There have been a few times in my life when I’ve made big moves. This has resulted in leaving some amazing people behind in other states as I found my way to new adventures. Some friends I stayed in contact with for only a few years and some are still a part of my life, albeit long distance.
There is one thing I adopted early on as a way to cope with missing them. I would ritualistically indulge in one of their favorite foods or drinks. Southern Comfort for the guys in my first band, apple juice for the first friend I made in college, and fish ‘n chips with hush puppies for Grandpa Hollis.
Eventually, I found myself doing this with friends and family who had passed on as well. So, this year when I started reading more on the traditions of All Souls Day and All Saints Day, it made me smile.
Many of these traditions involve creating an altar for your loved ones who have passed. You can have pictures and favorite trinkets displayed. Many adorn the alters with flowers and candles. But one thing I loved was how you leave pieces of candy for the young ones who have passed and adult beverages, food, or even cigarettes for the elders. It is such a beautiful sentiment.
Another part of this tradition is to visit and clean around the tombs or graves of your ancestors. This is one thing I miss being able to do now that I live far from my home state. But, back to the food!
Now when I say “ritualistically indulge” in food that reminds you of a loved one, I don’t mean to become a glutton with the thing, rather take the time to breathe deeply as you notice the texture, flavors, and smell of what you’re eating or drinking. Then, as you enjoy the food, think of happy memories you had with your loved one. Just imagine all the love you’re generating, reaching them like a tight hug.
We connect so much through our senses of smell and taste. Maybe that’s why Pumpkin Spice is such a hit this time of year. I’m sure we’ve all used food in a way to reminisce, even if it’s just making a batch of cookies like a grandparent may have done at the holidays. It can be a portal to another time and a sense of home. I think it’s a beautiful way to honor those we can’t be with anymore.
In the spirit of this idea, I’ve written a Thanksgiving short story to be released on November 23rd with Pilgrim Fowl Press. This Kindle exclusive even has a bonus recipe inside! As you head into your Thanksgiving week, I’m wishing you so many things to be grateful for.