I also love that Day of the Dead, despite its proximity to Halloween, is not a ghoulish or scary holiday. Instead, people buy decorated sugar skull and write their loved ones names on them. The body disappears but the soul and skull remain. Favorite foods and items of the deceased are presented for their souls to enjoy. People will even leave out pillows and blankets so that the deceased souls can rest after their long journey. After the soul has feasted spiritually, the family and friends feast literally.
Having been through the death of both my parents and my grandparents, I've learned that anticipation of death is far worse than the event itself. I have also been very fortunate that my loved ones have died peacefully and painfree, never losing themselves to disease or dementia. I believe in souls and Heaven and the promise that we will be reunited one day. And I also believe the souls of our loved ones touch us and visit us in various ways —through dreams, "coincidences" and even something as seemingly random as a song on the radio that stirs memory and emotion.
Who hasn't caught a whiff of scent that instantly brought back a loved one? I have a sweater of my Mom's in the closet in the guest room that I can't bear to get rid of because it still carries a trace of her scent. I can bury my nose in it and for a second, it's like receiving a hug from her.
So let's laugh a bit at death, rather than giving it the power of fear. Let's acknowledge that it is something we will all continually face until our own last breath is drawn. Let's celebrate the lives of the people who have moved on, rather than merely mourn their passing. I'd much rather keep someone's memory alive with tears of laughter rather than tears of sadness.