On Friday, our family attended the Phinney Neighborhood Association's Day of the Dead Festival. It was particularly important to Jesse this year because she lost her Great Grandma Ballnik this year.
In addition to the face painting, sugar skulls, and tissue paper flowers, this year we also participated for the first time in the community alter. We stared by having Jesse decorate a photo of the two great grandmothers who have died since she was born. She found a happy photo of both and decorated it with foam flowers and colorful pompoms. After participating in the processional we took our photo in and added it to the collection of others brought in my neighbors. Jesse decided to leave her candle with it so it would be well lit and festive "like a birthday."
It was clear that it meant a lot to Jesse to be able to address what was a sad and confusing event in her life in an open way in a happy, celebratory atmosphere. It was also nice for her to see that it was an experience she was sharing with lots of neighbors.
I would recommend this annual even to any family looking to have a nice way to acknowledge family that have passed with children. If you are lucky enough not to have lost a loved one recently, you are welcomed to bring older family photos of long lost relatives as well.
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This Blog is written by Seattle Attorneys Jamie Clausen & Michael Ballnik.