Fronteras: South Texas writer remembers loved ones lost to COVID-19 during Día de los Muertos


Oscar Cesares

A Día de los Muertos altar assembled by the Cásares family.

More than 700,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States Five counties in Texas are among top 20 in the country with the most virus-related deaths.

The grim toll of the pandemic serves as the backdrop for Día de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday that celebrates the lives of loved ones lost. Its origins date back to the Aztecs 3,000 years ago and it has become increasingly popular in the United States, especially in Mexican-American communities.

This includes those along the Texas-Mexico border, who have experienced some of the harshest effects of the virus. A native of Brownsville and a writer, Oscar Cásares knows the heartbreak caused by the pandemic. He wrote about the loss of his cousin, Beto, in his 2020 Texas monthly article, “This year, the Día de los Muertos altar of our family will commemorate those who have died from the coronavirus”, Which also detailed how the pandemic has robbed the community comforts many seek when mourning a loss.

“This part is so consistent with the [grieving] process and ultimately healing, letting go, at least physically as much as we can, ”Cásares explained. “And that too was stolen from us with the pandemic. “

The Cásares essay will be presented in an upcoming Texas monthly collection, “Being texan”, Which explores what it means to be Texan through essays, stories and recipes.

Cásares will also make an appearance at this month’s show. Texas Book Festival, taking place virtually and in person in downtown Austin from October 23-31. He will also collaborate with the Agarita Chamber Players for an in-person performance of Border postcards October 15 at the Carver Community Cultural Center in San Antonio.

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