Pools, bouquets and chests: Ovaldi begins burying her dead


Placeholder while loading article actions

Ovaldi, Tex. – The family of the 10-year-old shooting victim held a prayer circle in the yard here on Monday As temperatures rose, mourners came.

Jesse Loyvanos’ relatives didn’t know what to do, boy Uncle said in a short interview. “As the funerals approach, it gets more and more difficult,” said the uncle, He spoke on condition of anonymity out of respect for his nephew’s memory.

American flags fluttered in the sweltering winds Monday as the dawning of Memorial Day in Ovaldi, a day of unfathomable mourning and revival this year as this tight-knit city of 15,000 near the Mexico border had begun burying its dead—murdered. 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School last Tuesday.

The early days of anger and grief over the senseless tragedy, which was exacerbated disastrous Law enforcement errorsgive way to a difficult but necessary period of mourning—a relentless cycle of visits, pools, funerals, and receptions that began on Monday and It will run until June 16th.

Pastors who offered condolences last week to children still bleeding, and priests who prayed with their anxious parents on Monday turned to the familiar rituals surrounding Christian burials. Volunteers traveled and traveled from all over Texas and all over the country to help with various aspects of funerals. Food truck operators distributed food and water. Florists made up the casket “sprays”. The president of the Texas Funeral Directors Association brought in an additional funeral coach along with other burial specialists—some experts in the art of facial reconstruction—to help.

The shooting in Ovaldi sparked something in him. So he gave up his gun.

As a priest in the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart — Uvald’s only Catholic church — Father Eduardo Morales has been preparing a calendar of constant grief, the kind of schedule that could only follow a monumental event like the one that shook the nation here in the past on Tuesday.

Morales, better known as “Father Eddie,” will host funeral after funeral for victims practically every day starting Tuesday — sometimes two in one day, about a dozen funerals.

He said at church after Saturday mass: “Everyone here knows someone who has been murdered. There will be many tears and a lot of grief… But as we continue to celebrate their lives, they will turn into tears of joy.”

Before returning to his hometown to lead the Sacred Heart six years ago, Morales buried the parishioners he knew, he said. But he does not like this at all.

“I bury parishioners,” he said, “but they are people I’ve known all my life – and that’s what makes it difficult.”

Morales finds himself constantly searching for the right words to say. In the conversations he’s had since last week’s massacre, and in the words he said at Mass, Morales said he tried to emphasize one thing: “It’s okay to be angry,” he repeated. “But this anger cannot turn into hate.”

On Monday, the Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home — the low-hanging white mortuary steps from Robb Elementary School that housed wounded students fleeing the gunman — reopened its doors for an afternoon visit to Amy Joe Garza, 10. She remembered when she was a creative kid who would kiss her 3-year-old brother every day on her way to school. That little boy is crying now in confusion about the absence of his older sister, her family said.

But outside the funeral, nerves erupted when the mourners tried to negotiate a group of international media outlets. A reporter attempted to enter the building unsuccessfully, and police officers—some of whom were from several law enforcement agencies outside of Ovaldi who had descended on town to help local authorities— pushed the journalists into the street. The authorities instructed some families of the victims not to speak to the media; Another local funeral home has been published in the city, Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary A note on her website Which states: “We respectfully do not require reporters or photographers for property reasons.”

Also on Monday was Mighty Rodriguez, 10, an honors student who dreamed of becoming a marine biologist.

On Monday, police opened the way around Robb Elementary School for the first time since the killings. A constant stream of mourners, onlookers and curious seekers – mostly from out of town – came to weep or to see and photograph the improvised memorial that appeared around the elementary school sign, where white crosses indicate the names of the dead. The area was carpeted with thousands of bouquets and toys, and on Monday, people were still bringing in more. A woman arrived with a plastic bag full of stuffed animals. Groups of worshipers prayed in both English and Spanish, with one man holding a long wooden cross.

What school shootings do to the children who survived them, from Sandy Hook to Ovaldi

The grandmother of a survivor wept as she described how she and others want to move on and get away for even one day of constant reminders of the past week’s horror: the media, well-meaning strangers, the families of the victims.

“It’s too much for a little kid to go through,” Betty Fryer said, tears streaming down her face, referring to her 9-year-old grandson. “We adults too, we try to stay strong, for them, for our community, but that’s just too much.”

Her grandson, Jaden – who is only identified by his first name because he is a minor – said he survived the attack by hiding under a table. Now Jaydien, who has a mischievous smile and who used to love going to school and math lessons, You don’t want to go to school anymore. He doesn’t want to talk to the other kids who survived either.

His grandmother said that when he hears a loud bang, he feels anxious and afraid and can’t sleep well.

“We’re just trying to keep him busy and distracted, to forget the horror and be a happy kid again,” Fryer said.

At Country Gardens & Seed, three San Antonio volunteers traveled 80 miles to help store owner Yolanda Moreno. They were busy forming the flower Arrangements in white arched baskets for funerals. She did not breathe a child’s breath, but on the ground around them were buckets of a thousand donated flowers – fragrant lilies, roses and carnations, blue delphiniums, stalk alliums, green bells of Ireland. Moreno’s husband, Johnny, who is 64, has been in and out a few times to collect bouquets for the delivery van.

Moreno, 62, showed Rodriguez a heart-shaped arrangement, An aspiring marine biologist, sent by a florist elsewhere in Texas, with a tiny fisherman’s net and tiny sea urchins among the flowers–a tribute to a career dream the 10-year-old would never fulfill.

Moreno said all arrangements for funerals will be free, and she is making cash donations to the local library to buy books in the names of the deceased students.

“This is for the little boy, isn’t it?” asked volunteer Amanda Melton, 37, an event planner in San Antonio, pointing out one arrangement. “And what do you want to say on the card?”

“Made with love,” Moreno said.

As the timeline emerges, the police blast their response to the school massacre

Early on Monday morning, a carpenter named Robert Ramirez, 47, made the daily pilgrimage to his father’s grave at Ovaldi Town Cemetery, where the graves were covered in small American flags. Ramirez, whose carpenter’s pencil was tucked behind one ear, brought his father a Miller Light beer and placed them on top of his grave in honor of the day. The beer was still cold.

Ramirez said many people in Ovaldi are disappointed and angered by the law enforcement reaction to the shooting, and that people in the town want officers who failed to stop him to remove him from their jobs.

“They gave the shooter 90 minutes to do whatever he wanted, and he killed all these little boys and girls,” Ramirez said. “It was very sad. They were just preparing for summer. Two days.”

While visiting his father, Ramirez said he had to think about all that dirt and grass in the back of the cemetery, where many burials are likely to occur in the coming days. He said they should bury all the victims there and build a large memorial in their names.

“This is the perfect space,” he said, pointing at the grass patch. “They all died together; they must be together.”

Paulina Villegas from Uvald contributed to this report.