Dia de los Muertos, the ‘Day of the Dead’ is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated on November 1 and 2, coinciding with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Here in Tucson, the tradition is richly recognized and culminates in an ‘All Souls Procession’ downtown. Family and friends gather to pray for and remember those who have died and to help support their spiritual journey. Private alters are built honoring the deceased with sugar skulls, marigolds, favorite foods and mementos. It’s a celebration of life, a joyful occasion of remembrance, in which death is recognized as a part of the natural process of living.
After seeing a Día de los Muertos exhibit in Tucson recently, I felt inspired to look outside of myself and focus on Austen’s spiritual journey, especially as the one year anniversary of his death is approaching on November 25. So, in the spirit of joyful remembrance and love, I have put together a little alter – ofrenda – of my own, including some of his favorite ‘mementos’.
Austen Berj Brooks
September 26, 1991 – November 25, 2014
“I don’t want to just say how it is, I want that flair, that personality, that swagger. I lived it, I survived it, I got stronger, I fought my way back. Let’s go.