Last week the theme of ritual surfaced time and again. I attended both a retirement party and a funeral; I completed the MS walk; I also heard Father Mike talk about ritual within the church setting.

Why do we have rituals? To celebrate holidays and events. To alleviate anxiety. To cope with difficult circumstance. To grieve. To signify a rite of passage. To honour a life. To gather as family.

Whichever culture we are from, whatever religion we belong to, ritual is present. The elements of the ritual might differ, but the need for ritual remains.

As I walked the MS Walk today for the 25th time, surrounded by others affected by the disease, I felt a closeness with my father. Although he died almost 13 years ago, being part of this event is my way to honour him, to pay tribute to all he did despite the disease. I cannot bring him back, I can no longer visit him, but I can bring him to life through this yearly ritual.

Here’s to you, Dad!

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