Almost Dusk on the Day of the Dead

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Tomorrow, when sunlight lingers only on the tips of the Yolla Bollie mountains, my small son and I will gather the jack-o-lantern, a crimson candle with a spill of wax around its base, and a candy skull painted red and blue with powder sugar paint. Together, we will scatter the zombie remains of this summer’s leaves as we walk into the woods behind our house. The dead foliage will rise and shake their drying bones at us as our shoes jostle them from their graves.

Reverently, we will kneel beside a flat broken stone set carefully in the earth. Painstakingly scraping away the jettison of oak and maple, my son and I will bump elbows with each other and with twisted moss covered trees. The great carved pumpkin will be meticulously positioned by small hands while I light the candle and lower it into it’s vegetable cage. The skull will be examined again before being settled beside the glowing globe.

By the light of the candle, we will read the word lovingly hewn in rock last year by one of my older sons. “Stormy” it says. We miss our bounding sweet tempered border collie and, even the fact that a whole year later we are accompanied by another sweet tempered border collie who touches her cold nose to ours in pleasure that we have come romping with her, does not completely fill the corner of our heart where Stormy will always have a place.

In Mexico the day of the dead hasn’t yet come but here in the moist shadows of Northern California our dog was buried a year ago and so tomorrow is our Day of the Dead.

picture by Quinn Church

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18 comments

  • And today, October 23, is Zak’s birthday. I’m up early this morning, about the time my water broke 36 years ago, thinking about my boy. Today I’ll bake a pecan pie, Zak’s favorite, and share it at my women’s circle tonight.
    Kym, I’m loving your blog! Thanks so much for inviting me in.

  • And today, October 23, is Zak’s birthday. I’m up early this morning, about the time my water broke 36 years ago, thinking about my boy. Today I’ll bake a pecan pie, Zak’s favorite, and share it at my women’s circle tonight.
    Kym, I’m loving your blog! Thanks so much for inviting me in.

  • You live grief as if it were grace. Thank YOU for providing an example of how to live with sorrow. I love and admire you.

  • You live grief as if it were grace. Thank YOU for providing an example of how to live with sorrow. I love and admire you.

  • For those of you who wanted to know more about the Day of the Dead. Here is a great site with links to just about everything you want to know.
    Check out the bottom link for the sugar skull recipe.
    http://mischiefmari.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/friday-links-day-of-the-dead/

  • For those of you who wanted to know more about the Day of the Dead. Here is a great site with links to just about everything you want to know.
    Check out the bottom link for the sugar skull recipe.
    http://mischiefmari.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/friday-links-day-of-the-dead/

  • Hi Kym
    This spoke to my heart- I just lost my cat ( he was 16 ) and on November 1st I’m going to remember him with music and food and music and candy skulls too- he was family after all

    anita marie

  • Hi Kym
    This spoke to my heart- I just lost my cat ( he was 16 ) and on November 1st I’m going to remember him with music and food and music and candy skulls too- he was family after all

    anita marie

  • For the last year my littlest has been afraid of the dark but when we lit the candle and nestled the sugar skull inside the jack-o-lantern, he seemed released. He ran wild in the woods dancing with our new dog until after dark. Then he blew out the candle and made his way laughing and chasing the puppy up to the cabin.

    Maybe only by embracing death can we let go of fear.

  • For the last year my littlest has been afraid of the dark but when we lit the candle and nestled the sugar skull inside the jack-o-lantern, he seemed released. He ran wild in the woods dancing with our new dog until after dark. Then he blew out the candle and made his way laughing and chasing the puppy up to the cabin.

    Maybe only by embracing death can we let go of fear.

  • I’ve had people tell me that’s why they like my stories, they feel like not only can you take the ‘monsters’ on- you can win too.

    Fear is the real killer, isn’t it? And it’s true, if you can let go of that you can face anything.

  • I’ve had people tell me that’s why they like my stories, they feel like not only can you take the ‘monsters’ on- you can win too.

    Fear is the real killer, isn’t it? And it’s true, if you can let go of that you can face anything.

  • I like your stories because they give me a delicious creepy feeling!
    This one
    http://anita64.wordpress.com/2007/10/21/jeremy-benthams-head-fell-off/
    had such horrifying pics, too.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t learned to let go of my fears. I’m just learning to acknowledge them and go ahead.

  • I like your stories because they give me a delicious creepy feeling!
    This one
    http://anita64.wordpress.com/2007/10/21/jeremy-benthams-head-fell-off/
    had such horrifying pics, too.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t learned to let go of my fears. I’m just learning to acknowledge them and go ahead.

  • Yeah, the creepy factor does make them turn, but once you walk around in those places- things that go bump in the night don’t rattle the cage the way they used to…note of the word ” used too”

    I still get scared, but the stuff that I find strange is…strange which at the end of the day makes for good stories.

    Does that make sense?

  • Yeah, the creepy factor does make them turn, but once you walk around in those places- things that go bump in the night don’t rattle the cage the way they used to…note of the word ” used too”

    I still get scared, but the stuff that I find strange is…strange which at the end of the day makes for good stories.

    Does that make sense?

  • I think being a writer helps me deal with fear and pain. When I’m going through the worst there is a part (sometimes very small) that says, “I can use this to make a great story.” So yes, it makes sense.

  • I think being a writer helps me deal with fear and pain. When I’m going through the worst there is a part (sometimes very small) that says, “I can use this to make a great story.” So yes, it makes sense.

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