The Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos or All Souls’ day) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and by Latin Americans living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. November 1st honors children and infants and is referred as “Dia de los Inocentes” (Day of the Innocents) but also as “Dia de los Angelitos” (Day of the Little Angels). November 2nd is known as “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead). Plans for the day are made throughout the year. Families usually clean and decorate the graves where their loved ones are buried. Flowers, mostly marigolds, candles, incense, mementos and photos are used to decorate the graves in rememberence.
I thought you might like to know a little more about the original way to celebrate Halloween. It is really a day set aside to remember all those that have died. We have Memorial Day but that seems to be a day to remember the military that have fallen instead of ALL those who have died. At least that is the way I think about Memorial Day. It just made me stop and think about a different way to remember loved ones that have died. We do not have a grave to visit and decorate anymore, but maybe I should celebrate November 1st, “Dia de los Angelitos”, in honor of my angel, Heather.Heather loved Halloween, well, the candy. When the girls were little we did not celebrate Halloween. When we lived in Minnesota usually it was way too cold to do any trick or treating. It was 1996 before the girls were allowed to dress up and go trick or treating. I wanted to make sure the girls were old enough to understand that Halloween is nothing but dressing up and begging for candy..haha! I made sure that they never dressed as hags or goblins, nothing creepy.In 2004, on the spur of the moment, the girls decided to go trick or treating. I had a great idea to dress them as Christmas packages. They forever give me grief about going as presents. Everyone thought they were really cute. I thought it was a great idea. I know they could not wait to get home and get the plastic bags off. They did get several compliments about the creativity of their costumes. Tami and Kerry came over on the spur of the moment in 2007 and wanted Heather to go trick or treating with them. Heather was thrilled. She put on a formal dress from her last piano recital, her tiara from Disneyland and went as a princess. Go figure that one. Heather had a swollen lymph node under her chin but we had no idea what was heading our way. She was not feeling sick in any way.In 2008, after chemo treatments, Heather, went to 2 parties. She went as her favorite nurse to Tiffini’s. She had saline flushes, a thermometer and a stethoscope. She had a great time for her first offical party since being finished with chemo. Then Heather went with Jenn to her church group Halloween/birthday party for Sussy. She dressed as a Target employee and wore a “Jennifer” name badge. Imagine the confusion as she announced that her real name is Heather and she is Jennifer’s sister. This was Heather’s first introduction to the group. It was very hard for me to “let her out” and be around people who may be sick. It was a huge worry, but I also knew that Heather needed to feel “normal”. I tried to allow her to do all the things that she could.Halloween is so different from year to year. Just one more holiday that we have without Heather here. Halloween is strange because it focuses on death, ghosts, goblins and horror. I have enough real death and horror in my life that I really do not need a day set aside to remember that fact. Toodles is Cinderella and Sugar Plum is a pumpkin, they are cute and warm my heart. As soon as the treat or treaters are finished, the focus will instantly go to Thanksgiving and Christmas. The traditional “family gathering season” will be in full swing for everyone but me as I miss the “what could have beens.”