Holy Eve, Samhain & the Love within Loss

I’ve somehow found myself listening to Super Trooper by Abba. Not my usual taste. I’m dancing in my kitchen, trying to shake off a vague and familiar sense of stuck-ness and tap into joy.

I think of my Dad, dancing with a mop and kitchen gloves. A common sight.

I remember that he’s not here.

Tears slowly come, mixed in with happy memories. A cocktail of emotions course through me.

This is the week.

Halloween, or Holy Eve. Samhain. A time to remember our ancestors and those who have gone before us and the gifts they gave. A time to honour the dark, our inner wisdom, a time of letting go.

It’s also two years this week since my Dad passed on. His funeral was held on Halloween Day.

If he followed the Celtic Wheel this would be his perfect time to let go.

I’m slowly re-calibrating his loss.

The last two years have been confusing to say the least. Time stopped and time moved on. The pandemic came and we moved through the stages of grief within that storm, often alone, yet grateful we could honour him with a beautiful send off before it all kicked off.

I remember everyone’s kindness and support. How his community rose to honour him.

It was moving to experience.

I remember in the days leading up to his passing sitting with him as he slept, studying his face, the lines on his brow, the bump on his nose, his high cheekbones, all the markings that time left on his soft thinning skin, trying to comprehend how soon he would no longer be physically here on earth.

I studied his hands. More familiar than my own. How I would miss them holding mine. Hands that comforted and reassured me as a small child. I watched and willed myself to always remember them.

I tried to understand so I could prepare myself for his imminent disappearance. The vast loss of his being and his support.

There would be no more calls or texts, shared projects, encouraging words of support that got me to adulthood and continued to be one of my main safe spaces of support. I needed to face the truth of that.

I hoped and wished our connection would remain fully intact on the inside, that I would feel his presence when a friendly robin appeared close-by or when the sun broke through grey clouds on an overcast day and I would be missing him.

These little things have brought comfort and gratitude in the time that has passed, especially at the beginning.

Overtime I came to understand more deeply that the logical mind doesn’t understand the death of a loved one so well, hard as it may try. It’s an experience we slowly learn to physically live with day by day.

Sometimes I forget that my Dad is no longer here.

I go to text him when I arrive in Rhodes.

I hear one of his favourite songs and wish I could see his unique dance moves one more time.

I have a hard day and long for his warm friendship.

I create history projects with R and remember his love of learning and story, all the wonderful facts he could share on our topic.

I travel and remember his joy of discovering new people and places and his inclusive values.

I drink an Irish coffee and remember his anecdotal stories, corny Dad jokes and delighted laugh.

And then I remember. He’s not here now.

Me at every age grieves.

Tiny, teenage and adult me all missing my Dad in their own way.

All the stages of my life woven inside with places I belong, connections I treasure, all that I love are trying to recalibrate to the loss.

Like a new birth, a death impacts everything.

There is so much beauty and truly special connections in my life though the gaping space Dad lived in is still there and I often tiptoe around it so it doesn’t hurt too much.

I don’t want to fall into that empty space.

I build my life around that loss.

I live my life with his absence. Grateful for all the gifts he shared. Too many to name. I am truly grateful.

What is left when a loved one dies?


Love is what is left in that space.

Through grief we come to know our own strength and vast capacity for love.

It clears the way for what we value to lead our lives.

It shows us just how strong and resilient we are.

It makes us grateful for life and all we have been gifted.

It urges us to do what we are here to do and enjoy each day.

Thats what my Dad would say. Make the best of everyday. And that he most certainly did.

Fly free Dad.

Wonderful soul. True friend.

Invisible now but always loved, missed, treasured by all who love you.