In the days leading up to my grandmother’s death, my eyes lingered on her ninety-year-old hands. As a little tomboy, Arcelia’s hands had mesmerized me. I watched them feed cookies to caged parrots. I felt the caresses she offered to dogs, cats, and pigeons. In the kitchen, her mandil darkened as she wiped her wet
My mother was raised near the second-oldest cemetery in Guadalajara, Panteón de Mezquitán. Established in 1896, murals cover the high walls surrounding its terrain. Some of these artworks feature incarnations of Death herself, and, depending on the weather, one can find Mezquitán’s graveyard dogs sunbathing, hiding from the rain or scratching mosquito bites. During my grandmother Arcelia’s funeral procession, a yellow canine appeared beside her coffin. My mother nudged me.
“It’s your grandfather,” she whispered. “He’s accompanying my mother.”