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One Year Closing Ceremony [Dia de Los Muertos 2017]

[Beautiful Aztec dancer. Credits unknown]

I've struggled emotionally since I lost my spouse and soulmate in a car accident on June 24, 2016. It has been a time of immense sorrow and grieving. So many times I've contemplated throwing myself off a bridge because I couldn't bear the pain. Truth is, I was a very lonely, angry, bitter person my entire life until I met Alberto and fell in love with him. He was a beautiful, gentle soul with a huge heart and a smile that would lit up the whole room. I felt freakin happy with him and I even thanked Allah many times for bringing him to me. His sudden death shattered my world and turned my life upside down.

I had no choice but to learn and grow from this traumatic loss; I've come to accept that Alberto is no longer on Earth but alive and thriving in the Hereafter.

On June 24, 2017, my in-laws (Alberto's family) and I observed the one-year anniversary; we had a ceremony of closure to mark one year. It was a ceremony to help Alberto move on and keep moving toward the light; it was also a way for Alberto's parents, siblings, cousins, tios y tias, and me to accept the physical death and move on with our physical lives on Earth.

I decided to film the ceremony because I thought it would be good for other people who are currently experiencing traumatic losses. I want them to know they're not alone in their mourning and grief. Death is natural. Death is not the end. Death is not final. Death is just part of a cycle that keeps going. When humans die a physical death on Earth, they don't die. They leave their human bodies but their souls still exist. They live in another world, a layer or dimension that we cannot easily access.

["The Epiphany of Sophia," art by Adam Scott Miller]

I also included a beautiful Nahuatl poem written by Nezahaulcoyotl (1402-1472 CE), one of Mexico's most famous poets, rulers, and philosophers. The poem has been translated to English and Espanol text. The voice-over is at the end of the video.

On June 25, 2016—the day after Alberto walked on—I found the poem by Nezahualcoyotl and I wrote it down on a piece of paper, and I put it in Alberto's hands just before we buried him. It's a beautiful poem because the description of gathering friends to sing and make music makes me think of the Afterlife, a wonderful heavenly paradise where there's no hate or violence... (the poem is right after the video if you keep scrolling below)

I published the video last night on October 31, Alberto's birthday, and on the eve of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Dia de Los Muertos was Alberto's favourite holiday; he often talked about it. He was a proud Indigenous Mexican man of Nahua and Totonaca roots, and he took great pride in Dia de Los Muertos, its traditions and festivities.

[An Indigenous Nahua woman lights a candle at an altar for Dia de Los Muertos. From the Huastec region in Mexico (source)]

So I felt that the day of Alberto's birth and the eve of Dia de Los Muertos was the perfect time to publish the video and share it with you. 

Dia de Los Muertos happens every year on November 1-3. 

My in-laws and I are observing Dia de Los Muertos this week and we have created altars for Alberto to come back for a few days to sing, dance and celebrate Dia de Los Muertos with ancestors and spirits. 

Here is the video below of One Year Closure. 


Nic quetza tohuehueuh niquin nechicohua—Aya!—tocnihuan on in melelquiza niquin cuicatia. Tiyazque ye yuhcan xi quilnamiquican xi ya mocuiltonocan—Aya!—in tocnihuan. Ohuaya ohuaya.

In cuix oc no ihuiyan canon ye yuhcan—Aya!—cuix oc no ihuiyan canon ximohuayan? Aye ohuaya ohuaya!

 Ma tihuiyacan, yece ye nican in xochinahuatilo, yece ye nican in cuicanahuatilo tlalticpac. Ehuaya! Xi mocuiltonocan xi moquimilocan a in tocnihuan. Ohuaya ohuaya.


"I erect my drum, I assemble my friends. Aya! Here they find recreation, I make them sing. Thus we must go over There. Remember this. Be happy. Aya! Oh my friends! Ohuaya ohuaya!

Perhaps now with calm, and thus it must be over There? Aya! Perhaps there is also calm There in the Bodyless Place? Aye! Ohuaya ohuaya!

 Let us go. But here the law of the flowers governs, here the law of the song governs, here on earth. Ehuaya! Be happy, dress in finery, oh friends. Ohuaya ohuaya."


"Yo levanto mi tambor, reúno a mis amigos. Aya! Aquí encuentran recreación, los hago cantar. Por lo tanto, debemos pasar por allí. Recuerda esto. Sé feliz. Aya! Oh mis amigos! Ohuaya ohuaya! 

Tal vez ahora con calma, y por lo tanto debe haber terminado ¿Ahí? Aya! Tal vez también hay calma allí en el lugar sin cuerpo? ¡Sí! Ohuaya ohuaya! 

 Déjanos ir. Pero aquí gobierna la ley de las flores, aquí la ley de la canción gobierna, aquí en la tierra. Ehuaya! Sé feliz, vístete de gala, oh amigos. Ohuaya ohuaya."


(English translation of Nahuatl text by Nezahualcoyotl was translated by John Curl in Ancient American Poets. Taken from the chapter “The Flower Songs of Hungry Coyote”)