Looking west from Mountain View Road in Silver City. Buildings with reddish roofs in the distance are on the campus of Western New Mexico University.
“Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. ” — Albert Einstein
Like births and weddings, funerals are one of life’s milestones that bring people together.
That was the case last week when we laid my dad to rest after 91 years of a well-lived life, the last big chunk of it spent as a retiree in his native New Mexico.
During less than 48 hours in this town of 10,000 about 70 miles east of the Arizona border, I was reunited with both of my sisters, a niece, a nephew, a great-nephew, an aunt, assorted cousins and in-laws. Some I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager and, trust me, that was a long time ago.
Here’s a look back:
With my sisters Cathy (from Dillingham, Alaska) and Rosemary (from Oceanside, California).
A trio of Rede cousins. My daughter Simone with cousins Austin Flavin (son of my sister Cathy) and Bernadette Hermocillo Rackley (daughter of my sister Rosemary).
From right: My Aunt Linda, cousins Stephanie and Bob, and Bob’s wife, Ana.
“Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Four of the eight Hernandez siblings, children of my dad’s sister, Valentina. From left: Luis, Pablo, Tomas and his wife Lila, and Linda.
At the Knights of Columbus Fellowship Hall with my cousin Shelley Owens, a daughter of my dad’s brother, Albert.
My stepmother Ora, right, drew strength from the presence of longtime friend, Lydia Montez, in my father’s final hours.
Luz Perez, with his wife Josefina, was a cousin of my dad. The couple live in Tucson, Arizona, and hosted a memorable family reunion there a few years ago.
A colorful New Mexican motif adorns a wall of the Knights of Columbus Fellowship Hall in Silver City.
John Sterle, an American Legion Post 18 board member and Navy veteran, spoke at the military funeral for my dad while daughter Simone served as one of the six pallbearers. Turns out Mr. Sterle’s ethnic roots trace back to Slovenia, just like my wife, Lori.
“Death is beautiful when seen to be a law, and not an accident. It is as common as life.” — Henry David Thoreau
My niece Bernie and sister Cathy.
My nephew Austin with Terrell, the husband of my niece Bernie.
My lovely stepmother, Oralia Caballero Rede, with Simone.
Ora and George.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Rule No. 34: Before one hops in the rental car for a long ride on the interstate, one must take a selfie.
Dad and Ora came to visit Lori and me in Bend, Oregon, in the years before we had kids. Photo is circa 1977 or 1978.
Quotes about death: BrockBlack.com