Tuesday, July 19, 2011

40 days

Today it is 40 days since my father passed away. Here in this part of the world, they have a special ceremony on the 40th day (or the nearest Saturday). The tradition is based partly on the belief that the spirit of the person remains on this earth for 40 days and then goes to heaven or hell on the 40th day. They base this on the fact that Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after his death. Not that I believe this. Jesus said to the thief beside him on the cross "tonight you will be with me in paradise", and if the spirit goes around for another 40 days, why would he say that...

That said, I think it is lovely tradition to have a special marking of the 40th day. It shows that time has passed, but the person hasn't been forgotten. Life is starting to get back to normal, but it will never be the same again without that person.
That is me on the "throne", with my whole family in our "porter pool" in 1974/5
Here, showing respect to the dead and to their families is quite a big thing. One of my first sentences that I learnt was "primi moje saučešće" (accept my condolences) because even if it is an aunt or a second cousin, people here say this to the family members and if it is a close family member even more so... Another friend whom I hadn't seen yet said it to me again today and even though it is hard, it is nice to have people acknowledge his passing.

Even though I am far away from my family, I still feel the loss of my Dad. He was a constant in my life until now. My friends keep telling me to stop talking about him in the present tense... And I keep thinking "oh Dad would like that...I can send an email with that in..." and then it hits me again. He is no longer with us.

And now as I write this blog post to mark the 40th day, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and prayers for me and my family during this hard time...It means a lot.

1 comment:

Jacqui said...

Hey B

Just popping in to say HI and to say that you have often been in my thoughts, though I haven't been able to reach out as often as I wanted. I love this idea of the 40 days...such a special tradition. Cute pic of you as a baba - seeing your dad young really makes me think about life and how we need to live life to the full. All you have written about him and how you have been processing his passing has really inspired me to do that. Thank you. Sorry I missed you when you were here in CT - our family was under attack with winter colds. Would have liked to have given you a hug. Bless you as you carry on with life, may all the lessons that your dad taught you stay with you in your heart and may you pass them on to others too. Sending hugs.

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