The Day of the Dead is a day to celebrate and remember loved ones who have died. When I was in my 20's there were very few people who fit that bill. My brother, Charles. That was a very painful and overwhelming loss. It took me until my 20's to really come to a point where I grieved his death in an adult way, and acknowledged the effect it had on my childhood. Trauma is not a good thing, that is for sure, but I was no way ready to try to integrate that loss into who I was, even though there is no question that my desire to be a health care provider came directly from his illness and his death.
Now that I am well into my 50's (as my father ungenerously pointed out to me last month, in 6 years I will be 60), there are more people who I miss. My father-in-law is the most painful right now. I feel like I didn't get to know him as much as I would have liked to, for many reasons, and that we shared interests that we never fully explored. He was wise and generous and he really knew how to live an "it is what it is" life. I make charitable donations that remind me of him, and that makes me smile--if people remember you when they are being philanthropic you have done something right.
I also hope that my great grandmother is happy with how I turned out. She is the ancestor that I feel most connected to--the one who baked and cooked and sewed and worked with her hands--I am not up to her standards mind you, and I am pretty sure she knew her way around a farm in a way that I never will, but I hope she sees a little bit of her in me. So, those are my people to celebrate, who are yours?