Our neighbor and friend Columba died a few days ago and today we went to her wake. She was born in 1939 in Sinaloa, Mexico and was extremely religious. We weren’t close friends but we talked often as she lived directly across the street. When her husband died two years ago I found homes for his dogs, which Columba felt she could not care for.
Her granddaughter told me the news. The memorial was held here in Bisbee, then she will be taken to Mexico for burial. The Mexican custom is to stay with the body until burial. She lay in an open white casket, her body covered with an Our Lady of Guadalupe blanket and a rosary wrapped around her hands. The casket had small oval Our Lady of Guadalupe insets all around it.
We were two of a handful of white people there and didn’t know anyone except her immediate family. The service consisted of readings from the Bible and the customary Christian eulogy. The priest asked for “audience participation” as he read traditional psalms.
There was no laughter at this wake. Columba’s family is large and grief filled the room. She was a tiny, frail, sweet woman. The family displayed pictures of her life and she was incredibly beautiful when she was young.
Although I am an atheist, I was not uncomfortable today. I did not participate in the responses the priest asked for, but this is not a time to share your opposing convictions.
Inside of card:
Te fuiste de este mundo, dejando un gran vacio en nuestro corazones y un gran silencio en aquel que fue tu hogar. Si tu estuvieras aqui, notarias cuan grande es nuestro dolor, al no tenerte aqui, entre nosotros, ¿Sabes como te extranamos? Ha pasado poco tiempo desde que nos dejaste, Para ya nunca mas regresar a aquel que fue tu hogar, en donde tenias todo el amor de tus hijos y nietos. Pero Dios te llevo de este mundo siendo tan buena para tenerte a su lado, te adelantastes en el camino se que desde alli, tu nos miras y tambien nos esperaras hasta que nosotros, tu familia nos volveremos a unir nuevamente para ser feliz nuevamente junto a ti: “Con todo nuestro amor nana Columba”