Friday, November 1, 2013

Dia De Los Muertos

As I adorn our dinner table with pictures of loved ones who have come and gone, I get a little ache inside.  Cherished pictures of memories captured in the lens of my mind. Laughter, tender moments, comfort, sadness.

Today is a day of celebration, to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us.  Dia De Los Muertos - Day of the Dead.

My Grandmother - was so close to the Lord.  I miss her so much sometimes, she was quiet by nature but when my grand dad would drive, it was a completely different story.  I always felt loved and accepted by her.  She never lectured or judged me, in her eyes I felt she always loved me regardless of all of my flaws. I sometimes I have dreams that she and I are walking together and I tell her about my life or go to her with issues I may have. She always looks at me with her kind eyes and I feel warmth as though her arms are wrapped around me. 

My Grandad - could easily engage with anyone - complete strangers.  He was strong in his beliefs and wasn't afraid to share.  His smile was infectious, cause when he smiled his eyes would squint and you couldn't help but laugh.  I can still recall the smell of his pipe when he used to smoke when I was 4 or 5.  He could be a joker at times, taking out his dentures while at dinner at a restaurant and giving the waitress a toothless grin.  I can still remember his deep belly, airy laugh.

My Friend Ricky Ainsworth:  it's been a while but it feels just like yesterday that Maggie and I were laughing uncontrollably because of something that he said.  I always thought we'd be together til we were 85 years old talking about all the stupid things we did as teenagers and in our early 20's.  I miss his humor and how passionate he would get about music.  I miss talking to him about all the weird things that sometimes go thru my head, he could always counter react my craziness.  I still remember the first day I met him and how happy I was to see him again when I got to Atlanta. 

My Dad:  This one hurts the most because it's so very complicated. I've come such a long way from where I used to be. I sometimes dream about what I would say if I only had the opportunity.  I know I have a lot more in common with him than I like to admit.  I think about things that he did yet I know he still loved me. "You'll always be my little girl and I will ALWAYS love you" - a conversation I'll never forget.  These days I choose to look back on all the good memories we shared like fishing in the rasaca by our trailer with a coke bottle, some fishing string and beads of bread.  We spent a lot of time at the beach, hence the reason for my love of the ocean. One time that he got into a fight with a hotel manager and flipped him the bird while my aunt Hilda backed us out of the parking lot. (LOL, I like this one because it was so SHOCKING).  I loved going to the carnival with my dad because he was obsessed with carnival games and wouldn't leave until he won something REALLY cool.   He built a fence around the Christmas tree one year and sat in a rocking chair inside the perimeter and I thought he was Santa Clause for a minute.  The last memory I have of him was going to his apartment and he took Lisa, Jr and I out to the park and we flew a kit together - I kept asking him if it was going to go into outter space.  My dad was a complicated man, a great artist, traumatized, emotional, passionate, sad, funny, a charmer. Everyone loved him. I love him too, even despite our complicated history.

Rays Dad Raymond:  I wish I could have met him.  I try to learn everything I can by asking Ray questions or asking other family about his dad's past or how he used to be.  Seeing the love that Ray has for his dad and the utmost respect he still has for him is so admirable to me.  Stories I've heard have taught me that Ray's dad was an awesome trumpet player, he worked really hard, he was respected by his community, he cared about people, he wanted what was best for his children.  He raised an incredible, remarkable son.  I often send up a prayer of thanks because he taught Ray how to be such an awesome human being, a loving husband and father.  He's greatly missed by all those who knew him.

Ray's Grandmother:  As I looked at her picture today I wondered what all her eyes had seen during her lifetime.  Pictures of her and Michael dancing together at their anniversary dinner reminded me of stories Ray's grandad shared with us about how they met and how he courted her.  I wish I could have met her, I'd ask her so many questions about how she and grandpa managed to stay together for such a long time with life's hardships.  An Italian butcher's wife with 5 children. I am convinced she was an excellent cook, if there's any indication from my mom in law's meatballs.  I decided today that I don't know nearly enough about her so I'm setting out to learn more about her this year. 

Dia De Los Muertos is like Christmas - it comes and it goes.  What's important is to always keep the meaning close at heart and remember it during the year.  I've thought about each one of my loved ones this year.  We're not guaranteed a long life on this earth and neither are the ones that you love and cherish.  Be intentional today and cherish every person that you still have the opportunity to talk to.

I know in my heart that even though our loved one's have passed that they are able to look upon on us, they're in our hearts, so they're never truly gone.  We will continue to celebrate as a family these two days ( Nov. 1 and Nov. 2) because I want to pass on the legacy of memories to my children so that they too can remember to honor those who have come before and who have passed.

To learn more about Dia De Los Muertos: Click HERE

What’s the difference between Día de los Muertos and Halloween?Día de los Muertos -- also known as "Día de Muertos," or "Day of the Dead" in English -- is a holiday with Mexican origins that is celebrated on November 1 - 2. While some imagery might be close to that of Halloween, there are significant differences between the two. Día de los Muertos is a day to celebrate death -- or, more specifically, the deceased -- while on Halloween, death is seen as something to be feared. Día de los Muertos has both indigenous origins from the Aztec festival for Mictecacihuatl, The Lady of The Dead, and Catholic origins from the Spanish conquistadors’ All Saints and All Souls Day


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