Celebrate the life of the ones lost

Death should not be a taboo subject


Last year my great grandfather Don Gooch Jr.on Sept. 18 passed away due to heart complications and Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Because I was a 14-year-old freshman and experiencing the death of a family member for the first time, I noticed the lack of celebrating his life and all he accomplished while he was still here. 

Instead, the friends and family he had were burdened by the fact he was gone. We forget to remember all the amazing memories that we had, all of the accomplishments he achieved and how hard he worked to make the most out of life. 

Looking back on this tragic event, what I learned is that there is a time for sorrow and there is a time for joy. And although everyone has to grieve and has their own way of doing so, in the United States we often forget to go out of our way to celebrate the lives of those who we have lost.

In Mexico, they set aside a whole day  dedicated to lost loved ones. They have a yearly tradition on Nov. 2  of celebrating the deceased family and friends called Day of the Dead.

During Day of the Dead, children dance with characters of death, families visit the graves of loved ones and maintain and decorate the grave with all of the deceased person’s favorite things, such as food, games, and flowers. Throughout this time, everyone is reminded of how temporary life truly is.

As Americans, we should be striving to make more time to appreciate all of the amazing people we have lost. Whether that is making it a national holiday or simply making people more aware that life is so precious while it is here and to celebrate someone’s life once it is gone. 

What is more surprising is how even though Mexico is just below us,  they are so different in the way they handle these situations. Their overall outlook on everything regarding death is completely different than ours. And that is something we should be taking into consideration.

In the U.S., we normally only think about our lost loved ones on their birthdays or holidays, which could be why grieving can be so hard for people here. But in Mexico, they try to go above and beyond to remember those they have lost, and quite frequently at that.

 I do wish however, that we were taught that death is normal and a necessary topic to talk about at a younger age. Life is such a temporary thing that no one has control over. I do know though that everyone grieves differently and it is extremely hard to lose someone you love. 

But I know strongly that those people, like my great grandfather, would want me to celebrate all of our good times. And the more I think about it, the more I want to appreciate the people I am able to have in my life that are still with me, rather than dwell on the lives that have passed on.Yes, I will miss them and that’s normal, but they would want me to be happy, and that’s what I plan to do.