El Dia de Los Muertos

Our connections to those who loved us and whom we love, still

By Guadalupe Gonzalez
Published on LatinoLA: November 2, 2011

El Dia de Los Muertos

I carry a brown bag, filled with my Papi's favorites: sardines, nopalitos, Chocolate Ibarra, a chilindrina, un velita con la Virgen de Guadalupe. Y pan de Muerto. I play "Dios Nunca Muere", by Javier Sol?¡s, at my Papi's spot, as I scatter the marigold petals over the ground.

When I was young, I knew nothing of D?¡a de los Muertos. One day, spotting glasses, partially filled with water, set about on the floor of my Abuelita's house, I asked my Mami, "??Y por qu?® hay vasos de agua en el suelo?" Mi Mami got a look in her eyes, then explained that some people believed that our ancestors who had died returned to visit. She told me that mi Abuelita had the water out so the spirits would have water to drink, if they became thirsty. "But doesn't Abuelita know about evaporation?" I asked, innocently. And the conversation ended there.

As time has passed, and people whom I have loved--and still love--have died, I have become more involved in the D?¡a de Los Muertos traditions and beliefs. I know that those who have gone before me surround me.

I know we all have our personal beliefs, because we are all affected by our life experiences and backgrounds. To me, I feel comforted and a sense of solace in feeling the protection and enveloping love of those whom I can no longer see.

Sometimes, I feel as if there is but a very thin, gossamer-fragile veil that separates them from me. That if my eyes were just a bit more precise, I could see them. That if I turned around fast enough, they would be there for me to see just one more time.

I conjure up memories of those who loved me, and whom I loved. And I relive the words that were said, the touch of a hand on hand, the caress of my Papi's hand on my hair, my laughter ringing out in the backyard as I played with my beloved dogs. All of these linger in my mind, and in time, echoing forever the love I still feel.

For me, el D?¡a de Los Muertos is a connection with my ancestors and my beloved ones. I feel them around me, I know they help me when I need them, I ask for guidance when I feel lost and empty. I may not be able to kiss my Papi's cheek anymore, or stroke his baby fine white hair, but he is here, always. His blood runs in my veins, mezclado with the blood and the DNA of those who came before him. There is power in that knowledge. There is strength that is imparted to me, when faced with a problem or a dilemma, fear or trouble.

In my dreams, I see my people. And even as I dream them, I know they are no longer within my reach. But I feel as if I have been given a special gift, the gift of seeing them, hearing them speak, interacting with them. And I yearn for the dream to continue.

"S?® que Dios nunca muere
Y que se conmueve
Del que busca su beatitud.

S?® que una nueva luz
Habr?í de alcanzar nuestra soledad
Y que todo aquel que llega a morir
Empieza a vivir una eternidad."

*Javier Sol?¡s

About Guadalupe Gonzalez:
LA Attorney who is surrounded by her Angels

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