A Public Marker for Grieving – a Descanso

A photo of a descanto on a hillside

Nancy Smeltzer, MFA

In my last blog, I talked about how in Western culture, there are few models for grieving as there are in other places in the world. We have our funerals, such as my family did recently for my mother, but then the ones who are left behind are stuck with finding their own ways of dealing with the loss. Public monuments and memorials, both large and small, have been around for centuries, but a recent trend that I’ve noticed is of creating a descanso, or monument for someone who died in a nearby.

There is a long tradition of creating a roadside memorial here in the States, as often someone who was killed in an accident was buried nearby out of necessity. Flowers, both real and plastic, were often attached to a cross, and if a child was involved, then toys or stuffed animals might be added. Here in Maryland, in the USA, the road crews would often take the markers down as they mowed the banks on the sides of the roads, but there seems to be some unwritten rule now that if you put your memorial behind the road barrier, the road crews will leave the markers alone. Sometimes, they come with the person’s name on them; sometimes not. Some ones nearby to where I live, I’ve noticed, have been maintained for a few years, with changes added, and plastic flowers refreshed, and then are left to the elements to return them to the environment over time, as I imagine that the person(s) that created it comes more to terms with the death of the loved one.

The photo above I imagine is dedicated to someone who was at least patriotic, as it has the colors of the United States, but the accident that took the life might also have happened on the 4th of July, when those colors are widely used. I Photoshopped out the name of the person that was on the cross to protect their identity, but I did notice that this descanso is erected on a small hill near the entrance to a high school, perhaps to remind the students to drive responsibly.  

For myself, to honor my own mother’s recent death, I’m adding on to a section of one of my gardens. She loved roses, so I bought a new one and will add some other plants to try and have visual interest in all three growing seasons here in my area. There is a small marker that was in her own garden that will be added to this one, so that when I walk outside and see the beauty, I’ll be reminded of her love.

How have you honored the death of a loved one? Do you have a memorial of some sort, or do you have a remembrance ceremony every year to celebrate their love and their life?

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute and fill out the form below and share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate learning about our inner selves and the intricacies of healing work. We’d love to hear from you! Also PLEASE tell like-minded souls about this blog. We’d love to have them join us, too.

You can find out more about my healing work in the other information on this site, about my artwork on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals), Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

About Nancy Smeltzer

I'm passionate about long distance spiritual and alternative healing, having had a successful practice now for over ten years. My clients work with me over the phone and on Skype from all over the USA and Canada, as well as Switzerland, Russia, and Australia. I specialize in helping people heal their negative repeating patterns of behavior and remove the stuck energy in their unconscious minds. By doing that, they can quit going round and round in circles,. repeating the same mistakes, and move forward to having the life of their dreams. Besides my holistic healing practice, I've also been professionally creating art quilts and other fiber arts for over 30 years. My specialty is contemporary beaded art quilts. On my web site, I bill myself as the "Self Proclaimed Button and Bead Queen of Maryland (USA)." My recent works have images that are based on what I see when I tap into a person's energy field and are called Meditation Gardens. These visionary art pieces are the perfect place for that person to play and meditate. In my spare time, I'm a rabid, avid "dirty nails" gardener, composing scenes with plants. Sometimes, I come inside so dirty that my clothes have to go straight into the washing machine; they're too dirty for the dirty clothes hamper! -The Official Google + site for Nancy Smeltzer
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