There is something comforting about commemorating All Souls Day. Yeah I know…sounds morbid; I mean remember how we were wailing and bawling and screaming and tearing our hairs out when they died? We thought we would die too. But today, as we Filipinos flock to cemeteries to visit our dearly beloved dead, we celebrate their lives and the memories they left behind. We leave behind the regrets, the sadness and the bitterness associated with them and remember instead the good things they had done. And then there’s the informal, impromptu family reunion where we re-establish connection, catching up and getting in touch, introducing new and young members, sharing gossip and news from across each other’s separate but intertwined universe. And of course there’s the food and laughter to be shared–the bonds of love and affection palpable. And no matter the enmity and estrangement caused by emotional rather than physical distance, there is the persistent and undeniable desire to bridge gaps and heal wounds. And time is of course the reliable balm soothing wounded prides and scars, if not today, then in the promise of another year. It is indeed amazing how death can bring families together, that strangely assures each member of the survival of this institution where they belong, not by choice but by blood, not by prejudice but by nature.