Celebrate Those That Have Passed…With a Picnic

 If you have read my blog in the past you may have seen this poem I wrote for one of Mama Kat’s Workshop days.

When the fall days ripen into an orange haze,
When the shop windows fill with leaves and candles and webs
I think back to a time where we still laugh and wish
For full pillowcases

When the streets hush early,
When the first tiny children step out as something other than themselves
I tie the ribbon in a foolish way ‘round my head to hide
My face and maybe tears

When the lights bob down the way,
When the laughter and joy fills the streets
I’ll ponder the delicious fragility of this travesty of the day
That celebrates the thin veil between this world and the next.

When the sun rises tomorrow,
When the stone warms to my touch and the grass is scented
I’ll take my cakes to your resting place
And share them with you.

This is a poem that is a bit of an ode to the last day of October and the first two of November.   I am talking of course of Halloween, All Souls Day and The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos).  Over the years as I have pondered what my spiritual beliefs were there is one spiritual tradition that comforts me and makes me smile. Here is a line by line explanation of the poem.

The Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico on the 2nd of November.  On the 1st they also celebrate this but is is specifically for children and infants that have died.  I celebrate it on the 2nd mostly due to my Dad.  My Dad loved Latin American culture and I am sure that if he had lived longer he would have made many more trips to his beloved Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Mexico.

My Dad died on October 31st at around 4am.  The traditional aspects of Halloween were forever changed for me after that day.  I could no longer be bothered with dressing up or worrying about Halloween parties or anything like that.  I was and still am heartbroken that he left us at such a young age.  After a few years of faithfully going to the cemetery on the 31st.  I found myself unable to get there one year.  The guilt was terrible.  I managed  to get there on the 2nd though and on my way, I realized that is was the Day of the Dead.

I knew vaguely what the holiday and it’s traditions were.  Having no time to make sweet cake in the shape of death’s heads, I stopped at Wawa.  I picked up my Dad’s favorite hoagie, Italian, a Coke and Reece’s PB cups.  All things he liked.  I went to the cemetery, laid out my yoga mat and had lunch with my Dad at his resting place.  I didn’t have to talk but could sit, reflect and laugh and even cry.

Instead of going on the 31st, I go now on the 2nd to celebrate my Dad.  I might still cry at times but I want the planned time I spend with my Dad to be more of happy memories both mine and his.

If you have never looked into the culture of this celebration, I highly recommend it.  We all have loved ones we have lost and at times there almost seems like there is no way to cope.  For some reason, this made sense to me and I cherish it as something not only I do in memory of my Dad but in memory of other loved ones that have passed on.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16794387734217000502 Los

    I'm glad that you are keeping your dad in your thoughts, even though Halloween will never be the same to you.

    My older brother died on the 4th of July … I can relate a little.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00086309578820420578 Annie (Lady M) x

    Aww. That was a lovely poignant story. I think it is lovely that you had lunch with your Dad. It brought a tear to my eye.

    My mum died too but I can't bear visiting her grave. What a wuss!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11027061380778030388 Rhea

    I love the Day of the Dead celebrations and I love that you use it to celebrate your dad's life. Sweet post.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15969613273262394902 Jeff

    Thank you for sharing this story about your father and his transition. I too lost my father in August of 09. You may find my blog post of comfort or of interest.
    Blessings. Jeff