The Bright Side of Death

day of the dead skullI’ve never really understood the American method of mourning, kicking off with a somber viewing followed by an even more somber funeral. Let’s all wear our sad faces along with the black.

This approach seems so incongruous to me given the religion it tends to be cloaked in. After death, heaven. If all of us are such true believers, why not celebrate? It seems that, in too many places, the doubters have won. If there is no promised land, then there is indeed reason to mourn. What if the departed are not, actually, in a better place?

Cheery brightness in a graveyard on Isla Mujeres, Mexico Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Cheery brightness in a graveyard on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

I love to visit graveyards. I find their peacefulness enchanting. The bright ones are all the better. Why not rejoice in a life well-lived? Why not make a grave a place someone will want to visit? Go and remember.

A brightly colored grave in Belize Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A brightly colored grave in Belize
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

So many seem to think that if they just ignore death, or push it into some gray corner, it won’t come knocking for us. Why not acknowledge it? Why not just view it as a logical next step? Why not paint a tombstone pink?

A flower-filled grave in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador Photo credit: L. Tripoli

A flower-filled grave in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Photo credit: L. Tripoli

For those who need a reason to visit a cemetery, All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2), All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1), or the Day of the Dead, which seems to span from All Hallows’ Eve through Nov. 2, are good times to go. It could be the start of a mind-expanding habit.

—Lori Tripoli

A colorful graveyard on Isla Mujeres, Mexico Photo credit: L. Tripoli

A colorful graveyard on Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Photo credit: L. Tripoli

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