Two years ago: I blogged about my friends Chuck Rhodes and Sandy Godfrey Wallentine. Chuck died in his early 20's; Sandy in her late 30's. A year and a half ago, my friend Roger Nelson also died. All three were close friends at one point in my life, people that I still miss.
One year ago: I was in Bergen and Stavanger having a difficult weekend for a variety of reasons which I won't blog about now. But after spending last year telling Norwegian students about the Day of the Dead quite frequently, it only seems fitting that this year Day of the Dead should take on special significance.
This year: I went to my friend Alex's house for a Day of the Dead celebration. All day I thought about my grandfather who died at age 98 two and a half years ago. At Alex's house, we piled pictures and mementos on altars in honor of our loved ones. We ate food that had significance in the lives of our loved ones. Alex made tamales from his mother's recipe. John brought "funeral potatoes," a Mormon mix of potatoes and cheese common at funerals in Utah. I brought Snickers bars, my grandpa's favorite candy. After he got diabetes and could no longer eat Snickers, he still had a bag of them in his room to share with his visitors. Someone brought pate, another brought spaghetti. The people we had lost came up in conversation all night. In a private moment, John and I both admitted to each other that it had been a teary day.
Today I found out that someone I knew years ago, Dan Foote, died last week. He was too young to go . . . and I've felt on edge all day thinking about him and what he meant in my life.
I don't know how to end this post, except to say that over the last few months I've felt more grateful to be alive than I have perhaps ever. I want to live life to its fullest, so that whenever I pass on, I'll have no regrets.