Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dia De Los Muertos

I've always wanted to make an altar for Dia de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. I'm not sure how I knew for sure, since late summer, that this year would be the year I would make one in our home. I think it has to do with turning 45 next week and having the time clock ticking louder in my subconscious than ever before.

I took the boys to a fabulous Day of the Dead celebration in our hometown so they would understand where it comes from and its significance. 

Can you find the 5-year-old?
Outdoor altar at Meek Mansion Day of the Dead Community Celebration

There they boys made the skeleton masks that are now at the back of our altar at home, and Benjamin decorated the little sugar skull at another booth. We got some colorful fabric, cut out the flags, and made tissue paper flowers. I bought a Lady of Guadalupe (one of my favorite icons) candle at our local Mexican grocery store, and then it was time to add photos and symbols. 

The framed picture near the top is my mother. The two photos below that are of G. and A. meeting Grandma Gagnon for the first time. Grandma lived to 101 years, and when I met her, she was 93, healthy as a horse and walking 3 miles a day. The pic to the right is our friend Ralf, one of G's groomsmen who passed away suddenly a few years ago. There are more pictures, more people to add as I find and print them.

One of the most poignant things on the altar, to me, is the pregnancy test on the top to the left. I'm grieving the loss of my dream of having a third baby. It's not unexpected - as I said, I'll be 45 next week. But I always thought I'd have three kids. I always thought I'd have a daughter. Someone who claims to know such things told G. a few years ago that there was a "red-headed female" soul waiting to join our family. I'm sad that she either lost her way, or that I didn't hold the door open long enough for her to join us.

So, our family is now complete, and it's good. I am beyond lucky to have two such glorious boys. A friend offered me the book, "The Wisdom of Menopause" but I'm not ready for it yet. I have to still say goodbye to the ignorance, and other trappings, of youth.

And, as a bonus, here's Benjamin explaining Day of the Dead for you, complete with 5-year-old close-up. Then he goes on to the weather, which is why I stop recording. If you knew him, you'd thank me.


Anonymous said...

At first I thought the top picture was the altar you made in your living room, and the Guadalupe statue was in your front yard and my comment was going to be, "Dios mio! That was one serious commitment you made there!" Finally figured out that was likely at the festival you went to. Your altar looks great ~ it's pretty weird being on the downhill slide to 50! Kath

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