I recently visited San Antonio to celebrate Dia de los Muertos — the Day of the Dead on November 2.  This was “caring generations” in action as families gathered to celebrate the lives of the departed.  The day was deeply moving, often humorous and all the times — real.  From watching families decorate grave sites and then share a meal to viewing dozens of altars throughout the city made by school children, artists and family members to engaging in dancing and drumming with Urban 55.

artist altar

A family honors the artist spirit of one of their departed.

dog at altar

This dog moved me to tears and then I could not stop laughing.

singer altar

I started wondering what would be on my altar.

food altar

Food has always bound generations together in my family. This altar shows how intrinsic it is to this family too.

But the amazing poignancy for me was in the celebration of generations at the altars through everyday life.  And the extraordinary love and respect shown by those who created the altars.

Most importantly, it was such an important lesson to me that death is part of life. What is important is living fully and leaving a legacy that honors yourself, your ancestors and the next generation.

Here are a few of the many altars that moved me.