Cane Points: All Saints Day and All Souls Day: Time for Family

October 31 is a special non-working holiday to give employees, particularly those who live away from their homes, the chance to return to their places to pay homage to their dearly departed on All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

For daily wage earners under “no work, no pay” system, they might opt to go home this Friday and forego the day’s earnings on Monday (October 30) so that they’ll have more time with their families.

Lucky are those monthly-paid workers who still have many leave credits left, because they can file leaves of absence for Monday, Thursday and Friday next week. They’ll have the entire week to spend with their families.

But then Monday is payday. Only a few employees can afford to miss receiving their salaries on Monday.

In their battle to keep body and soul together, working stiffs seldom have time for their families.

That’s the saddest reality. Income earners eke out a living for the family but, often, the demands of earning a living leaves little time for raising a family.

The children and the spouse sometimes take a backseat to the rigors of work that, before the wage earner realizes it, the family he works so hard to provide for is wrecked by neglect.

The two-day respite on Tuesday and Wednesday next week gives the opportunity for the family to spend more time together. Though the holidays are for paying respects to the dearly departed, it can still be a meaningful family affair, as parents teach their children the importance of taking care of family, especially the living and even the dead.

Though there are some family members whom we often wish were dead, we can’t help meeting them in the cemetery when we pay our respects to our departed family members.

The back-stabbing will have to be put off for a while, as even mortal family enemies make beso-beso to project the image of civility in front of other family members.

We must accept that family will always be family. The last persons we should quarrel with are family and relatives.

They are the ones we are going to meet during the obligatory homage to the cemetery. We can’t avoid running into them during birthdays, graduations, despedidas, baptisms, marriages, and, yes, funerals.

All Saints Day and All Souls Day should remind us of the family’s importance. We celebrate as a family and we also grieve as a family.

We take care of family, living or dead. We demonstrate to our children how we honor the dead, even as we contemplate how our children will honor us when it’s time for us to leave.

Will the grass in our burial plots be regularly manicured? Will our names etched in the tombstones be regularly cleaned and freshly painted? Will there be always somebody to light candles and bring flowers to our graves?

Will our family grieve much when we die? Or will they bury us under tons and tons of boulders to ensure we don’t get out of our tombs when we die?

What we show our children in paying respects to our departed family members will dictate how our graves will be tended when we die.

What we show our children in the life we live now will determine how they will live out their respective family lives when it’s time for them to marry.

Ah! The responsibilities of parenthood! Regardless of holidays, you have to be out there doing your duties for the family, even just by showing how to properly pay respects to the departed.

Parenting, sad to say, recognizes no time off. You have to be constantly showing the best example for your children to ensure that they are raised properly.

It is thru the family that life is brought forth and nurtured.

It is through the family that values and principles are communicated and lived out.

It is through our children that our lives go on.

Without the family, where will life be?

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