Day of the Dead

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.


About Les O'Riley

A technical writer by trade, I was laid off during the recession. I am currently finishing my Master's degree in Occupational Safety & Health. I am the Safety Lab Graduate Assistant for Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
This entry was posted in 2011 November and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Day of the Dead

  1. Carl Stapf says:

    That is really nice…
    It is best to remember all the good times as if they are fresh in your mind…
    At the end of Time it will let you know how your life was shaped and all the people who helped shape you into what you are…
    May you be as good as the people who did your shaping as those who you shape for the future…
    LOLAK to all!

  2. Missy says:

    What a beautiful post! Thinking of you and Iris as well as Mr. & Mrs. O and Mr. & Mrs. Lowe too! You are certainly right that we are blessed with the beautiful memories of our loved ones!

  3. Rich says:

    Nicely put. I really liked spending time with you and your mom. You guys had a pretty cool relationaship. I was happy to be some part of it. Of course your dad too. Once he told me I had “one on him” because I took a ride to Tyler Texas (Rose capital of the world. Not that you would realize that when you got there. Not sure where the roses were!) and he had never been. Very funny the way he put it. I think I always had a big smile on my face on those visits.

    • Les O'Riley says:

      My dad always said you were a pretty sharp guy. I think he really enjoyed talking to you. I have good taste in friends, what can I say? Not sure about those Tyler Texas roses. I’ve got to admit, I’ve never been there myself. So you’re our authority. Maybe you’d better go back and take a look for them again.

  4. Jen Lowe says:

    This article touched me. People have gone on from this Earth, too many, and remembering them seems to help. I wasn’t just refering to relatives, but friends and significant others that I have lost over the years too. . . Very nice article!

    • Les O'Riley says:

      Jen… not just family, but friends too, for sure! It could be a long list. One day others will reminisce about us too. Isn’t that a nice thought? Life’s seasons just go round and round. Then some of actors exit stage left, as others are coming in on the right. It’s been nice being part of the play.

  5. Barb says:

    What a beautiful way to remember Halloween. Such sweet memories to carry forward. Thanks for the reminder that we’re all on this journey.

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