I just read “The Purpose Of An Altar” by Madisyn Taylor and it reminded me of the Disney movie “Coco”.
We all have little special places in our homes that help us focus or remember to be centered, present, and reflective. In our home, we have a small ofrenda and also a tribute table top with family photos.
When you journal and need some inspiration simply look at those photos of the people that have gone before you. You stand on their shoulders. It is humbling and heart opening.
Coco reminded me of ofrendas from my childhood. The movie was great and I enjoyed it with my wife and granddaughter. What I remember most about it though was not to forget our predecessors.
In the movie when no one alive remembers you, then you fade away in the afterlife. It impacted me, because in a previous life as a firefighter at times a dying soul would tell me in their final moments..” Thank you for being here, I just don’t want to die alone”
I don’t want to die alone.. I want to be remembered …. It is a universal thought of all humanity.
There are many celebrations around the world for the deceased: Halloween in the USA, El Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico, but the most impactful for me was being in Spain for All Saints Day November 1.
I was in Bilbao, in the north of Spain, a wonderful town with many grand churches and cathedrals, but what I remember vividly was the cemetery in Begona. This cemetery is high on the hillside and you can see a lot of it from great distances, even across the river.
What struck me was on a day to remember saints the cemetery was full of families picnicking at the gravesides of the ones they loved. A celebration of life and death, the continuum of the universe one tiny tapas at a time.
A little tribute above the mail table, just inside the front door of my home is a little ofrenda. Keep walking and look to the right and you would see Grandma’s sideboard, the top covered with photos of family members who have gone before me.
I spent a little time growing up in Montana and love the book, “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean. This is a very special quote about remembrance;
“Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs”.
The sound of water is the voices of the past..Photos are the visual memories of the past.
I make a little time in the mornings with my wife to meditate, ten minutes to be centered and calm and spend a moment with someone I love. And then when I get up to put away my meditation cushion I turn and see the faces of my family who have gone before me and I smile and say thank you out loud.
That is what I do when I pass Grandma’s sideboard.