Manifesting my illuminated ancestors

When we illuminate the road back to our ancestors, they have a way of reaching out, of manifesting themselves…sometimes even physically   
~ Raquel Cepeda

Today we went, as an extended family, to visit the grave-sites of our most distant local ancestors.


While I am sickly and tired and exhausted I am so glad I did. I love trudging around the huge cemetery looking for my ancestors. 

I love wondering if there will ever be the mystery flowers  put on my great grandmothers grave again. The story is that she was well liked by a former politician (mayor or governor?) and that flowers were placed there well into the 80’s. I know she was a tremendous force in the burgeoning days of Phoenix, she had “the sight”, was a well respected dressmaker, and even supposedly sold Winnie Ruth Judd the ticket to California… of all the ones I have heard about, it is her that I would love to have met. Though not at the expense of the others, she just sounds like she must have been a wonderful person in a way that I could relate to. She was my maternal great-grandmother… and her grand-daughters (my mom and aunt) recall her most fondly.

I look at so many different things; the differences in headstones (an indication of those who had and those who had not as much), the direction their headstones face… The old cemetery is always such a journey of stories, so it was especially wonderful to have my mom there with us today… telling all of us stories as we sent the young ones off to find the different grave-sites from our map, watching them run around the headstones asking if one or the other had found it yet…

One thing struck me today, as we were driving out… was that I noticed a group of headstones, decorated with ribbons, balloons, potted plants, stuffed animals… and all of them had Hispanic surnames. 

So, I talked with my family about this observation, nothing which really surprised any of us but did lead me to ask “when did “white, non-hispanics” get so bad at veneration of the dead?”

For the record, the picture above is a before, we placed a poinsettia with all sorts of holiday baubles and glitter at each of the sites… my family is just a hair shy of adding a stuffed animal to our ancestral graves. I love that about us.

We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.
~ Liam Callanan
NaBloPoMo 29
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