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Day of the Dead: Tribute to My Dad

October 30, 2020

Today would have been my dad's 84th birthday...if it weren't for Covid stealing his life too soon. Alex Lazutin passed away August 14, 2020 after a 2-month fight with the virus which resulted in a fall in the rehab center he didn't recover from. Since his birthday is near Day of the Dead, I am paying tribute to him via an altar in hopes that his spirit will return through the portal to earth for one night. 

The altar is almost complete. I need to add a candle, salt, fruit and water, and flowers perhaps. I wish the flowers from Chris, Teresa, Jen and PenguinRandomHouse were still fresh and blooming. They were all incredibly gorgeous and brightened my days of grief. 

When Dad's spirit comes back there is vodka and tequila waiting for him. My brother said his favorite drink of late was a Moscow Mule. Fitting for a Russian! I included photos of his family who passed before him: his sister, Irene, his mother, Maria, and father, Paul. They were immigrants from Russia after WWII so I painted a set of nesting dolls and included President Harry S. Truman who allowed immigrants to come to America after the war. I'm currently writing up his story for publication and finding it to be difficult since he passed away before we were done exchanging story details and edits. But I will create something from what I do have, and most likely self-publish so his story can be out in the world among other immigrant stories.

There is also a golf ball I found on Riddle Street near me that appeared shortly after he passed. I asked Dad to send me a sign that he was okay, and not just any common sign like a butterfly you always hear about people seeing. But a golf ball in a random place. A few days later I found one in the gutter and we don't live near a golf course! I also placed a ceramic skeleton golfer in the center, a hand-painted piece of art I purchased from an artist in San Miguel, Mexico. To the right is the calavera I drew which incorporates Russian Orthodox crosses over the skull's eyes, another nod to Dad's heritage. In the front is the stack of sympathy cards I received from friends, my publisher, and businesses, all of them thoughtful and touching. I cried when I opened each one. So thank you, kind folks. 

My at-home altar will be ready to receive him on Dia de los Muertos. And in case he wants to hang around a bit longer, his photo and bio are placed on the community altar at Global Village Museum which is up until November 6 (my brother's birthday). Here Dad can see who else he might run into in The Above, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

Until you visit, Dad, I'll continue to work on your story, and have a drink to toast you on your 84th birthday! Nostrovia!

I sure miss you. 


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