Saturday, December 23, 2006

Silent night

Originally uploaded by palluu.
It's Christmas Eve already. My brother just went to bed and I am about to hit the sack as well. It's peaceful and completely quiet. You never get this in an apartment building in Amsterdam. No clonks from the pipes and no one running up and down the stairs next door. Just silent.

Today we - my father, aunt and brother - did the traditional trip to the graveyard. We have been doing this for as long as I remember. We used to go to Karkkila on Christmas Eve but after my parents moved to Helsinki, we have started to make the visit on the day before.

I remember from my childhood that it was always very cold when we visited all the family graves, lit a candle and shared some memories on the people who have passed away. In the beginning it was mostly visiting graves of people who I have never had the chance to meet. These trips were done with my grandparents. Now we visit their graves which in a sad but beautiful ways reminds us that some things are evident. Just looking at the dates on the stone the memories come back very clearly.

As I have grown older, I have had the courage to ask my father who each person was and why some of them died so young. It makes the visit less ceremonial and much more personal. One of the siblings of my grandfather died just after her 1st birthday. As my aunt wisely said:"Times have changed in that way. In those times often a bad flue was too much for a child."

I have always valued this trip. It is a beautiful way of stopping all the fuss about presents, taking a silent moment and remembering the people who used to sit in the Christmas table. The right way to start a family celebration.

Merry Christmas.

1 comment:

Bertan Selim said...

merry christmas tommi.

i guess there is no christmas like there is christmas at home!
enjoy it while it lasts and enjoy the staying up late and being all decandent.

have a fantastic stay in the winter city of Helsinki.