Day of the Dead. Día de los Muertos.
I don’t really need to have a name to remember what today is. It was ten years ago today my mom checked out of this life and on to the next. Nine years and one day ago we celebrated our last Halloween together. My mom, my wife and I put on costumes and sat on the front porch of mom’s house and gave out candy to the various kittens, fairies and Sponge Bobs that came seeking sweets. That was fun. Earlier in the night we had a pumpkin carving contest. Little did we know that this would be our last. But it was a good one. Mom was the judge. Candles were placed in the pumpkins, the lights were turned out, and we all oohed and ahhed our ghouliest best. Iris had no trouble winning the event as I am about as artistic as a piece of cheese. It was great fun for all of us.
So ten years later my mom lives on in our memories. Not so much that she had dementia, or that she had lost both of her legs to diabetes. I remember her smile, her laughter, and the faces we would make at each other. In the end, I was the parent and she was the child. But why not. She took care of me, and I was lucky enough to get to take care of her.
Dad passed eighteen years ago. Can this be? Can one actually live without one of their parents in their life for eighteen years? I wouldn’t be sure about this if I hadn’t already done so myself. But I can still hear my dad’s chuckle today, just as if we’d had a good laugh together this morning.
Iris’ mom and dad are no longer with us in the flesh either. In fact, we lost both of our moms and her dad all in the span of ten and a half months. 2001/2002 was a tough year. I think there’s something to be said about a couple only having a pair of parents. Seeing the four of them pass away was enough for me. Thank goodness for wonderful memories. Sadness passes away, along with memories of any rough spots, and we’re eventually left with just warmth and good memories in our hearts. That’s the way it goes. Hopefully, one day our children will feel the same way looking back on us. Warm feelings and happy memories.
So here’s to remembering all of our loved ones that have passed before us. May their memories always warm our hearts and bring smiles to our faces.