On November 1stand 2nd, cemeteries in Peru (and all over Latin America) flood with people. Mausoleums are scrubbed clean. Meticulously prepped fresh flowers replace the dried and decayed flowers from a former visit. Ancient Quechua rituals remain rooted in the ground, influenced by catholic customs as the community congregates at burial sites, bringing their lost loved one’s favourite foods and drinks. Stories are spoken, songs are sung. Two days designed to sit with the sore of death, together, reminding us that we are not alone in our grieving.
The thing is, grief can feel like this deep, dark, pit of despair. Pitch black, cold, hopeless. Alone. A place completely empty, a place clutching your still heart. You feel no one can possibly understand what you are going through. And that’s true, because it’s your own experience of it. However, piercing a hand through the darkness, reaching, fingers stretched into stillness, you’ll find everyone is down here with you, searching for the same peace and the same comfort. Coming together for Dias de las Muertos helps us see this. Rituals like this remind us of the strength in community and connection, and death brings us a universal communion.