I know, I know, Dia de los Muertos was on 11/2 and we celebrated it on 10/26. I get it…I’ve procrastinated this letter. I think it’s taken me so long to write about this because I need time to digest all of the emotions and experiences that I encountered during this event and leading up to it.
For so long, my hands, my arms, have been idle. When you were born, we got ourselves ready to have a baby, ready for three years of diapers, of endless chasing, of rocking you to sleep, shushing you to comfort you, a lifetime of hugs, kisses, boo-boos, to care for your runny noses, tummy aches…all of it. We were ready. When you died at only 26 days old, my body didn’t realize it right away. Actually, my physical body still struggles with understanding that you’re gone.
What I mean is, I still make breastmilk (much less now, but still), I constantly look for my third child, you, when i’m checking to make sure “the kids” are all okay, only to be let down when I remember that you’re not here anymore. My arms are empty and my busy hands are no longer as busy. But building your altar for Dia de los Muertos filled a gap in me that I didn’t realize could be filled.
Each time we would go shopping for items for our altar, or each time we decorated or created art for the altar, each picture we printed, each inspiration board I created, it was all for you…for your memory. It gave my idle hands and arms something to do, but not just anything to do, something to do for YOU. I didn’t know I could do that. It makes me feel good to say that. We did something for you. We bought you things, we made you things, we honored your memory in a very “living” way. It was beautiful, therapeutic, difficult, easy, challenging, all at the same time. I was comforted by this event.
I guess that’s the whole point of the celebration. To give grieving families a way to honor their loved ones, to inspire hope that their spirits will come visit the altar, to bring bereaved families together to comfort one another…to not be alone.
I miss you so much, Leo. Sometimes I literally lose my breath. But I live for the moments like Dia de los Muertos, the moments where I feel whole again, if only for a brief moment.
All my love,
Here is a link to the blog of a beautiful woman, Susanne Romo, that I met at Dia de los Muertos: