When I was very young, and despite your snicker I actually was young, going through the primary grades of St Peter's (sic) School in New Brunswick, New Jersey this day, aside from Good Friday, was the saddest day of the year.
Today is All Soul's Day. When you're nine and have transferred to 'the Catholic School' from Pine Grove Manor in Franklin Township because there was finally room in the class near the start of the fall for you and Neil, your next door neighbor who is now suddenly promoted to best friend, the more you think about the implications of All Souls' Day, the sadder it gets.
As I've aged (badly) I've developed quarrels with the Catholic Church in which I was raised but most of that churn is what I've taken to calling middle-level management. With all due respect to the priests, bishops and even His Holiness, the Pope, I'm not sure how much of the edifice the one true church (as it calls itself when it finds/feels itself under attack) has created since Jesus Christ founded it, Petrus, would pass the 'R U Serious?" test with the Lord.
We're not grading on a curve, either, guys. Wanted to pass that along. But one of the things I still believe, regardless of my exact grid coordinates in the theological hemisphere, is that there can be nothing more tragic than to be forever forgotten. As a primary grader on this night, I used to fall asleep trying to remember every single person I had met in my life-a tough enough job when you're nine but when you're nine and fifty-one, it borders on the impossible.
But maybe that's what 'heaven' actually is-the memory of you by another person. Look at history-much of it is a tale told by an---well, never mind who's doing the telling, but pay close attention to who's doing the remembering. Is forgotten the opposite of famous? And who prays for the souls of the faithfully departed when no one remains who recalls who they were? When facts fade, faith must suffice.