In the 80 days that Steve had been missing, I’d always anticipated that he’ll be coming back home. But sometimes, it felt like that the probability of Steve coming back was nil. There were times I’d felt uneasiness in the pit of my stomach because I had no idea where he was.
The longest time Steve and I were apart was when he was training to become an FBI Special Agent. We didn’t see each other for two months and yet, we called each other almost everyday. After that, I would visit or stay with him. I knew then where he was and he was doing something really important for himself and I supported that. We always supported each other’s career. We both believe that a person’s work should be something that you enjoy. It should be more than just a job.
This was the culmination of our family’s rushed less than a week preparation to honor my husband, Steve. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to him. As I walked along the aisle during the entrance procession, I steeled myself in looking straight ahead or else I might have broken down and cried.
Georgette Manio, Steve’s FBI colleague was generous with her time and voice to be the cantor for the Mass. Our dear friend, Jaime who worked w/ Steve when they were at the Southwest Division in LAPD made it possible to include the bagpipes and the Honor Guard Ceremony. I’m also grateful for Sgt. Dan Putz and Chief Charlie Beck in making that happen. It was fitting to the qualities I saw in Steve: simple, responsible, honest, honorable, loyal, humble, gracious, gentle and kind.
A lot of people came: Steve’s past and present colleagues from the LAPD and FBI. Some people from the BPD. Our family and friends from out of states, my past and present colleagues from work, my neighbors, my mommy-friends, the bereavement groups from St. Lorenzo & St. Francis Xavier, friends that I lost touch with and now we’d reconnected. Steve’s true friends that you can count in one hand. That was enough for him. That’s the kind of person he was. I’m grateful for their presence.
Rev. Frank Hicks and Rev. Benny George did a Concelebration Mass and Rev. Hicks went to the Mission Hills Catholic Mortuary for the burial rites.
“Have you ever met someone so good and so pure of heart that it makes you want to be a good person as well? That is exactly what Steve was for my entire family and me. When Steve was Continue reading “The Interment”→
It was a full day and as usual, I had about 101 things to do. There was a little bit of confusion at the Mortuary because I thought anyone from the family could get in but they needed me to be there and I was running late. It was stressful and I haven’t even finished the Eulogy for Steve until I get to the Mortuary.
I didn’t realize that there’s a difference in funeral etiquette between the East Coast & the West Coast. I really had no clue. Here on the West Coast, we greet the guest after the vigil while on East Coast, the family members stand beside the casket to receive guests during the viewing. My aunt told me that here in the West Coast, we usually serve food and apparently in the East Coast, they don’t. My aunt Naomi who is a bereavement minister and her friends from St. Lorenzo Ruiz Parish Church helped me a lot during the service.
There were still a lot of people, family, friends, Steve’s colleagues and my peeps from work. It was really comforting to see that people cared.
I finally finished my Eulogy for Steve:
“If I tell you the most memorable times of my life with Steve, we’ll probably do a 10 year vigil but I only have five minutes. Instead, I would love to tell you what kind of a husband & father he was. My husband was generous, humble, gracious, honest & kind.
Our marriage, like any kind of marriage had some bumpy roads. We had our petty fights, difference in temperaments, difference in preference for movies & even political disagreements. No matter how hard our day was, we always talk before we go to bed. If we had any disagreements, we always kiss and make up.
Steve & I celebrate a monthsery. I insisted on it & he went along with it- gleefully, I think. I always show my love and affection verbally & by giving little gifts. But you know, Steve – he showed it by his actions. He did the dishes, he made our tea, he threw the thrash bags, and he gave me pedicures. I’ll truly miss those idyllic moments.
He embraced fatherhood with such enthusiasm. We were partners in raising Kyle, his little buddy. They had their own rituals. After work, Steve usually brought Kyle at the park while I prepared dinner. Every time at 6pm, once Kyle heard the keys jiggling by the doorway, he’ll be running off greeting him, “Daddy, Daddy!” Kyle never did that for me & sometimes, I envied it. Now, I would have given anything to have those moments back but I can’t.
I have to reflect on what to say to our little boy whenever he asks for his Dad. Honestly, I’m still working on it. There is only a small part of me that had been appeased because we have him back home. In spite of the loss and sorrow that I feel, I’m truly grateful to God for the ten years of knowing him, living with him and loving him.
For better or for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish. Until we meet again, my love.”
It wasn’t a good day. I had an emotional breakdown. With all the list of things to do, I just felt that I wanted to get away from all this “madness.” I felt like a bride who just wanted to elope with her groom. My mom held me for a long time and calmed me down. In all my years growing up, it was the sweetest thing that my mom had ever done for me.
The later part of the day was better. A lot of the people that mattered to me and Steve were there. It’s a great comfort to me that a lot of people had prayed to bring Steve home safely. It wasn’t the answer that we all wanted but some part of me had been appeased. But in spite of the turbulence of emotions that I’m still feeling right now, I’m grateful.