Sun Senior News Article
By Sandi Dolbee
A dozen club members gathered last month for a skull-painting party – a colorful ritual whose roots are in Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday to honor the dearly departed.
Taking the time to remember those who have gone on before us so impressed club member Darlene Barbieri that she decided to borrow the idea. Arriving painters were greeted with blank white skulls, rows of brushes and an array of colors.
Winning skulls (from left): Marie Salers, Mary Jo Semmelmayer and Bev Cieslinski.
“I think it’s healthy that they have a ritual to honor the dead,” Darlene explained. “I think it creates better emotional health.”
As participants painted, the talk turned to friends and family who have passed. A sister who died last year. A next-door neighbor who had died that week. And one of our own – Lavender Friends member Shelley Holly, who died of cancer in September.
After the painters finished, they voted on which skulls turned out best. Marie Salers won first place for a skull that was adorned with peach-colored roses. Mary Jo Semmelmayer placed second for a skull with ruby red lips and Bev Cieslinski won third for a skull with a purple nose.
And they all got to take home their skulls, a tangible reminder of their own memories and, perhaps, their own mortality.