Phoenix – Despite the fact that Noeme Feliciano could not be near her sister, who lost the battle with the coronavirus in New York, she lived her funeral virtually from Arizona and said she was grateful to have given him “Christian burial”, a privilege that thousands of people have lost. people in the United States who for security reasons have been denied the bodies of their relatives.
“I appreciate despite the tragedy that we were able to do that. With the new measures of the authorities they are no longer handing over the bodies to avoid contagion; now they put them in hermetic bags and they are being cremated, ”Feliciano, who is a retired sergeant of the United States Armed Forces and lives in Laveen, Arizona, told Efe.
Feliciano, who received on February 26 the sad news of the death of his sister Raquel Martínez, 71, assured that his departure was very fast. Her relatives admitted her because she had respiratory and fading problems, she tested positive for the coronavirus and in a few days she died.RELATED
The also writer acknowledged that at first she thought the virus was far from her environment. “You think you won’t be touched until you take people close to you; it is when the danger and the tragedy become real, “he said.
New York State has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, where there are at least 138,836 cases and 5,489 fatalities, and is the epicenter in the United States.
When he received a call from his niece to inform him that his sister was positive for the coronavirus, Feliciano exclaimed between sobs, “My God, this is happening, I am living it in the flesh.” After learning of his death, he isolated himself in his study and wrote him a letter of farewell and thanks.
He managed to read the letter through a virtual conference, along with Psalm 23, the favorite of his “soul sister”, during the funeral in New York on April 3, which only lasted 15 minutes and cost of $ 7,000.
“Technology cut the distance. Through some speakers they listened to me in the pantheon and I could see the coffin, as well as the flowers that were sent to it. My niece recorded since they took her in the float and passed her by the house where she lived and where they placed a lily and a carnation, “she recalled.
Then her sister was transported to the cemetery, where about 10 people were there, including the funeral staff. The other family members were present virtually through their phones and computers.
Feliciano, who was born with Asperger syndrome and a high level of autism, felt a very special attachment to his sister, who, being the oldest, guided her and helped her face her special condition, to the point of overcoming it.
“He said, ‘My candy doll.’ She was the one who combed my hair, took care of me. He was the one who raised me, since my parents were older when they had us, ”said the mother of three children, of Spanish and Puerto Rican descent.
The loss has been a “very bitter drink” for Feliciano, who had to gather strength to cope with the departure of his sister, and he seeks to channel that pain to raise awareness of respect for the rules of isolation and distance, which help to save lives.
Take care of yourself, stay at home and use everything you have at your disposal to protect yourself. Wear masks and wash your hands, because this is actually happening, “he said.
Feliciano, who has just finished his book “Almas Gemelas”, recalled an anecdote related to his sister’s virtual funeral. “I was in military service. It was back in 1963 and I went to the world fair in New York, and I remember seeing how they announced that in the future we were going to be able to see the people we were talking to by phone, “he said.
“My military profession was business and personnel training, so when they brought computers I was one of the first to use them. I have always kept up-to-date with technology, so when my niece notified me of Raquel’s departure, I looked for the means to be present virtually at her funeral, “he said.