Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dia de los Muertos-Day of the Dead

In celebration of Dia de los Muertos, I honor my husband, Michael. His ashes sit on the bookshelf in our bedroom, just as he asked. I find it comforting to have his ashes close to me. The urn was made by a San Francisco artist, and is entitled "A Walk in the Woods." It is designed to look like you are on a walk in the woods, which something that Michael loved.

Although typically an alter is created for the departed on Dia de los Muertos, I simply added a couple of items to what is usually kept with Michael's urn. Usually you would add many of the departed favorite food and beverages as well. For Michael this would be have to be ice cream. As much as I love my Michael, I wasn't about to place any melting ice cream on the shelf today. Besides, it would break his heart to think that any good ice cream went to waste. Instead I plan to eat several healthy helpings of his favorites.

Originally Michael wanted to have his ashes scattered in Big Sur. We even went on a day trip to Big Sur to "check things out." This was emotionally a very difficult day for me, but an important one for him. Later Michael had a change of heart, which he shared with me. During our wedding ceremony we had a "sand ceremony," which highlighted the idea of two lives being blended into one. From two separate vases of colored sand, we poured them together to symbolize this blending. The end result was a beautiful design which showed that although we maintain our individuality, the grains of sand could never separated completely. It is Michael's wish that when my times comes to an end, our ashes will also be combined.

Looking at the end result of his loving plan, I see that he was looking out for me. He knew that I would need to have him near me. And although I know he spirit has been set free, it is so comforting to reach out and hold the vessel that sheltered his spirit while on this earth.

Thank your for this gift Michael.


  1. everytime i read your blog i get flashes of my own relationship and end up crying all night. this particularly touched me bc i know my man wanted to be scattered in the smokey mountains, and part of it was. i wish i had access to his ashes but it is near impossible. thanks for letting me re-live some things about my man, i have felt bad for neglecting and mourning him lately. but this brings me back. im not sure i want to be there but i do and have to be there.

  2. The sand ceremony it such a beautiful idea - and what a wonderful thought to bled your ashes. Almost a completion to the ceremony at your wedding.

    My husband's uncle is a wood turner and is creating 'vessels' (urns) that are true works of art. I want his parents to have one, each of his brothers (2), one for each of my girls, and of course one for me.

    I may have to borrow the idea of mixed sand for the alter I've created (if you don't mind). Though I'm sad it wasn't something we could have done together, I love the symbolism, and could even involve the girls.

    I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to go with Michael to see where he initially wanted his ashes spread, but I can see how this would have been important to him. It wasn't like Elias' death was unexpected, but we still believed we would have at least a few more months, so in many ways it felt sudden. As such we didn't get the chance to discuss hardly any of his wishes.

    Michael was so fortunate to have found a man to care for him and honour him in life and in death.