El Dia de Los Muertes

As I wind up El Dia de Los Muertes holiday in Oaxaca I think that I don’t spend nearly as much time with my departed loved ones as I should. Of course they are in Pennsylvania and I am wandering around, a homeless soul content for the time being to drift.

But, next time I do visit I’ll bring my Kirk a hamburger with ketchup and pickles, my mom a shrimp cocktail, a Manhattan or margarita- even a good cuppa joe with lots of cream and sugar. Johnny, my brother who was killed way too young by a drunk, would like a hamburger also and a coke. Grampa gets a big piece of chocolate cake in a bowl with milk poured over it. I’ll sing You Are My Sunshine to my baby, Robin, just as I would have done if I had been allowed to hold him before he flew away. I’m looking forward to a conversion with Grandma Emma who died before I was born but whose untimely death at age 53 came alive for me in mom’s diary. The folks in Foxburg may think I’m worshiping the devil when they see the smoke from the incense needed to beckon the spirits, but then again, they may want to join our party. Oh yes, Sophie who rests in my friend David’s garden in Tehachapi will have a fresh bone. I won’t do as much dancing as I did here at XOXO, the village I partied with last night under a full moon. Maybe a little-but not enough to draw attention.

Night before last, here in the Oaxaca cemetery I spoke with a woman sitting quietly beside the grave of her child who she told me had been only three months old when she died. The grave was adorned with flowers and glowed lovingly warm in candlelight. I was grateful I was able to speak enough Spanish to share my understanding of her grief-her dolor.
You see, mothers who have lost children, regardless of age, are never quite whole again, never without pain that hovers, spread thin like an extra layer of skin just beneath the surface of our being, threatening to derail us at any given moment.

So, here in Mexico the dead are honored for a full weekend. Whole families including babies in arms and grandmas’ in wheelchairs wrapped in rebozos, come together to decorate and remember their relatives. Many hold a vigil the entire night because there is much to catch up on. It is quality time.

A poster I saw announced a performance with the words: Viva la Muerte
Maybe it means live the dead or life to the dead, I’m not exactly sure but I know it isn’t a contradiction, it’s a commitment. One worth keeping.

One thought on “El Dia de Los Muertes

  1. Joanne

    My dear amiga, I have been out of touch…I am so sorry to hear about Sophie…may be rest in peace.

    I miss seeing your around town, however during the summer, I was spending more time at the Marina starting my own rental and sales business. Now I am working from home more and..wherever and at the Marina in a Business Center (New business, Bistro/Cafe/Business Center where I rent space a couple days a week.

    I remember the Day of the Dead Celebration when first we met!

    I am glad to see that you are getting around and enjoying life…and with the dead too. I hope to see you when you come back…I need to take a trip to Yelapa! Would you believe I still haven’t been! Take care…Lots of Love, Joanne

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