Whit’s End: The spirit endures | PostIndependent.com

Whit’s End: The spirit endures

Carla Jean Whitley

The concept grabbed me immediately. During Friday’s Day of the Dead celebration in Carbondale, the Que Viva ceremony will invite participants to shout out the name of someone who died in the previous year. It could be anyone, from musician Tom Petty to local ski instructor and artist Angus Graham, Carbondale Arts Executive Director Amy Kimberly said. The message is the same: As longtime Dia de los Muertos participant Richard Lyon puts it, “They live in spirit.”

Those who we’ve loved never truly leave us.

This year has been filled with death, many of them untimely. I suppose that’s always true, but 2017 seems to have had a personal effect on many in this community. Death has twice struck my family: My sister Cristin died in January, and my cat Mac died in April. I talk about both of them often, and I also talk to them on occasion. Because I’m the sort of person who talks to her pets, my cat Harry has listened to many of my monologues about the deaths of our sisters.

During one of those “conversations,” I heard wisdom spill from my lips: “It’s OK to love her present, even though she is past.”

Que viva.

I won’t be able to attend this year’s celebration due to travel, but I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to speak with people involved in its organization. The event is special, a way to celebrate life and culture. You may not be of Mexican or other Latin American descent, but we’ve all known love and loss. We can all appreciate the opportunity to remember those we’ve cared for. We can all embrace lessons from others.

As I’ve interviewed people about the local event, I’ve selfishly asked one favor: If you remember, would you shout my sister’s name during the Que Viva? Cristin’s spirit is too colorful, too joyful to be forgotten.

She may no longer walk the earth, but her story lives on in me and in so many others who loved her.

Que viva.

Carla Jean Whitley is the Post Independent’s features editor. Reach her at cj@postindependent.com.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User