Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated on November 2. It is a time in Hispanic culture for the living to honor those loved ones who have died and gone before them. The day is not what it sounds like it should be – dark and somber – but instead is colorful and full of music and joy. The use of flowers (mainly the marigold), candles, incense, calavera (sugar skulls), candy, sugar cane and water bring together the elements of the sun, earth, sky and water. Many altars include the use of items that were personal to the deceased as a way to welcome their spirit. It is a time to honor and celebrate life.
This is a picture of the altar in my home dedicated to my beloved aunt, Hope Guajardo. My aunt passed away in 2012 and we celebrate her life and the legacy she left behind. My aunt was a hard-working woman who was the definition of a loving soul. She knew no strangers and showed many what devotion to her family meant. My aunt never married and never had children. She cared for my grandparents and worked in the family grocery store.
After my grandmother passed away in 1983, many were worried about my aunt and how she would move on. I can honestly say she made lemonade out of lemons. My aunt bought a home and started to attend the Connelly-Guerrero Senior Center, where she took ceramics classes and crafts. She spent so much time reconnecting with people from the neighborhood where my grandparents’ store once was that she was asked to volunteer at the center. She graciously did so and was awarded numerous certificates for her devotion and dedication to the Senior Center. She loved her nephews and her many great nieces and nephews, all of which she treated as if they were her own children.
In the early hours of November 26, 2012, with her sister and nephews by her bedside, she was embraced by her savior and joined her parents, sisters and brothers in paradise. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about my aunt. and I am glad we take time during this beautiful time of the year to celebrate a life lived and person so very much loved. Tia I love you, and miss you.