Day of the Dead
October 31st 202
I made my 1st altar at home for dia de los muetros over the weekend. I don’t think it’s anything special but it actually came out nicer than I thought. I gathered items I had around my apartment, printed the pictures of most of my loved ones, found some candles, found and placed items that each departed person would love and that’s my altar.
I honored family and friends. I was most inspired to make this altar as I lost my abuelito 3 months ago to cancer. In his honor and in the honor of the rest of my loved ones I made this altar. My abuelito Jose could be so serious sometimes I didn’t even see him crack a smile, but he loved loteria and playing cards. He had diabetes, but he had a sweet tooth. When he was in a good mood he would crack jokes. I would love playing loteria with him and my family members during the holidays, he was always ready to play. I miss him and I know my mom misses even more. She says she is glad he’s no longer suffering, went he passed away he was 94 and at that point in the hospital he couldn’t eat, talk or even drink water so she knows he’s in a better place.
My abuelito Angel liked to smoke, he was born in Mexico and grew up in a rancho of Zacatecas. When I picture him I picture him smoking and on his donkey. He was 92 when he died, so a donkey was better suited for him versus a horse. I spent 6 week winter vacations with him and learned 2 things. He loved bananas and he loved to talk and tell stories. I miss him telling stories. I remember having a smoke with him while he talked and I just listened. He never showed a grumpy side but if my father is anything like him he had a grumpy side. I remember him telling me he would cut up 2 bananas to put in his cereal in the morning. He was petite and I remember him always wearing a cowboy hat. I miss him and his stories. My abuelita misses him so much too. I hope to visit his grave when I go to Mexico in December.
I placed a picture on the altar of my great grandfather Jose they called him “chaparito” as a nickname. I was young when he was around but I have memories of being with him and posing for pictures in some kind of plaza with him. When I think of him he is always smiling and with a cane.
I have a picture of my abuelita Genoveva. I never met her she died before I was born. She drowned in a pozo (well) while my mom was just an infant. It was just my grandmother, my mom a baby and my uncle Valente who was just a few years old. My abuelita was washing clothes I believe, I don’t know if she fell in or if she fell in on purpose but when my uncle saw she wasn’t coming up he went searching for help. I feel for my mom, not growing up with her own mother even though my grandfather remarried. I sometimes wonder if my grandmother Genoveva was also bipolar or suffered from depression. She is one of the persons I desperately want to meet when I die. I would ask her “were you depressed when you fell in the pozo”…”did you know what was happening?” I have a picture of her on my altar and she was so darn beautiful, I can see why my grandfather loved her. She looks so elegant. I put a picture of Frida for her too, because I think of her as a chingona with all due respect. I wish I knew more about her.
I have a picture of my uncle Robert on my altar. He died young, he would of been 59 just today. He left behind a wife and 4 children. His children are doing well but I know they miss him. I remember when we buried him the cries of his daughters saying please don’t leave me dad, I need you. He should still be here today. He went through some hard times but he was a good man who loved his family. I’m having a drink and cigarette tonight in his honor. I also put a beer and pack of newport on the altar for him. We miss you, my mom misses you too.
There’s a picture of my sorority sister Carol on my altar. She was my age, we went to DePaul together, she was married with a daughter. She beat cancer once and ran marathons for fun, yet she couldn’t beat cancer’s ass. It’s not fair she should be here; she should have been there when her daughter graduated from college. My last memory of her is running Ragnar with her, we were in the same van. She was a control freak so she drove most of the almost 200 miles. She was a badass runner. My gosh was she a good runner. She was a good person too, who should be with us still. Carol I’m considering running my 2nd marathon, I don’t know if I can do it, but I have faith in myself and if I run it I ask you to be by my side.
My sorority sister Verona is on my dia de los muertos altar, she went to college with me. She pledged into the sorority just after me and left behind a husband and children. She died in a tragic car accident and was taken too soon. I only know that around me she was happy and always smiling. My sorority sister told me she was proud of being Mexican, loved frida, and conchas and Sandra Cisneros so there’s a copy of “The street on Mango street”, a picture of Frida, and concha on the altar for her. She was my age, she should still be here. She was full of life and had reasons to live, she should still be here.
I celebrate life today formyself and for them. Things would be better if they were here. I miss them and I think of them often. I know life must continue but it would be better with them here.