We as humans are constantly on the brink of eternity.

Death and what happens as we depart from this earth is and will always be the great unknown. What happens to us as we transition out of the world of the living? Is there an afterlife? This time of year is reminiscent of ghosts and spirits.

Last year was the release of the movie Coco, in which the Mexican heritage tradition of Dia de los Muertos was explained in an animated feature to the general public. As the themes of the film are based on a holiday, this year the film has seen a resurgence in 2018 in many educational settings.  In the film, ancestors live in the Land of the Dead after they have passed and are allowed to return to visit their living family members one day a year, on Day of the Dead. However, this afterlife does not last forever. Once a deceased person no longer has family in the world of the living to put their picture up, their memory fades and eventually they fade into oblivion where there is a second death and eventually they are forgotten.

In Judaism, there is no Hell, only being forgotten. And most traditions have notions of karma, luck or extending how we spend our time on this earth as a reaction to the moments already lived. Most religions have a notion of life after death.

As we remember those who have passed in our family, it is also the season to reflect our own mortality and the impermanence of life. Bereavement and grief for those we have lost can look like sadness or feeling low. A common allowance of time for bereavement is about six months, even though the memory may continue.

Staff of PEERS set up an altar at the Fruitvale Celebration which took place during the day of Sunday, Nov. 4th. Our PEERS altar shared the stories of members of Latino communities who were lost to suicide. Many families and individuals visited the altar to pay their respects to the stories and memories of those we pay homage to. An evening celebration was held in San Francisco’s Mission District on Nov. 2.   

On Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, we remember our ancestors who came before us and those we have lost. Being remembered for who we are today, remembering those of the past, placing thoughts for those who are the link to the past, and giving us the direction to lead into our own future.