Dia de los Muertos


-Jeannette Stoops and Mabel Bischoff (l to r), July 3, 2004, at our Kentuckiana Post-Wedding Reception-

Today is Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.  A time for celebrating and remembering those that have left us, and guiding their spirits back to the home with altars bearing offerings of food, gifts, flowers, candles.  Both of my Grandmothers, Mabel and Jeannette, passed away within the last two years, and it is their memory that I honor and celebrate today.  They were both vibrant, strong,  beautiful, loving Southern Women – Mothers to 7 and 5 children, Grandmothers to exponientially more of us, and Great-Grandmothers to the few lucky enough to be born before they passed.

Today I spent some time telling Maxxi the story of his Great-Grandmothers, his Bisabuelas. How Grandma Mabel (Miss Marvelous Mabel Blanche) loved to tell stories, play penny poker with her friends, smoke GPCs, drink sweet tea, and most of all talk about all of her Grandchildren and her love for them.  How she used to make me sugar-toast for breakfast.  How she had the strength to leave a bad marriage and live on her own when it just wasn’t done and it for sure wasn’t easy, but she lived her life on her own terms.  How she always waved goodbye with both hands, because that just sent twice as much love with you on your way. How much she would have loved knowing him, and hearing his laugh.

How his Great-Grandma Jeannette always wanted nothing more for her Children and Grandchildren than to be happy on whatever path they chose.  How she was the best cook, and made everything from scratch, and sewed outfits for my Barbie dolls, and made the best lemon meringue pie and fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and milk gravy.  How she was the eternal optimist to the end of her days, in the best sense of the word – only celebrating what she had left in her life and the love she had for and from her family; never lamenting her losses, the hardships life dealt her, the failings of her body as she aged.  She was full of joy and love and had such a profound affect on all who knew her, and seeing photos of baby Maximo gave her so much happiness in her last months of life.

To my beautiful Grandmothers Jeannette & Mabel, who traveled the long and winding road from Daughter to Mother to Grandmother to Great-Grandmother with grace, strength, love and wisdom – I honor you and I carry your torch into the future so that your Bisnieto Maximo will know you through the many life lessons you taught me, that surely inform my own Mothering in ways too instinctual to notice and too plentiful to count.  I love you and miss you both.



One Response to “Dia de los Muertos”

  1. […] this year – Maxxi & I made our own Dia de los Muertos altar to honor my wonderful Abuelas, Jeannette Stoops and Mabel Bischoff.  Our altar has my favorite framed photo of the two of them – from our wedding reception in […]

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