Saturday, November 2, 2019

On the Other Side

We die only once, and for such a long time!
[On ne meurt qu'une fois; et c'est pour si longtemps!]
Le Dépit Amoureux
, Act V, sc. iii (1656) ~ Moliere (1622 – 1673)

Dick Wall: ". . . All Souls Day (Dia de los Muertos) and the celebration that combines Aztec and Catholic rituals to honor the dead. I started reading more about that and was intrigued by reference to the idea that a person dies three times. The first death is described by author Victor Landa as 'when our bodies cease to function; when our hearts no longer beat of their own accord, when our gaze no longer has depth or weight, when the space we occupy slowly loses its meaning.' I cannot pinpoint the hour or the day, but I sense this has already occurred. . . . The second death will be next -- it will come when she draws her final breath and her body is [lowered into the ground, returned to mother earth,] out of sight. . . .

"The final death in the legend -- the third death -- comes when your name is spoken for the last time on earth. After that, you are on the 'other side of eternity.' For most of us, that is a short time."

from Dick Wall's epilogue
to Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening
a memoir by his wife Carol Wall (1951 - 2014)

All Souls Day is also a good time to watch Pixar's Coco, a charming, lively, and surprisingly weighty treatment of Dia de los Muertos and the struggle to cope with "the most definitive death, when there is no one left alive to remember us" (Landa).

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