A day of observance

I work in a Catholic care center. I, however, am not Catholic. I am also not ready to start talking about or singing about or anything about Thanksgiving, even though it is now officially November. So, I researched All Saints Day (today), and All Souls Day (tomorrow). Knowing that the days are observed in the Catholic faith, I doubted the majority of my residents would take any issue to discussions about the special days.

Certainly, the true definition of the two days is elaborate and, well, based in Catholicism. But I was interested when I read, “All Soul’s Day is a Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved once who have passed away” (Source). This, of course, is a very simple overview of All Souls Day, and I like it.

In my internship, I worked primarily with hospice patients. Now, most of the work I do is with residents in a care center, some of whom live in the palliative care unit. Many of my residents won’t live through the rest of this calendar year.

I have been searching for ways in which to commemorate the lives of those patients and residents who have died. Perhaps tomorrow, I can create my own version of All Souls Day, and use a portion of the day to spend honoring those people who have passed away.

Do you practice any kind of memorial for passed patients or residents?

5 Replies to “A day of observance”

  1. Thank you for this post! I almost wrote a post on All Saints Day yesterday. We celebrate All Saints Day in my church (United Methodist) on the first Sunday in November. Without getting too deep into the theology, we believe in the “priesthood of all believers,” so All Saints Day is the time we remember everyone in the church who has died in the previous year. During the service, each person’s name is read and a bell is rung after each name. It’s a powerful ritual in its brevity, I think – we just pause for a moment to remember each person, even if it has been a while since the funeral. This has become a special time for me to remember all the people I have known who have died in the previous year. Just pausing for a moment on the one special day is meaningful for me.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Rachelle.
    I have been keeping a record of all of the deceased residents with whom I had worked closely, and was originally considering creating some sort of New Year’s Eve “practice,” but I am instead going to honor those deceased people in some manner tonight. I do think actively remembering, for only a few moments, is important.

  3. Jenny! I didn’t know you read this. I can send you the list I’ve made. Of course, there are likely more residents with whom you were close whose names you’ll have to include in your list.

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