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Today, November 2, is my infant daughter’s first birthday.  It also happens to be dia de los muertos. On this day, families travel together to the graveyards in which their beloved dead lie buried. They bring blankets, light candles, present elaborate meals, and lay flowers for those separated from them by death. A mourning, but also a celebration: of the dead, of the living, of the joy and struggle that define the path between the two.

When I think of dia de los muertos, I am reminded that a life well lived is one that is also well prepared for death; it is an honoring of completion, and all the difficulty and ecstasy this implies.

Here, then, is a bouquet for my infant daughter, my daughter who is taking leave of her infancy (to my unending sadness) and entering the first of countless metamorphoses that will take her through her life, whatever it may contain. I give these lilies to her in anjali mudra, which is a prayerful gesture of offering, of love; and from the back, or “west” side of my body, which I associate with time passing, with long farewell.

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I see in this child such joy and strength and will as I have never known. A lucky mother am I, to shepherd and love such a creature. Bon anniversaire, mon petit chou. And a thousand returns to you.

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