Death and All Souls

My Uncle Eugene with my grandmother

My Uncle Eugene with my grandmother

Death was not a taboo topic in my house growing up. As a child, I experienced a lot of loss, particularly on my mother's side of the family. Her brother was a Catholic priest in New Mexico and he died of melanoma on All Saints Day. He was taken far too young in his early 40's but there was something special about a priest dying on All Saints Day.

All Souls Day or All Saints Day is a day of reflection and remembrance of those that have passed before us. For most of us, it is just the day after Halloween as we face the challenge of managing all the candy in the house. This weekend I spent Halloween and All Souls Day away at wedding.

The topic of death showed up in the ceremony in a very organic way. As they shared stories of their path to find each other, it was revealed that the groom had been critically ill from carbon monoxide poisoning after arriving in China a few years ago. The year of recovery after the incident allowed for his life to slow down and redirect him on a new path that would bump him into his bride.

As Nurses, we are all too familiar with society's desire to turn away from the reality of death and dying. We hold a lot for our patients and families. Today, take a moment an honor the lives that have passed before you. Then more importantly, take a moment and honor yourself for the important work you do to hold the space for the conversations, the grief and the healing that takes place.