In the slumping afternoon light, I went to the basement to dig up all the photos of my dead. I wanted a picture of my Grandpa Frank, my Grandma Mary, Uncle Chuck, Jess, Denver, and of course, my beloved stepmom, Cynthia who died 2 years ago in February.
The lights in the basement are touch and go. That is, they mostly don’t work. But when I went down to look for photos, all the lights came on. I looked into the space around me and said, “Thank you.”
All the photos! I was lost in love with them. So much so, that it no longer became about celebrating the dead, but also the past, all the wonderful, and painful things that make up a lovely and ridiculous life. Soon, I had photos spread out all over the washing machine and was pouring through letters that I saved. Crying. Laughing. Making absurd human sounds that must have disturbed (or delighted) the dusty corners.
I have no real point, only to say, it was all so pleasant; spending the day with my dead and my past. I kept thinking of Cynthia and missing the way she laughed when we spent complicated evenings in the kitchen making complicated things. I miss her the hardest. All the time. I miss the fact that she doesn’t know the man I love, or how drastically my life has changed in the two years she's been gone, or how she gave me much of the courage to change it. It was the best afternoon with the dead, ever. Like spending the afternoon in soft pants and homemade butter cream.
Earlier, my “Uncle Oil” or Earl LeClair, one of my stepdad’s best friends (and a wonderful poet who inspired me from my first minor inclinations toward writing) showed up with his friend Alice, and unexpectedly and took me to lunch. It was just what I needed, his big wicked grin in bluegrass.
So, it seems this El Dia de Los Muertos was a lucky one. All lights on and a glow. Come back any time, my gone ones. You are very welcome here.