Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dia de los Muertos

This day is here again. I dread it. Our culture has no acceptable way of dealing with grief beyond a pat on the back, a cup of tea and perhaps a casserole in the first few days. Over a decade later, the flowers have composted many times over. There are a few phone calls, mainly family, maybe an email.

If I was Mexican, rather than of stodgy anglo stock I would be at the graveyard tonight. I would be dancing, singing, crying, drinking, laughing, honouring my dead. Lots of alcohol and sugar. Not a stiff upper lip in sight.

What did I do? I spent the night before drinking copious champagne and feasting on chocolate. I watched an erotic movie, there is nothing like fucking to remind you of life. Today I laid in the sun on a glorious Melbourne day. Distracted myself with number puzzles and books, music, food. Not entirely alone, but choosing my own space. Speaking more to felines than humans. Strange comforting rituals. This is what I needed this time.

So I entreat you. Bring out your dead. Howl at the moon. Talk to those who have gone before. Bugger what the neighbours think. So then, with luck, next year wont be so bad.

For all of you acquainted with grief - may your Day of the Dead be as you choose.

(thinking of you big brother, it wasn't so bad this time)


Blogger Aleks - Anarcho-Syndicalist said...

I think that there is just as much grief for loved ones lost in other societies as there is in Anglo Societies. The difference I believe is that it is expressed more openly initially in other societies than it is in Anglo-societies, which is very cathartic and allows them to deal with the issue better later on, where as is Anglo societies much emotion is bottled up initially and as a result it makes it harder move on with your life.

Try and remember the good times you had with your brother.

11:12 am  
Blogger Justine said...

So many ways be express grief. I think that the main thing is that people should feel comfortable in how they go about it. *comfort is important* (that is the first time in my entire life I have ever said that sentence).

If you feel obligated by your culture to wail and tear out your hair (for example), well - what if that's not how you feel? And how, if and when the time comes that you do REALLY want to make one hell of a point by wailing and tearing out your hair, what will you do? The impact of it will be reduced because its what you always do...
I'm just musing.

Different grief for different times.

After a particular bout, I lay in the backyard at night, literally crying at the moon and shaking my fist at the sky.

After my Dad died recently, I just cried and talked (and blogged!)

Great topic - good on you. Grief in all its forms is too invisible here.

1:05 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

I personally don't feel constrained to grieve, I just want to loosen up my fellow pale skins a bit more about it. There seems to be an unspoken use-by date on grief - about 6 or 7 weeks, which is ironically when it hits you in a whole new way. Interestingly this 7 week mark is quite significant in some belief systems. In buddhism it is the end of the bardo, at about 49 days, when the soul moves out of limbo and either ascends or reincarnates.

Oh but i digress, must be time to howl at the moon again :)

1:47 pm  

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