About a month ago I read a random post by a friend on facebook who declared that that day will be “Doc’s Day” because it was (is?) his birthday and he just died this past April. Doc and I were friendly and his passing did register but on the grief diagram I would be on a way outside ring because we were really just people who knew each other and shared a hobby and once, he made me a truly bad bloody mary because I said I had never had one, but his day sparked my memory. A long ago I posted how I baked a cake for Lars’s mom’s birthday (who died) and how I wish there was a day to honor and remember all those who have died. I think it was my dad who reminded me of All Souls day (Catholic) or Dia de Muerto (spanish/Catholic) so it came back to me last month and I had an idea of what to do that will be fun, respectful, and not super morbid.
I collected pictures of all the people in my life that died and put them in a book. I know, brilliant, a book…. with pictures. I had a thought of trying to do something with meaning for each person but given the list it could be a very crazy day. Maybe I’ll choose a few each year? Not that I needed another project but this one was reasonably easy to pull together and this way I can focus on the positives of each life and not dwell on the ending.
A list has been building in my head so I started writing them here last month (it was a page at the top, no idea if anyone noticed). Family/friends, let me know if I’m missing someone… I think I’m going to limit the book to people I actually know (knew?) so I’m leaving off my great grandparents that I never met because while I love them in abstract, I’m drawing the line somewhere.
My dad’s parent Brenden and Evelyn (Green Granddad and Granny)
My mom’s dad Charles (Rurry)
Nana – my great grandmother who lived next door
Suzanne – Lars’s mom
Russ – Lars’s Step dad
Peter – Lars’s dad <– my exception to the rule since I never met him but I can’t leave him out
Ashley – dear friend
*Octa – another friend who died close to 20 years ago but I remember him
*Baby Peter – a cousin who we always count in #of grandkids but we don’t count for plates at the table
*Wolf – who had a ‘real’ name but he was a rocker and a roadie and a crazy guy who should have gone with a blaze but just woke up dead from a nap
Aunt Pat – Lars’ s aunt and one of the cool ones I met. He lived with her for a while even so she is 10x as special to him.
Lars’s other relatives that have died, he has all his Mom’s pictures so it was a good time to go through them.
And after this I can think of some others but they are more like people I knew but didn’t know well so I’m not sure if I should name them all and I would be very hard pressed to get pictures of. Sometimes I joke with my mom and play the “alive or dead” game because I have such a huge family in some ways that news of a great aunt peacefully passing at 90 does not get to me. I’m pretty happy that my ‘first thought’ list is not that long, lucky life so far.
**We did tell the kids about Ashley and they seemed to more or less skip over it. I know kids and death are not an easy equation but I wondered if it sunk in at all. The other night, tucking Zoe in, she said “I’m so glad Ashley gave me this purple blanket before she died”. So who knows what a 4 year old brain processes but she knows Ashley is gone forever and she is glad to have a blanket to remember.
So yesterday we set up the book, some flowers, some candles, a sugar skull that the kids and I painted and talked about the people in the book. We had a nice dinner and chocolate fondu (a favorite of my grandfathers and then kids went to bed and we had a small party with fresh made pizza and soup and some drinks and I’m sure all our relatives (if they had nothing better to do then watch us) would be pleased by the night. It is never going to be a perfectly complete project but I hope to not add any new entries soon.
*indicates I didn’t find a picture, but, I do have pictures in my head and plenty of time to find them before next year