Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day of the Dead

This last year has been in many ways preoccupied by death. Death in its most tangible form, with the loss of several loved ones, and death in a metaphorical sense in the transformation of areas of our lives beyond recognition.

So traditionally tonight the veil between the worlds is supposed to be very thin, and communication between them can occur with relative ease. I am having a hard time deciding whether or not I would really want to have a conversation with my newly dead. There really isn't much to say to any of them, including the 16 year old cat we lost. Though it would be very nice to snuggle with him again for a while. But then it would be that much harder to say goodbye again. So that's not a great idea. My Grandmother left mentally so long ago that the final goodbye was merely a formality in a sense. I said what I needed to say to her a few weeks before she died, and have no real sense of unfinished business there.

My father-in-law had a more troubling death. I think it would be nice to say goodbye to him properly. I know that my husband would love to have one last conversation with him, as there wasn't any chance at all for them to talk. By the time that he had arrived to the hospital, his dad was in a coma. And they never had the chance to talk. It was fast, horrible, and as ugly a reminder that life is finite as you get. I would dearly love for them to have the chance for one last discussion. But there again, saying goodbye would likely be harder afterward. So it's a mixed blessing of sorts, I suppose.

I rather like the Mexican tradition of going to the grave, setting up a picnic and celebrating the dead where they lie. I think it has a lovely mixture of reverence, irreverence, good food, and pagan sensibilities thrown in. It makes me smile. Unfortunately I come from a place without the temperate weather. Having a picnic at the cemetery where my dead lie would be chilly, likely windy, and not horribly private, as the highway is next to the cemetery. Oh, and the rest of the family might think it was a little strange. Not that me being strange is really such a stretch of their imaginations, but seriously, why give them the ammunition?

So tonight, I think we will toast our lost family members, think happy thoughts about them, and hope that the ghosts of the newly dead don't linger. They belong someplace else, and I wouldn't keep them from more important things.

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