This is the first time in years that we've not have an ofrenda for Dia de los muertos at our house.
We have all the elements, but I think I'm still recovering from the last 15 years. Well, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
So the marigolds will have to just be in vases, the candles will wait to be lit, the pan de muerto will be eaten elsewhere, and candy calaveras will have someone else's name on them.
But I've not lost sight of all aspects of the tradition.
In the Aztec tradition there are three deaths. The first is when our bodies cease to function, the second is when we are lowered into the ground, the third is when there is no one left to remember us.
My mother didn't share these beliefs with me. We commemorated All Saints and All Souls Days.
She did, however, make sure that those who were a part of her family were remembered. Mostly with her stories, but also via a several page, genealogical narrative of those who came before us.
Tonight I will read their names again, and remember them. I will remember the stories she and my dad shared and a vibrancy will be given to the names written on pieces of paper.