at the kitchen table: ghosts and rituals

The holidays around the change from summer to fall are rife with ancestor worship, death, and touching the spirit-world. Samhain. Halloween. All Souls’ Day. Dìa de los Muertos. Something about the end of October conjures the thinness of the veil between the land of the living and the land of the dead. In many cultures we invite the dead into our homes, places of worship, and communities. We show lost loved ones a good time, with feasting, sweets, games, and offerings. And we prepare for visits from the unloved as well—the restless, unhappy, malevolent spirits who might pop by to instill fear, extract revenge, or just toilet paper our lawns. Frightening costumes are donned to “Boo!” them back across the veil. Communities light bonfires, or pumpkins, to fight the darkness, and to guide the path home for our beloved dead.

Even in this secular community of grieving parents, we use October to remember our children, grieve our losses and remind the world that we are still here. October 15 is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. 

This month, we are sitting around the kitchen table talking about ghosts and rituals. Our answers are here. Want to join in? Post the questions and your answers on your own blog, link to us here at Glow in the Woods meme-style, and share the link to your post in the comments below. If you don't have your own online space, simply post your answers directly in the comments.


1 | Do you believe you can communicate with people in the afterlife, or they with you?  Do you believe you can do this with your child?

2 | Do you believe in ghosts?  Has this changed since the loss of your child(ren)?

3 | Have your feelings changed about Halloween?  How do you respond to Halloween humor such as zombie and ghost costumes or macabre gravestones as decorations?

4 | Does your religious or cultural background have a day or holiday where the focus is honoring the dead? How do you use this experience to honor your own child(ren)?

5 | Do you ever reach outside of your spiritual/religious framework for comfort from other practices/religions?

6 | Is there a season or holiday, other than your child(ren)’s birthday, that inspires you to perform a ritual in memory of your child(ren)?

7 | Is there a ritual you perform everyday? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly?

8 | Do you perform any public rituals (in real life or online) on October 15? How do your friends, family, or community respond to your acknowledgment of loss?


(to comment and partipate, please leave your answers and/or link on this month's at the kitchen table page)