It’s so often the case that holidays coincide across faiths and cultures; those that come at the edge of Winter and the beginning of Spring and even Halloween- the playful, scary, sugar-charged day that children love and teachers dread. Today- October 31st and then November 1st and 2nd are collectively known as "Los dias de los Muertos": The Days of the Dead. Sequentially, they are All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day and they have their origins first in pagan times and then in the Christian Church, dating back to the seventh century.
First and foremost, the Days of the Dead is a time when families fondly remember the deceased. But it is also a time marked by festivities, including spectacular parades of skeletons and ghouls. In one notable tradition, revelers lead a mock funeral procession with a live person inside a coffin.
Last year, right as I was handing out candy and Rich was having a beer with his brothers, we got the call we had been expecting; their father had died peacefully after a long bout with Alzheimers. Before that disease ravaged his memory, he was a strict and loving father, a husband twice widowed, a WWII hero, a steward of his faith and a ballroom dancer extraordinaire. Later, just before Bill left for Iraq, we all gathered at Arlington National Cemetery for Norman’s internment. Yesterday I posted a picture of all four brothers in the same college yearbook. Here is a picture of the four of them at Arlington- Rich, Bill, Jon and Calvin.
The other significant event of this past weekend is the birth of baby Alexis. I wrote about a month ago that I was eagerly awaiting her arrival. My children are grown but not grown enough for children. But this one! I have loved her mother and father for years and now there is this breath of new life. She is a wish come true for Chris and Juanita and she is my golden opportunity to dress up as a grandmother. How do you like my disguise? And yes- she is perfectly beautiful and eminently snuffable.