Day of the Dead: Here’s to the ones that we’ve lost

October 31, 2020

here's-to-the-ones-that-we've-lostThe Mexican Day of the Dead is actually several days, during which loved ones who have transitioned are honored with altars, offerings and visits to the cemetery. During these days, the spirits of the dead are invited to come for a visit.

The holiday falls within my own biggest season of loss: my mother, soulmate dog, grandfather, grandmother, a favorite cousin and closest friend all died in the last two months of the year. (When you bury your mother on Christmas Eve, the holiday is never the same.)

So in honor of all of our loved ones who have made their transition, I wanted to share a really beautiful song by the One Voice Children’s Choir. As you listen to these sweet, angelic voices singing Memories, I hope you’ll take a moment to honor each of your loved ones who are now in spirit. This song has special meaning today, in the age of Covid. And brings to mind the late 1980s and the 1990s, when I volunteered with an organization that provided emotional support to those with HIV. Many died and I remember and honor them all this season.

If you are so inclined, I’d love for you to name all of your loved ones in spirit in the Comments below. Leave a message to them or just the name.

Here’s the song. And here are some photos of my own loved ones now in spirit.


CEO of the ICU. I love this 2015 photo of my BFF, Marilyn, on the phone in the Stanford ICU,  because it shows her indomitable spirit, running the show even from the ICU six months before she passed. She used the first version of the healing gifts I offer, encouraged me to offer them to others and inspired the grief products. I dedicated my business to her:


My parents at M & my first wedding in July 1972. My dad died in May 2008, my mother in Dec. 1999. They adored my husband; how delighted they’d be to know we have remarried!


My maternal grandmother with her youngest son, Jack, our favorite uncle, back in the day. Both in spirit now. Not pictured is Jack’s older brother, Joe, now in spirit. I also honor all my aunts and uncles–every one of them in spirit, and all of my grandparents. And my parents-in-law.


Papa, my maternal grandfather and favorite of us all. And me. This was the man who taught me about and showed me love.


My cousin, Sandy, taken Sept 2019. She died at the end of that Dec. Sandy lived in my part of Calif. for some years & we connected back then, and reconnected last year in such a beautiful way. We were looking forward to hanging out while I was here this year. But she moved on, the second of us cousins to do so. Her brother left first, decades ago.


My beautiful boy, the truest love of my life, Riley.

Maybe you’d like to connect with your loved ones on the other side? Email me and let’s talk.  Or….If you’d like gentle support for your grief, take a look at our beautiful condolence gifts at

14 comments on “Day of the Dead: Here’s to the ones that we’ve lost
  1. My mother Opal Leigh – you raised 6 children,buried one and gave away the one who looked the most like you. But i know you did the right thing.
    My Mother Madeline – drugs and alcohol took you from me, but I know you did the best you could.
    My stepmother Jerry – I am still working on our relationship, please forgive me as I try to forgive you. Nothing easy about raising a little girl with so many problems. I know you did the best you could. I want my children to look past my flaws.
    My grandmother Minnie- your love and acceptance got me through a lot of hard times, from you I learned what a true southern girl is about. You set the best table, laughed the loudest and loved fiercely.
    My dad – I know you loved me.

  2. Diane says:

    What a wonderful opportunity! Thank you, Carol!
    My Mom and Dad: you gave me the most peaceful childhood a person could imagine. And made me who I am today.
    My Grandparents on both sides: I stand upon the values you instilled in my parents and in your (collectively) 20 children!
    I love you all so much!
    And look forward to that great Crib and/or Bridge match in the hereafter!

  3. Alana says:

    To my father: you nourished my love of history and raised me as a single father.You’d be so proud of your grandson!
    To my mother: I never got to know you as an adult; but you live on in my heart and I think of you all the time.(passed away November 1965.)
    To my mother in law:Thanksgiving will never be the same without you. (passed away day after Thanksgiving, 2018).
    To my childhood best friend: SCIENCE! (a beloved 4th grade teacher).
    To my father in law: I will never think of It’s a Wonderful Life in the same way again (passed away Christmas night 1998, hours after we watched that movie together.)

    And thank you, Carol, for suggesting this.

  4. Laurie Stone says:

    So sorry for these losses, Carol. I can see how this time of year is a tough one.

  5. The Day of the Dead is such a beautiful holiday. A beautiful depiction of it is the animated film Coco. I’ve seen altars in LA and there was a Mexican restaurant with photos of those who died of COVID in front of it near where I live. Both of my parents died in Nov-Dec 2013 within 2 weeks of each other. My youngest brother Jerry died in Oct 2015. This year we lost my BF Doug, my dog Louie, a friend Garry, my mentor Berny, and numerous notables.

  6. Dad, my brother Jon, my sister Joni, and Mom. I miss most, sitting around the dinner table as adults, eating dad’s cooking, playing cards after, and laughing.

  7. Lydia says:

    What a beautiful way to commemorate lost loved ones.

    I’m thinking of:

    – my creative and health-conscious grandmother who sewed dresses for me. She has been gone for many years, but I can still hear her talking about the latest news she’d read about sewing or nutrition if I use my imagination. 🙂

    – my great-uncle who died from Covid-19 last year. He was a lifelong farmer who was still in great health before this pandemic. He should have had many more years of “retirement.” (That is to say, working half the day instead of the entire day. Haha).

    – and of a high school friend who passed away long before graduation. He loved skateboarding everywhere and with anyone who’d join him. I wish we could have seen who he became as an adult.

  8. Doug, Roger, my Mom and Dad, my brother Jerry, Minnie and Louie.

  9. Diane Tolley says:

    I love this post, Carol! Feeling especially tender today!

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