10 days till Christmas. In our tradition, drift over from our pagan Yule traditions, family, family tree and remembering the deceased. We may not set feast for the dead while getting out of the house (we just leave some tokens) and while we may leave sauna ready after we are done and even throw little bit water to the stones when leaving, at least we do not ask ghost to come and have a bath any more, nor do we worry if they will approve how we have hold up the farm when they do their yearly inspection, but we have taken the idea and fit it into our Christmas celebrations. So everyone, and I really mean everyone, visits the cemetery or few and lights the candles to tombs of family members. And if we happen to live far from the cemeteries our forefathers are buried, we go to cemetery near to us and light a candle to place dedicated to those who are buried elsewhere. This fall my very distant cousin died. He was the last person having my family name. I'm the last one alive who has ever had it. After I will be gone, my family will be officially extinct. It is old family with lots of troubled souls, but also people who achieved a lot. My grandpa was last one to hold the title (one of my ancestors managed to get the hold of a noble title few hundred years ago.) I do not have siblings, neither had my mother, my grandparents did have, but none of those families is alive. I really am only one left. I dread the Christmas Eve and the trip to cemeteries. First we will visit graves of my hubby's family and leave our candles among the dozens of others. Then we will go to part many of my family are buried. All along the way almost all the tombs have several or even dozen candles. Then there is this big family tomb of mine. Only totally black part of the whole cemetery (or at least it feels like that - and do remember, I live in the north, it is really dark around here this time of the year.) I carry a big bag full of candles so I can light one to every tomb. It is a long row of stones and while one candle for the tombstone may look more stylish than 20 in front of some others, it also looks depressingly lonely. And I do not even want to consider the other family tomb in other town, that I do not have time to visit during Christmas Eve. Hubby tries to say that I should be happy I do not need to argue with anyone on how to take care of the tombs, which flowers to plant on summer and so on, but I can't say it would be worth it. At some Christmases I have tried to visit cemetery during the daylight so that difference between my family and others is not so glaring, but again, we have less than 5 hours daylight this time of a year and that isn't that light either. And I actually do have things to do to arrange big family meal to hubby's family, so often it just is dark when we have time to visit the graves. And every Christmas it strikes me, how alone I am and how there is no one else who would know where I come from. Anyone who would share that same history. And next thing I know after coming home from the cemetery I will be sitting there, in my own home, as an eternal outsider with all my hubby's extended family (he is one of five siblings) and all the merry go'round with them and their traditions. And even my sons are part of all that (which I did want to. I wanted my children to have a big and close extended family) and I'm only one sticking out.