Candle in the window
Before I came to Australia, I lived in Manchester, close to the Kavanagh clan. Being very young, and footloose, it didn’t fully dawn on me that I would be leaving them when I emigrated. I thought I would wander back to them some day. Instead I married and settled down to raise a family, and somehow never managed a trip home to see my beloved uncles and aunts, or my young cousins.
This Christmas the list of people I will never see again in this life has grown. My mother died recently, joining my dad, my dear uncles, including Uncle Gerry and Uncle Mick, Aunty Mary, Aunty Kathleen and Aunty Peg, cousin Siobhan, my adored in-laws, Sonny and Eils, Nana Neville and our little niece, our beautiful granddaughter Kassidy – what a reunion they will be having!
But we will have them in our hearts, these lost ones, and the friends who cannot be with us, who live far away, the cousins all grown up now with children and grandchildren of their own (thank goodness for Facebook!).
Long ago I learned the tradition of lighting a candle on Christmas Eve to call the lost ones home and make sure they found their way. I’m not sure where it came from, it is probably allied with the traditions of the Day of the Dead, and other traditions when candles are lit to honor the dead walking among us for one night. This year I lit a candle again on Christmas Eve, in memory of those who went on ahead, and to let them know they still have a home in our hearts.
I place a candle in the window
To call the lost ones home.
Ghosts and wanderers,
I pray that they will see the light
And know that we wait
With open arms and hearts
For their return.