and beings become such distant memories they are only inside one person on earth (or indeed no persons on earth), they are still hugely cared for.
I'm still here. My name isn't on the list. Neither are people who I really feared were going to be, they've got through another year. A day with death intricately entwined with it, but a day I wouldn't ever miss having to deal with. I need to be dealing with it, so I do. Year after year after year. All Souls' day.