Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dia de los Muertos

A grey, rainy day. I used to love this weather and would find an excuse to bundle up and venture out into the world. I loved the smell that comes with the first rain, the deserted streets, the windswept trees.

Today my mood has been as grey as the day. I've wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed with my Dickens and tea, the cats cuddled up around me, to alternately read and doze. Life with a baby means those lazy days are long gone. Though the cats thought it a capital idea, Arabis would have none of it.

So we played with the blocks on the floor and had races between the kitchen and living area. She emptied out her dirty clothes hamper and put all the soiled sleepers and shirts and pants back into a drawer with her clean clothes. She wore the colander on her head and beat on the pots and pans while sitting in a big plastic tub. Good times.

There was a long and luxurious nap in the middle of the day. Both cats and the baby huddled in a pile on the day bed for three hours. I napped with them for the last hour, which was bliss but the two baby-dozing hours leading up to it were restless.

Today is Dia de los Muertos and for the first year in many, I have made no ofrendas for my ancestors or fallen contemporaries. I have lost so many people over the years that this ritual has become an important way of remembrance and honoring those I loved. I place photos, small keepsakes, flowers, water, salt, candles, bread and anything else that strikes me as being appropriate. The house is cleaned and incense is lit. It is a welcoming, refreshing feeling, the building and cleaning, the tears and joy that come with memory.

This year there has been much death and no time to ritually mourn. I cleaned today. Not as extensively as I once would have, but cleaned nonetheless. Arabis helped me with her little broom that my mother bought. I told her stories of our past and her ancestors, who were a beloved and integral part of my childhood but will be only tales to her.

I have been making a list through out the day, in my head, on scraps of paper. I will think of a person and remember a moment in time that once we shared. As I sit here I am trying to remember them all and I am forgetting. There are people missing from my list. There is too much in my head...or too little, I can't remember which. I write their names and bring them to me for a moment in time. And send them on their way.

Bob Thomas
Dave Ricker
Robin Wadsworth
Michael Hefflin
Mary Movsesian (Auntie Mim)
Maxina Danner (Snookie)
Jennifer Lee
Patrick Lee
Jerry Lucey
Mace Hanley
Rose Rushdoony Deovlet (Grandma Rosie)
Rose (Vartoohi) Mahdesian Deovlet (Grandma Darling)
Benjamin Deovlet (Grandpa Darling)
Rose (Vartanoush) Rushdoony (Grandma Rushdoony)
Y.K. Rushdoony (Grandpa Rushdoony)
Shelly Munge
Dan O'Brien
Ricky Paul
Skot Travis
Spurgeon Avakian (Uncle Sparky)
Ruth Avakian (Auntie Ruthie)
Barbara Rose
Ronnie Geoffrion
Auntie Margie
Evelyn Cooper Smith (Grandma Evelyn)


boogiemum said...

I miss those crawl into bed and read days too. I think someday we will get them back, but it will be bittersweet...

Anonymous said...

Mace Hanley is on my list too, he was a good friend to have.

jenphoto said...

I knew Mace Hanley, would you tell me please, what happened to him?

Artemis Rich said...

Jenphoto: Mace took his own life quite a few years ago. We, who loved him, firmly believe that he is finally at peace.

I'm so very sorry, my dear.