My dad died of a heart attack on my birthday back in 1998. Ever since Sabine was born, I did my best to tell her stories about Abuelo and give her an honest an unvarnished picture of who he was : a great man, that battled a lot of demons.
Sabine’s recently been asking a lot of questions on a spiritual front – and we’ve done our best to be honest about what we think and what we believe. This got us to the conversation of what happened with Abuelo after he died.
He was cremated, and is in a shrine that my mom (who is a very dedicated Mexican catholic) has in her room. I told Sabine that when I come over to Pensacola, I tend to lay on Abuelas bed, and I sit and talk to him in my head – Kind of like praying. This year, she had asked to see where he was .. so we went through the process of showing her the urn.
Another thing we grew up with (and wonder how many other latino families do this) – but we have pictures of the deceased… in a casket. This is sometimes very weird to visitors who get to see this – but for us is totally normal.
She got to see him. Got to hear from him. Got to talk to him in her head.. and my mom got to be there for the process..