The following remarks were shared by Tony Huerta-Apanco ’18 during a Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) themed Chapel service on Tuesday, November 1. During the service, students, faculty, and staff members joined together in song and prayer, honored lost loved ones, and shared pan de muerto, a traditional Mexican sweet bread.
“Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I remember helping my mother set up the altar when this special time came around. The altar is decorated with an abundance of food and things like candy skulls and pictures. Some of these tasty treats could include: Mexican candy, drinks, and things like tamales. I would have a great time helping my mother set up for this event, but in the back of my mind I really was not fond of how we could not have any of the treats for ourselves. I thought of it as a waste of food, if I couldn’t eat it. This was very selfish of me. It was not until I realized that this celebration should not be about me, but for those who have gone before us. This may seem a bit morbid, given the fact that we have a day to celebrate the dead, but I now have a different perspective of this event because it is important to acknowledge, love and care for the many family members and friends that have gone.
My grandmother on my dad’s side and my grandfather on my mom’s side are some people in my life that are gone. There is, however, one individual that has really made me see the brighter part of this celebration. People tend to ask me a very common question when they are first meeting me. “How many brothers and sisters do you have?” my immediate response is, “one older sister.”
This is inaccurate information on my part because it is not true. Sure, I do have one older sister but I cannot neglect the fact that she is not my only sibling. On November 4, 1991, my parents had their first child, my older brother, Josue. Never did they think that they would soon have to face one of the worst experiences in their lives. My brother got sick and was unable to recuperate. He died before he could reach the age of two. Today, Josue would be celebrating his “birthday week” before turning twenty-five.
I find it important now, to never take my brother for granted. He is family and although I never got the chance to meet him, I know eventually we will meet up. That is why every year I always make sure that my brother has some sort of toy on that altar, whether it be a car or some sort of action figure, I want to make sure we are acknowledging him during this special celebration. Happy early birthday Josue. Espero verte muy pronto.