Josefina López, a Chicana playwright in Los Angeles, believes there are ghosts all around us. A sensitivity to the supernatural has been passed down from her mother, who loved to tell ghost stories. Today Josefina teaches her own sons about how to deal with the strange presences in their lives. Her advice? Get angry, not scared.
Featured image: Josefina López via Hispanic Lifestyle/Wikimedia Commons
2 thoughts on “Josefina López Is Not Afraid of Spirits”
The Day of the Dead
by Leticia M. Garza-Falcón, Ph.D.
Sentimental journeys of love and remembrances of times long past persist. When least expected, the heart swells; tears flow once again. The soft sighs of resignation follow, much like the calmer, gentle waters left behind by torrential rains.
“Move on,” people say after the death of a loved one. Still, after all these years, and especially on el dia de los muertos, I remember. Ashamed of the aging sadness and newborn tears, I still see a beautiful little girl. Her noble spirit remains.
The heaviness of a hollow space turns that cruel corner once again, making itself known—insisting, as if demanding to be refilled or fulfilled by something else. It should have been emptied of meaning long ago. By now, the images should have faded, just the way some people say pain eventually goes away. But then, where do the tears go?
“She passed,” joins the imperative “Move on.” Those resounding voices become crawling echoes that spiral and swirl as if to suggest that death could be a river. Oh, that it could be, for it is in the river’s nature never to return.
The river rushes along its path without so much as a backward glance at what its powerful forces and undercurrents leave behind. After all, the waters cannot help but travel forward. The river suffers no bad conscience as its obscure undercurrents angle and turn sharply, carving empty, haunting crevices—underlying jagged and lonely places. Is she trapped there?
“She’s in a better place,” they like to say. But “better places” hold their own mysteries. From their hidden darknesses, these sad voids may long even for those cruel abandoning waters. Maybe then they could revisit what once was.
Who can know what hearts feel or even guess what rivers and their remains have to say? We can ask, “What of the renewal once promised? Freedom from fear of stagnation is not yet within sight. Out of the cry of anguished loneliness comes the wish for at least those clichéd redundancies of the so-called “healing” waters. Conflicts in time and meaning—meaning and time—push forward and then . . . they stop. Convenient “truths” become pardonable. At least for the moment, they seek out the voids to make peace. Gone unnoticed was the unleashing of new forces. Once again, the cleansing waters bring clarity, a purposeful restoration of faith and perhaps . . . perhaps even Salvation!
The Day of the Dead, within the traditions of the Mexican and even a large segment of the Mexican American people of the Southwest is celebrated on November the second. We light candles. We lay flowers and bring water to the Campo Santo, to the dry dusty graves of loved ones, at times difficult to find. We visit our dead, and if perchance, for even but a second, our dead visit us, we are truly grateful. Though this highly improbable return defies all the laws of Nature, many of us believe it happens.
Written by Leticia M. Garza-Falcon, Ph.D. (November 1, 2014)
Revised: September 8, 2015 (11:03pm)
Address: 715 Brazos Circle #6
Mission, TX 78572
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I have been dealing with spirits since I was a small child. And I have to say that the Latino community embraces this better than most