Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) — More Than Skin and Bones

“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” ~Dalai Lama

Elliot Smith, one of my favorite songwriters of modern times, died by suicide October 21, 2003. I was devastated. I had been living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico since the end of 2001 after the attacks on 911. Elliot Smith’s music had been a true place of solace for me. Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) was coming soon, and I and my boyfriend, who later became my husband, wanted to make an ofrenda (offering) in honor of Smith and others who had crossed over.

We lived on Calle Recreo (recreation street) and our large bay-like window was perfect for an altar....