Dear Wondrous Nature readers: I haven’t posted photographs and essays for some time but I will start again in 2019. Best wishes for a peaceful 2019.
My beloved Jim passed away June 8, 2018. His death was sudden, painless and a shock to me even though he’d been in a slow decline from Alzheimer’s for the past 6 years.
Dealing with grief when a loved one dies is not for the faint of heart. It’s difficult when your husband, best friend, confidante, partner in life is gone. Nothing prepares you for the depth of your loss.
A hundred things a day remind me of him. The impeccable deck he built under the oak tree, his tennis racquets, artwork, golf clubs, blue dodgers cap, favorite coffee mugs. But being unable to share nature’s beauty with him is one of the hardest. A red sunset over the ocean in Laguna Beach, the brilliant orange leaves of liquid amber trees in our neighborhood, seeing a blue heron in flight, the soft fur of a golden retriever, walking hand in hand among the camellias and oaks at Descanso Gardens, a loving hug, a hearty laugh.
But my strong memories, journals and photographs instantly transport me to an earlier time and make me grateful for the incredible blessing of being with my soul mate for 33 years. Jim’s easy smile and beautiful blue eyes enchanted me when we first met and continued to throughout our life together.
Christy, my stepdaughter, visited San José del Cabo this fall during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This festivity combines brilliant colors and life-affirming joy that show love and respect for deceased loved ones.
Christy placed Jim’s photograph on an ofrenda (altar) flanked by photos of artist Frida Kahlo, musician Antonio Aguilar and comedian/bullfighter Cantiniflas. The ofrenda welcomes spirits back to the realm of the living. Marigolds, candles, food and colorful calaveras (skulls) decorate the altar. Papel picado (pierced papers) gracefully flutter around the altar, representing the wind and fragility of life.
The holiday originated in Mexico several thousand years ago and is celebrated throughout Latin America on November 1 and 2 (All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days on the Catholic calendar).
Jim loved our vacations in Cabo San Lucas, La Paz and Puerto Vallarta and this year he returned there in spirit with his daughter. What a joyous way to honor her dad by celebrating his life and reuniting with him in memory and spirit.