Every culture and religion has their own way of honoring the dead. The basic premise seems to be universal- we pause in our busy lives to offer our condolences to the family and to remember the times we shared with the deceased. I'm not sure where some of the traditions- flowers, candles, songs- come from, but they seem to give us comfort.
Today my family will honor one of their own. My uncle passed away Thursday. He was a relatively young man, but had some health problems over the past few years. You can read his obit here if you like. Gene was married to my mom's youngest sister, Carolyn. I always thought of them as a fun-loving couple, perhaps because they were closer to my own age than mom's other siblings.
My cousins and I will see each other today and wonder once again why it seems that we only get together when someone dies.