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The Day of the Dead

Monday, October 30, 2017
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The Day of the Dead

As a widow carrying the death of my husband around daily, I find it strange that I know so little about this holiday, other than by name only.  It seems that any day can be the day of the dead - of my dead.  There's a significant part of me that still shudders at the simple fact that I can so casually talk about "my dead".  I remember early on, always wanting to say he "passed away".  To be dead sounded so final and harsh, so unfeeling, like a part of my own heart was dying and cold as well.

Almost two years have passed, and this now seems like the right thing to say.  He IS dead..  His body DID die.  I know because I watched it happen.  In his case, it was a gradual process, a slow dying over 18 months with stage four colon cancer.  I know because I was there, because I sat with him in hospitals and drove him to appointments and cried with him behind closed doors.  I know because we anguished unexpectedly together in the middle of the night, and sometimes in the middle of the good things, in the middle of a joke.  I know because I placed my hand on his unbeating chest and screamed to the heavens the night he took his last breath.

So what does it mean to honor him now in this new place of living without him - how do we pay our respects?  While researching for this blog I learned that on the Day of the Dead in the Philippines for example, families observe the day by visiting their loved ones' resting places, to clean and repair their tombs.  They offer prayers, flowers, candles and food.  Many also spend the day and night holding reunions at the graves, playing music and games, and eating together.  What a beautiful picture this forms in my mind!

We do nothing like this - but I wish that we did.  I think somehow that Brett would really like it.  He would like the life in it, the celebration.  He would feel loved in the remembering.  And since I do believe that his spirit lives on even though his earthly body is gone, it is easy to imagine that he would be connected to us in some real and palpable way.  Of course, he never really was one much for games, but I think he would gladly join us in a song or two - and perhaps even sing more in key!

May you rest in peace and rise in glory Brett Foster!  You are missed and you are loved. <3

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