To commemorate the Dia de los Muertos, we erected two ofrendas—one in the front hallway of the Walsh Girls Campus and the other in the boys campus cafeteria. These altars are simple and traditional, containing simple decorations and memorabilia and the names of loved ones who have passed.
It is a struggle for anyone to cope with death’s earthly finality. People sometimes exit our lives too soon, leaving things unsaid, memories un-had. Dwelling on the unsaid and un-had can leave us feeling empty, craving the presence of a loved one.
With all of this in mind, these ofrendas exist not just so that we may remember our deceased loved ones, but also so that we might invite their spirit back to be with us—allowing us to spend time with them again, allowing us to talk with them again, allowing us to keep them with us longer.
On each of these ofrendas are small Sugar Skulls decorated by our young people who want to remember a loved one who has passed away. We decorated these skulls intentionally, using our loved one’s favorite colors, thinking of the lessons they taught us. We placed them on the ofrenda so that they know they are still welcomed in our lives. We placed them so that we can be comforted by their presence.
Marc Velasquez is the Manager of our Spiritual Development at Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. He works with our young people who are interested to learn more about faith and spirituality, an important aspect of therapeutic care for many of our kids.