The burial took place in the little village by the little adobe church. The sun peeked behind grey clouds surrounded by the grey sky looking down upon the grey ground. The cross on the top of the church still gleamed. The family surrounded the homemade coffin made of pinon tree. The priest gave the blessing and handed the blessed crucifix to Mama who was still crying. Ofelia and the other siblings placed a special object on top of the coffin. Ofelia chose a toy truck. They use to play together on their free time with that little blue truck, pretending to drive to town and buy as much candy as they wanted.
Papa and the other men began to fill the hole with their shovels when the coffin was lowered deep in the ground. Soon, the entire coffin was covered with rich desert dirt. And now the only reminder of little Juanito was a big lump of dirt, a cross head stone, and some flowers. Everyone comforting each other that Juanito had gone to a better place.
Ofelia cried herself to sleep that night wondering if her heart would ever heal from the pain of her family’s grief. To think that she would experience many more heart aches as her journey continues, as this was only the beginning.
Living without Juanito left the family empty. Papa would not talk about him, and he seemed to drink a little more beer than usual. Mama seemed a little less herself, a little more serious, a little more protective.
Down the road Polo, the baby of the family, spots someone walking down the road. It was Tia Maria. “Mama!! Tia Maria! She is here!” yelled Polo. ,
Mama greeted her at the door. “Maria! It is good to see you!” They embraced for a bit.
“Hola Eolojia! Come estas?” asked Maria.
“Oye, muy triste…so depressed. It’s been a hard few weeks,” as tears welled up in her eyes.
“Si, well I am here now.” They walked towards the kitchen.
For dinner Mama and Tia Maria made a huge dinner for everyone. Papa butchered a lamb and Tia Maria brought fresh oranges and baked a chocolate cake, Mama baked rolls and churned homemade butter.
As the family sat to eat, everything started to feel better, and hope began to grow. They talked and exchanged stories, and the kids running around with laughter once again.