Día de los Muertos. While not technically the day of love — 14 February seems to own that — it is a day worth celebrating those who stay in our heart after they’ve gone. But isn’t every month, everyday, a time to show, share, give, embrace that emotion that sets our hearts afire in memory of ones who have gone before us? Love is a forever emotion, isn’t it? Something that fills us, moves us, carries us through the darkest times.
It’s curious. Love is all-encompassing. When it’s for real? It really never dies even if we are no longer with the person who is the object of our care, our heart, our soul. Love truly is eternal but it doesn’t mean that in romance we stay together forever. (Sorry about that.) What it does mean, however, is the feeling lingers in us, until we — not the other — are no longer.
And when it is here, deep within us, shared with our heart source, our family — whether by blood or deeper connection — it makes us whole, brings us joy even in the darkest of times, and is a beacon in the black nights of our soul. Yeah, I’m waxing rhapsodic and I hope you’ll forgive the lyricism, but in today’s article, I want to remind us all that the care and love we feel for others needs to be shouted from the rooftops of the ones who move us. We cannot keep to ourselves the adoration we feel for that being who touched us so deeply, we feel them always. Showing, saying, giving the love we have for the ones we care about most must be done not only while we have the time to show, say, give it but as Dia de los Muertos celebrates, when they are gone.
If you love them…
Let them know — yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Three words, less than three seconds
“I love you.” Even said slowly with great passion and intent, it takes less than three seconds. There are 24 hours in a day, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds. That means when you tell someone, deep from your heart, “I love you,” you’ve only lost about 2.75 seconds out of all of that time.
Imagine that? To say it takes barely a breath, to show it may take more but still… it is a blip in our universe. A slice that truly doesn’t shift the axis in any way other than to move it forward. Consider how much it enhances not only the other person’s life but our own knowing they are aware of our care, our love, our heart filled with them. And when they are gone, while they may be forever beyond us, that feeling never goes away. We may never hold them, hug them, or show them how we feel in person again, but we will have the memories of the moments we got to experience that with them forever. Yes, they need to know now, right this minute, that they matter to us and that our heart is theirs for the taking. Of course, they need to hear it, see it, feel it before we are left holding our own hearts in our hands and wondering, “Did they know? Did I show? Did they feel it from me?” BUT…
The beauty of Día de los Muertos is that it honors those who have gone with the same joy we felt when we had them right here, right in front of us. It gives us a chance to show, say, and delight in the fact that they were a part of our lives in the first place.
Losing to gain
As we journey through life, we discover how resilient or not we are, how much we can or cannot take, how big of a hurdle we can or cannot climb. But in that, we need to remember the love, the wonder of those around us. There are people in our lives, out there in the trenches who give their hearts no matter what and whatever the risk, the gains outweigh them.
In our normal lives, we share that with our inner circle without question. Our friends — true friends — are those we would do anything for. The urban family we have established who in many cases, trumps our real family. Then there are those who are of our blood, our birthright, our familiars. They hold us in a way no one else ever will or can and even as they drive us up the infernal wall, we love them.
There. That. Love. It is forever and fleeting, resilient and fragile — it is everything that makes us wake up in the morning to face the day. It is why we are able to put one foot in front of the other.
We take it for granted often. It’s not a judgement, just truth. Love will still be there for the taking, for the asking, right? True love, yes, but it doesn’t ever mean it deserves to be overlooked or treated as an afterthought. Never in life do we want to realize how much we care by losing what we love so dearly. Embrace the beauty, show the love of your life — romantic, family, friend — they are your light in the dark.
Letting those we care for know that we, well, care for them brings not only joy but peace, humanity, a sense of wonder. And we all need that in our lives — real caring, not false. Not manufactured for the sake of, well, whatever.
Día de los Muertos is all about extending that care to those who have gone before us. Honoring them purely, totally, not getting caught up in how they died or even THAT they are gone. It’s about celebrating that they were here, that they matter to us always, and “showing” them that we will never forget.
It’s a reminder that while they are here, we need to tell them we love them before it is too late. Soooo…
Tell them now and for those who have gone before, tell them, too. As Thomas Campbell wrote, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
Because love, true love, is eternal. And they know.
They always know.
“Feliz día de los muertos.”