Wednesday, October 31, 2007

El Dia de Los Muertes

Day of the Dead is one of my favorite holidays, and I wish we celebrated it here in the states. Although it occurs roughly at the same time as Halloween, All Saints' Day and All Souls Day, the traditional mood is much brighter, with emphasis on celebrating and honoring the lives of the deceased, and celebrating the continuation of life; the belief is not that death is the end, but rather the beginning of a new stage in life. In Mexico and Mexican immigrant communities in the United States and Europe, the Day of the Dead is of particular cultural importance.

What would happen if you lived each day as if it were among your last? Did you act the way way you would want to be remembered? Did you say what you really meant to say? What was your motivation - love or fear? North Americans are unnaturally fearful of death, afraid to confront much less alk about or celebrate it, whereas most other cultures embrace it as the other side of life. Discuss.

Happy Day of the Dead! Your assignment for today, should you choose to accept it: think of someone you knew who has shaken off this mortal coil, and celebrate his/her life in a joyful way.

Try this poem on for size.

Poem: "As Death Approaches" by Susan Deborah King, from One-Breasted Woman. © Holy Cow! Press, 2007.

As Death Approaches

I can't believe I'm laughing!
I'd have sworn I'd be
shaking or sniveling.
And I sure didn't expect
a limousine.
I've never been in a limousine.
No biggy.
I've had better than fame.
Who needs the pressure?
As for fortune, I'm filthy.
That's why I'm laughing.
I've had so much love:
the giving, the getting.
It's shameful.
It's embarrassing.
And it's too late.
No one can take it away!
And I've had the pain
to help me appreciate it.
Thank God for the pain!
Easy for me to say
now that I'm going!
But no, seriously,
the kicks in the teeth,
the gut, the rugs
pulled out, slammed doors,
setbacks, snubs.
Without them, I'd
never have recognized
Love, bedraggled,
plain eyes shining,
happy to see me.
Do I want more?
Of course I want more!
I always want more
of everything: money, hugs,
lovemaking, art, butter,
woods, flowers, the sea,
M&Ms, chips, tops, bottoms,
trips — I did give up drinking —
time, sure, and yes,
I'd like to see
my grandchildren,
if there are any.
I'd like to see my books
but more has never
been good for me anyway.
Enough — that's what I've
always needed to learn,
and is there a better way?
So this laughter
I had to work up to
through so many tears,
it just keeps coming
like a fountain, a spray.
Let it light on you
refreshment, benediction,
as I'm driven away.

Healing Christofer

Christofer Krajec and his parents are hoping for a miracle, and you can help. The tumor that has grown in his brain is inoperable, but parents Anna and Ed are firm believers in the power of positive healing. You can donate monetarily, and/or you can turn your thoughts to a massive daily city-wide "heal-in" through your prayers, thoughts and visualizations.

Come or donate to the fundraising event at Anneliese's Willowbrook School in the canyon this Sunday, Nov. 4 from 3 to 8:30, or attend or donate to the Womenade event this Tuesday, Nov. 6 from 7 to 9 p.m.(see previous post - donations can be mailed to Stephanie Donavan at 435 El Camino Del Mar LB 92651; make checks out to Christofer's Miracle Fund). There's a silent auction at the Anneleise's event -- if you have something to donate, please contact Yamini at 494-0294 or (Mom Anna is a teacher at the school.)

This is where Laguna Beach really shines -- when one of our own really needs help, we pull together and give it all we've got in whatever way we have to give it. If you are moved to assist the Krajecs, you can do so and/or read more online at