Monday, November 8, 2010


Since moving here to Tucson, people kept telling me about the "Day of the Dead" parade down fourth street. I kept hearing about what a great spectacle it has always been. And, it definitely lived up to all of that hype.
We had some friends join us before processing down the main street here in town, clad in black, covered in face paint, and carrying memories or photos of our loved ones.
The idea of celebrating and partying over death was, at times, a clash of culture in my mind. There were moments when I got so caught up in the costumes, drum beat, and walking that I failed to think about all of the people, stories, and loved ones lost who the parade was to honor.
I managed to spend the majority of my childhood and life until now without really having to face the death of someone close to me. Until recently, I was completely incapable of empathizing with someone mourning, because I'd never experienced it before; until February of last year. In a lot of ways, I feel like I've grappled with the various stages of grief- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. But, no matter how many pictures I looked at, or silly stories about Chris I'd share with friends and family, I never really felt capable of doing it without grief and a heavy heart.
Until last night.
Until I saw it was possible to celebrate and share stories.
Until I stepped into the procession.
Until I celebrated.
Until I shared.

After the parade and the absolutely amazing fire dancing show, my roommates and I headed home to our altar (ofrenda) that we'd created in celebration of our friends and family who have passed away, and we sat together for sharing cervezas and stories. We told stories about grandpas playing practical jokes, babies in Ethiopia, friends sharing hilarious off-color jokes, midnight TP-ing, Rangers games, and other stories of those we love who have passed away. I've spent the last two months living with those people who shared last night, and never have I felt more proud to call them my family. Sharing this experience has brought us closer together than I imagined possible, and I'm really looking forward to what the rest of this YAV year together has in store for our little 1229 Family.


  1. you're wonderful. :) I'm very thankful for that time with ya'll as well. Thanks for being my far-off-distant-oklahoman (or just 1229) sister.

  2. I wanted Luke to write about the parade, but he did good getting two other posts made, so I really appreciated hearing more about it from you! And perhaps because Luke has experienced death a little more closely this year than ever before. .... thanks for being his family away from home! Mama Ginger