El Dia de Los Muertos

by Joseph Grant

Lupita lay in bed, near death’s door or at least that’s where she thought she was as she coughed and suffered through her late October influenza and hoped for a sweat to break the fever, but the sweat was a long time in coming and all that morning while they buried her grandmother she thought about the possibility of never being well again. Her being sick was made worse by not being able to properly say goodbye to her beloved abuelita, a woman who had practically raised her from birth, had fed her sopa de pollo, posole or albondigas when she was not well and practically smothered her with love and affection when she was, but there lay Lupita, unable to honor the woman who, in many ways, meant more to her than her own mother. Dwelling in and out of consciousness, Lupita’s eyes settled on differing things in the room, such as her colorful Ojo de Dios that she made in class, the large wooden crucifix over her door or the portrait of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe next to the large bureau where she hid the diary that held her innermost secrets and thought of her dear grandmother until she fell asleep. During the following day she thought of her young life and how she would now always miss her precious grandmother and how long of a life there was to go without ever seeing her again and she wished she could see her grandmother again but this impossibility made her muy triste. In the late afternoon of the first of November, her family gathered their calaveras de azúcar and other favorite foods and beverages that her grandmother enjoyed during her lifetime and left to the cemetery miles away to prepare for El Dia de Los Muertos, a time-honored tradition many people of their town practiced to communicate with the souls of the departed, as well as to pray and light candles that symbolized their loved one’s souls, all in an effort to encourage visits by the dearly departed. Lupita smiled as she knew her family would save her some yummy pan de muerto to eat if she felt up to it and just as she thought again of her grandmother, there was a familiar knock upon the door.

6S

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