Monday 31 October 2016

All Saints Day or The Day to Celebrate the Dead

Today 31 October is All Saints DayChristian festival celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown.

In Mexico, this day is also known as Día de Muertos or The Day of the Dead.  The veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest on this day, and traditionally Mexican people gather to celebate and honour the lives of their ancestors.

31 October is also the day my Dad, Isaac Benjamin Heinemann, was born with a caul wrapped around his head. Birth with a caul is rare, occurring in fewer than 1 in 80,000 births.

My Dad was indeed a rare and special soul: peacemaker, joker, rescuer, master builder, sportsman, hard working miner, underground fire-fighter (winning numerous bravery awards), helper, healer and a talented dowser.  He couldn't, however, hold a tune, even though he loved singing hymns! Throughout his life, even two days before his final devastating stroke, he would literally give away the shirt on his back to anyone in need, irrespective of race, gender or religion: an unusual trait for his generation of Afrikaaners, brought up in the conservative NG Kerk.

To honour his spirit and his life on this doubly special day, we'll be giving away 25 x R20 notes to random homeless people, with this note attached:
My Dad and I fooling around (ca 1963)

My poetry volume A LAMP AT MIDDAY was dedicated to my dad.
Many of the poems express my grief at the long, slow process of his dying.
Happy Birthday Dad - we love you!