Tdia-de-los-muertoshe beginning of November marks an important time of the year for many families in our community. Day of the Dead, also known as Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that takes place on the first two days of November. Day of the Dead celebrates death and honors the lives of the decease with elaborate festivals, parades, and celebrations. Family of the decease gather to pray and remember the lives of their loved ones.

It is believed that at midnight on October 31, the gates of heaven are opened, releasing the spirits of children who have passed away and allowing them to be reunited with their families. Then on November 2, spirits of adults who have passed away get to reunite with family and enjoy the festivities the family has prepared. Families put together elaborate and colorful altars in memory of their family members. These alters are decorated with flowers and candles, along with food, toys, and other items placed in honor of the deceased family member. On November 2 the festivities carry on to the cemetery where families pay respect, reminisce, and partake in a variety of games and activities.

Emilia, a cornea recipient, holds a photo of her donor, Bryce. Each year on Día de los Muertos Emilia decorates an alter in honor of Bryce.

Día de los Muertos represents a time dedicated to honoring those who have passed away, and a way of celebrating their life. It is believed that having happy spirits will provide wisdom and protection for their families. The loss of a friend or family member is always difficult to overcome. However, this holiday is a way to find comfort in the tragic loss of a loved one. There are so many memories and experiences we cherish of those who passed away. Being able to gather and reminisce about the lives of friends and family members not only pays respect to their life, but is a way to remember them through a positive light. Life may only be temporary, but the love we have for one another will forever be treasured.

The focus on celebrating life, and honoring the legacy of those have passed away is an ideal platform to honor and remember organ and tissue donors and the transplant patients they’ve given a second chance. Today, in honor of Día de los Muertos, we encourage all those in the donation community to take the time to acknowledge the life that sprung from death, and honor the legacy left behind by so many courageous organ and tissue donors.