November is a month of Remembering. In the National Calendar we have Remebrance Sunday and Armstice Day. At 11 O’clock in the morning many people will stop what they are doing and fall silent for two minutes. Some of them will have the traditional Act of Remembrance too.

In the Church’s calendar we have All Saints’ Day (!st November) and All Souls’ Day (2nd November). Both of these commemorations invite us to remember people we have known and who have died. There is much overlap between these two days but the emphasis for All Souls’ Day is on people whom we have known personally, perhaps close family members who have died recently.

It is coincidentally the month when a couple of members of my family died – many years ago now. The following poem is popular at funerals and I include it because it is helpful. We want to remember those whom we have loved – that is good, I want, in due course to be remembered fondly. Here we have permission from a loved one to forget.

Remember by Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.