Last month Peter and I took a trip to Mexico, one of our favorite places to visit. Everyone says Mexico is such a dangerous country—but honestly, we didn’t for one second feel unsafe. What’s more, Mexicans are some of the nicest people you’ll meet anywhere. If you say “Buenos Dias” as you pass a señora on the street, she’ll reward you with a huge smile and a greeting in return.
There is poverty in Mexico, no question about it. But we observed that people are happy in spite of their poverty. Besides enjoying religious holidays and family celebrations, the folks we met also seemed especially content with the simplest of pleasures: hot coffee on a cool morning, a gorgeous sunset, the sound of church bells. And even when people don’t have much to offer, they are eager to share what little they have with total strangers. Truly there are lessons to be learned from our friends south of the border.
Our visit coincided with the Day of the Dead celebrations. Skeletons pop up all over cities and towns, and people create altars in their homes and in public spaces to commemorate loved ones who have died. Families also visit cemeteries to clean up their loved ones’ graves and decorate them with flowers and mementoes. They even place favorite foods and drinks on the graves. Peter and I walked through a cemetery and couldn’t believe what a colorful, lively scene it was. There was even a mariachi band playing at the graveside of someone who apparently was fond of music.
Day of the Dead is such a poignant tradition. It gives families the chance to connect with loved ones who are no longer here. Even more important, this special day demonstrates that Mexicans have a healthy attitude about death. It’s part of life. Of course, sad feelings surface, but this special holiday also gives people the chance to share special memories and remember funny stories about the dearly departed.
As we gather to celebrate the holidays with our families this month, some of us will be thinking about loved ones who are missing from the festivities. Take a cue from our Mexican friends and celebrate those who are gone. Share favorite memories. Tell stories, laugh, and cry. Talking about missing loved ones is a way of reconnecting with them.
In the spirit of gratitude, I’d like to say a special thank you to all of our loyal readers and advertisers. We appreciate your support and wish you a happy, safe holiday season.