Bereaved clients often share they cannot put photos of their deceased in picture frames for their Day of the Dead Altar. They feel the simple act of putting a picture in the frame validates the death of their beloved. It makes it seem more real. Permission Granted! You have permission to leave picture frames empty. Permission Granted! Some people find it too painful to even have photos on the walls. Yet, they can look through a photo album. Everyone grieves differently. You have permission to leave the walls empty. Permission Granted! Some people cannot even think about creating a Day of the Dead altar to honor their deceased. Well guess what? You have permission to not even entertain the idea.

What is a Day of the Dead Altar? And how can this celebration bring comfort?

Yesterday began the three-day celebration of honoring the dead. Some believe the veil that separates our physical world from eternity is thin during this time of year. And these are the days the spirits of the dead return to their earthly homes. That’s why some people set up a Day of the Dead Altar. It’s an opportunity to celebrate, rejoice, and revere the lives of departed loved ones.

If you choose

This holiday can be your opportunity to shift into Mindful Grieving. Try one or more of these activities as a purposeful celebration. See if it brings comfort and a greater sense of peace.

• Say the name of your loved one often. • Bring out their pictures and talk about what’s happening in the photo. • Write or share with someone stories about your loved one. • Hold or wear their clothes. • Display and enjoy their favorite foods, drinks, colors, flowers, and note-worthy objects. • Go to the cemetery and decorate. Bring flowers and light candles. • Set up a special place in your home with pictures, candles, flowers, and mementos.

But remember

You have permission to do none of it. Whatever you choose to do, or don’t do, be Gentle with yourself.

A final thought

In many ways COVID is a blessing for the grieving – expectations are limited this year – • No one is expecting us to dress-up for a Halloween Party. • No one is expecting us to show up and hand out treats. • We don’t even have to put on our I’m-Doing-Ok mask because we aren’t around others. If you do have a Day of the Dead altar, share a picture with me. Let me know how it helped you with your grief. Love all around, above, below, to the left and to the right, before you and behind you, Georgena

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