Día de los Muertos (also known as Día de Muertos) is a celebration that occurs annually on October 31-November 2, and is held to honor those who have died. Specifically, the term Día de los Muertos traditionally refers to November 2, when deceased adults are commemorated. However, November 1—a day known as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) or Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”)—is reserved for infants and children who have passed away. It’s said the spirits of children are so eager to come back to the land of the living, that they run ahead of the adults, who arrive a night later.
Some parents who have lost children will spend this afternoon creating an altar in the graveyard or at their home (either inside or outside for everyone to see on the street). Items are left, such as favorite foods and drinks, games, toys, balloons, footballs, as well as the traditional Day of the Dead offerings. This November 1st, Luna’s family will remember their beloved daughter. Luna, who was on Palliative Care Services for congenital malformations of the brain and craniosynostosis, passed away from respiratory failure just this September 13, 2020. Her mom, sister (Anna, 9) and brother (Dylan, 3) will honor her memory, “Our traditions are like this; when one has someone in heaven we celebrate one of the two days. And since now I have a little angel, we are going to celebrate the day of the little angels. To celebrate the time we had Luna with us.”
At Coastal Kids Home Care we are honored to provide palliative and end-of-life care to children like Luna, and bereavement care for their families. As families face the difficult prospect of losing their child, home-based palliative care offers children, parents and siblings unwavering support from a familiar team of providers. Pediatric Nurses ease the transition from hospital to home by offering parent education, assistance with medication treatments, and careful monitoring your child's pain and symptoms. Counselors are available to answer questions from children, siblings and parents. Medical Social Workers assist with practical and financial issues around care and planning. They identify community resources and facilitate connections to spiritual care when appropriate.
Stephanie Gonzalez, MSW, has been working with Luna’s family. So far, she has helped Blanca organize Luna’s funeral, offered bereavement counseling for Anna, and has helped the family with housing applications and public assistance. “Blanca is a single mother; because she is a single mom, she doesn’t really have that time to stay home and grieve,” explains Stephanie. “She was back at work the following week after Luna’s passing because she still has to pay rent and care for her other children. I am glad I can be there to offer her support with anything she needs help with.”
Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) or Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”) is especially special for Coastal Kids Home Care. Not only do we serve many families who have experienced the loss of a child, but we also have a large hispanic population--over 60%--who use this holiday as a way to remember their children. This holiday, we remember Luna and all the other Coastal Kids kiddos who have gone all too soon.
“Our traditions are like this; when one has someone in heaven we celebrate one of the two days. And since now I have a little angel, we are going to celebrate the day of the little angels. To celebrate the time we had Luna with us.”