Day of the Dead and thinking of family

This past week we celebrated the Mexican tradition of the day of the dead. I love this holiday.  It is a day when our loved ones that have died get to come back enjoy the pleasures of earth for a day.  Those of us that our alive set up altars and clean gravestones and have a big party with all of the favorite foods and drinks of our loved ones. 

This was my first year setting up an altar.  We gathered some stuff from around the house and created a very nice space.  We put some flowers from our garden which my grandpa Jim would have loved.  He was a big gardener.  We put out some candles and that created a beautiful light in the evening.  We set out some limes for some color and a photo of my grandparents.  It was really nice.  You usually set out some favorite foods so we put out a cup of coffee for my grandma.  You might remember my visits with my grandma like this one. .  She was very special to me and I to her.  We would sit for many hours and drink coffee and she would gossip about her neighbors.  She also loved to drink wine.  It was horrible wine- but whatever.  It was that bottle of Chablis with the tiny loop handle.  But hey.  I put out a little wine for her.  For my grandpa I put out a snickers bar and a shot of vodka. 
My grandpa loved snickers so much that he was buried with 1 in his shirt pocket. haha.  In his younger days my grandpa was regrettably an alcoholic and did not always act the best.  By the time that my and m brothers came around he had not had a drink in many years.  But he always had a glass of diet 7up.  That was his deterrent to drinking and it totally worked.  I remember my grandpa as being a fun and wonderful man.  He was always with us when we would go water skiing.  The first run of the day was at 8 so we had to be in the boat at 7:30 so the 1st skier could be in the water ready to hit is at 8- so you get the best water.  Grandpa was on that and every other run for the whole day.  So I figured that since he did such a great job of controlling his addiction when he was alive- that this was his chance to enjoy it for a day. 

My great grandpa Willet loved to grow tomatoes and cantaloupes.  He was always so proud of them and he did grow huge tomatoes.  This was always a little funny because he did so in a trailer park.  But they were great.  It is a well known fact and joke about grandpa greats love obsession with tomatoes.  So I also put out some tomatoes. 

Ruben unfortunately does not have any photos of his family that has past.  he did however get to be in Guanajuato when his grandfather was within hours of passing and that was really special to him.  He had not been back to Mexico in almost 12 years so it was remarkable that he was there at that time.

Dia de los Muertos is such a happy occasion.  I sort of think of it as Thanksgiving for the dead.  A time when everyone gets together and enjoys their families.  That is why you see so many of the skeletons with festive cloths and bright colors.  We are all here for a party- dead or alive.  Ruben is getting a beautiful tattoo that has the front gate of the cemetery in his town with a party going on just behind all with day of the dead figures. I think that it is going to be really amazing.

I did get my tattoo on my back touched up.  It was a little light and now it is much stronger.  It looks really good.  I am so glad that my friend is doing my tattoos as an exchange.  There is certainly not enough money for something like tattoos but luckily our website provides us with a good exchange opportunity.  Olmo is also adding some green to my back tattoo that has my kids names- well the initials and 4 roses for "Rosas" which means roses in Spanish.  He is also doing a sweet little arm band that will be nice and delicate but the one I am most excited about is my owl.

The owl was my grandma's animal.  It was her symbol for her sorority and was part of her life forever.  She was always given owl oriented gifts and loved owl decorations.  I am getting an owl on my left foot.  My grandma is one of the people that showed me that your strongest foot might not always lead you down the right path.  Sometimes things are supposed to be hard.  The other person who taught me this is my momma.  But I am not sure what tattoo to get for her.  haha. 

The morning after the Day of the dead I could feel the presence of my grandma and felt a wonderful energy in the house.  The weather in Tulum has changed and the nights are getting cool.  There was a breakout of pink eye at Ruben's hotel so we are all at home with it.  Through the night- I had to keep getting up to help the kids with their eyes.  It is finally cold enough that not only do we not need our fan but I can put on my grandma's robe.  I love that.  It makes me feel like she is hugging me.  And there are 2 other people that make me feel that good when they hug me- Ruben and my momma. 

 Anyway... Happy Day of the Dead everyone- a little late but whatever.  We have all come down with Pinkeye so we have not been doing much lately.  Just sitting watching movies- well listening to movies more like. 


Leah said...

Love the altar. Hubby and I decided we will create one next year for our grandparents. Glad Day of the Dead is celebrated where you are. :-)

Kristan said...

Thanks for sharing the lovely stories of your family and as for pink eye, if you don't already know, steep a bag of chamomile tea, té de manzanilla, like you are making a cup of tea, and after it steeps just use a cotton ball , dip it in the tea, and apply it to the eye and it'll will cure the eye relatively quickly!

Gloria said...

Very nice tribute to your family. I love that you set out their favorites foods and the candy. It's a good thing to do for our loved ones who are no longer with us but it is also bitter sweet. You did a great job, I'm sure they were very happy for all the work you put into your El Dia. Have a great week, take care. Thanks for sharing.

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