Well, it’s already early afternoon on Sunday, July 19, 2020. It’s a hot, steamy day here in my corner of Florida; the temperature outside is 90˚F (32˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at a sticky 65% and an easterly breeze blowing at 8 mph (13 kph), the heat index is 104˚F (40˚C). Later this afternoon, we can expect the temperature to rise to 92˚F (33˚C), as well as some rain this evening. It’s a scorching hot day, and I’m glad that I’m not outside at the moment; I don’t think that I could endure the heat for long.
If you’re a regular reader of A Certain Point of View, Too, you know that this is the fifth anniversary of the death of my mother, Beatriz Diaz-Granados. It was a hot and muggy day then, too; with the usual South Florida pattern of sun-and-clouds in the morning, then rain and thunderstorms in the afternoon. I remember that, just as I can recall the sudden silence that fell, curtain-like, after the people from the funeral home took my mom’s lifeless body on a gurney and out of the townhouse where she and I had lived since February of 1978.
I don’t like thinking much about that Sunday that is now half-a-decade in the past. I still feel torn in two when I recall debating with myself whether I, as Mom’s youngest child, should have stayed in her room keeping vigil along with my older half-sister between 4 PM on the 18th and 5 or so in the morning of the 19th. Part of me wishes that I had, but (a) the small room was already crowded (my half-sister had asked her paternal cousins, Juan Manuel and Mauricio Pereira, as well as Juan Manuel’s wife Barbara, to come over for emotional support, and the hospice nurse and a Catholic priest were also there), and (b) I was too angry and frustrated by my half-sister’s arrogance and melodramatic behavior to be in the same room with her for extended periods of time.
Besides, although I had no idea about the specifics of the legal, financial, and – especially – the emotional obstacles that Vicky and her enablers were going to erect over the next 11 months, I had a bad feeling about what my near-term future held in store for me.
The most vivid memories I have about what happened after my mom’s earthly remains were wheeled into the funeral home’s ambulance like hearse are:
- Vicky and her two cousins taking Mom’s framed baby photo – taken in 1928 a few months after her birth – down from the downstairs bedroom’ wall and removing two pictures of my parents (Mom and my father) from their frames on Mom’s dresser. They swore that they would make digital copies and give me prints, even though – at least in the case of my parents’ photos – I was entitled to one of the originals per a deal brokered by Mom a year or so before her death. Instead, they kept the photos and never made copies
- Sometime around noon, Vicky returned to the townhouse, knowing that I was alone, tired, and dazed with grief. She then proceeded to remove family pictures, an old sewing cabinet that had belonged to my great-grandmother, and other knick-knacks that Mom had owned from the living room and dining areas. She didn’t even wait an entire day to take the stuff…she just went on a plundering rampage
- The silence in the house after Vicky departed for the second time that day – the first had been when she went to the funeral home along with Mom’s body – was oppressive
As difficult as it might be, I’m going to try to bury my feelings about today deep. I don’t want to annoy the fine people that I live with, so I will try to keep myself amused, or at least distracted, with music, books, movies, or even gaming for a bit.
I do not know how my half-sister is doing; I have not seen or heard from her since the preliminary hearing in the now-retired Judge Bernard Shapiro’s chambers at the probate division’s building near the Dade County Courthouse in Miami, Florida more than four years ago. I suppose that she went to visit Mom’s ashes in the mausoleum at Our Lady of Mercy, the Catholic cemetery in Doral with her entourage; she’s always been the type of person who loves to show off how more-Catholic-than-thou she is. If I know her well, and I do, she’ll probably go to Mass around 5 PM, then drink wine or vodka till she gets sleepy.
The only thing I can take comfort in about all this is that I no longer have to deal with a tempestuous and troubled relative.