Thursday, November 14, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Oma

After receiving that most unpleasant of calls texts last week informing us of Oma's passing, we quickly began planning on getting back to El Paso, TX for her funeral.

On the one hand, it was an escape from the quotidian, which, I'm sure, is why Livie and I felt a little seed of excitement upon getting those e-mails confirming our air travel plans and our lodging confirmation.

We couldn't escape, though, the sad reason we were traveling in the first place: Oma's funeral.

We'd arrived in El Paso late in the afternoon on Saturday the 9th. The viewing was on Monday the 11th, and the funeral was on Tuesday the 12th.

The funeral seemed a bit harder than usual for me as it was on my birthday. What timing, right? (It couldn't have been helped, though.) However, my youngest brother and I had a brief discussion that it was almost like it was meant to be - one last birthday "together" in El Paso, if that makes any sense. There was a definite sense of saudade surrounding this trip, due to the circumstances, as well as having been a number of years since we'd been "home." 

The funeral was on a sunny, somewhat breezy Tuesday morning in El Paso, at St. Pius X church, on the corner of Geronimo and North Clark, where, I believe, I'd gone to services once or twice, long ago with my grandparents. It definitely looked familiar.

We'd intentionally picked out a pretty purple "party" dress for Liv, so she could "celebrate" the life and memory of her great-grandmother. They were so attached to each other, spending hours together talking and playing (meaning Liv played and Oma watched).

After the funeral, we headed to Ft. Bliss National Cemetary, where my grandfather (and Uncle Hector) are buried.

This is the plot which my grandmother now shares with my grandfather. The headstone is not there, temporarily, as the engraving for my grandmother is being added. Instead, the flowers from the funeral mark the location (along with a small informational tag at the head). 

I am so glad that the mountains near their former home are in the background overlooking the cemetery.

And, of course, I had to visit my uncle's spot. I hadn't been here, yet.

On Monday morning/early afternoon, a few hours before the viewing/Vigil (the "wake'), we drove past my grandparents' former house, since we had some time. It didn't feel right not driving past.

Plus, the last time Liv had been there, she had only been about one and a half years old, so she really didn't remember what it looked like, aside from having looked at photos. I wanted to make sure she'd remember it because she saw it in person.

The intersection: we had to turn off of Alabama onto Mountain Walk Drive. It's the only way to get to their house.

Driving west on Mountain Walk Drive, that old, familiar street.

And here's where they used to live. The main difference is that I noticed is that the ivy on the house's exterior has been removed. Oh, and the satellite dish.

It was a difficult reason for heading back "home" to the Southwest, but it also felt "right," if that makes sense. I've had such a longing or saudade for the Southwest, it was definitely a return "home," regardless of the circumstances. It was good (but sad), and necessary.


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I'm glad you got to return home and be with family, even if it was for sad reasons. I'm sorry for your loss.

Michaele said...

So sorry to hear of her passing. I can relate to much of what you felt and wrote here. Liv is growing up so fast. Glad she will have these memories.

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