This year the Day Of The Dead...and actually this particular time of year is laced and woven through with so much emotion for me. Both my parents have passed; my mother this past April, my father six years ago. He died on October 28th and my mother's birthday was November the 4th. This period of days, this particular year is full of ghosts and memories and emotions. I think of them everyday and miss them every moment, but right now the ache is almost a living thing. I will set extra places for them at my dinner table, I welcome them into my home. I have no formal graves to visit. My parents wishes were for their ashes to be scattered in the Hudson River. So I go sometimes and stand by the river and watch her changing face and moods and marvel at her beauty and thank her for carrying my parents to a happier place...somewhere beyond the horizon.
I keep this altar year round, in what is essentially, our family room. It began as a memory altar to my father and, following my mother's death, became a place for both of them. The things gathered there have great meaning to them individually and to them as a couple. I feel a comfort looking over these things and including them in my life and the continuing life of my family. The harp was my fathers, given to him by my mother. The painting on the mantel was done by him using his harp as a model. It is called Song Of Ireland and tells of all the sons and daughters of Ireland and their marks on the world.It's fitting that these things can be gathered together before a cozy hearth in a room that welcomes family and friends. These were things that my mother and my father both held dear: the warmth of home and the love of family and friends.