What Mike Davis’ family put into his ofrenda, and what he offered them.
By Navidh Rafi
August 11, 2014
When Mike Davis’ family opened their home in Mexico City to the public, we expected to hear from his parents, his brothers, and his sister about his life since his wife, Nancy, died of cancer in 2000. We expected to meet them and to find out about their new lives in Mexico, his daughters’ education, and the progress of his home and garden. What we learned is that Mike’s parents were not prepared to be open about their struggles.
Nancy and Mike had a difficult life that was shaped not only by the devastation of his own loss but by the deaths of two other sons and two other daughters and a granddaughter. The grief was almost unbearable for Mike’s parents, and their attempts to shield their grandson were always thwarted. In the end, Mike and Nancy were able to live together in peace, and he was able to find a way to honor Nancy with some of the things she had chosen to give to the world, though it was too late for the garden in which she had created a place of serenity and beauty.
At the time of her death, Nancy was still teaching English and writing poetry (she published six volumes of poetry before dying of cancer. Her last book is titled “Serenity and Beauty”). Mike, who was also a successful poet, wrote his poetry about Nancy and their life together in Mexico City. He also wrote a prose memoir in which he shared his life with Nancy in the garden.
While the public was invited to view the garden from a distance, Mike and Nancy set up an outdoor kitchen in the garden so that it could be seen from the windows of their home. They welcomed the public with a simple ceremony that included readings of their poetry. Nancy was an energetic and loving mother of four; Mike was a writer and poet and a loyal, devoted husband to a wonderful, kind and talented wife. Mike will be missed by all who knew him.
In honor of Mike and Nancy, we offer you these photographs and a few thoughts on what we learned about Mike from his parents and