One of the curses -- or blessings -- of having a family scattered on both shores of the Atlantic is that it sometimes takes time to learn major news. Sometimes not because of physical difficulties in the way of communication, but because of emotional ones. I just learned yesterday that my aunt Tina, María Faustina López Pardo vda. de Precedo, has died after two weeks in a coma.
Tina was the oldest of my mother's sisters, the one who saw herself as the head of the family, the one determined never to cede a millimetre to the ravages of time, and la mas cúrsi. She was the one who approved least of my mother's having married a black man -- and, to the horror of all three of her sisters, she could deliver herself of the most racist of statements without a second's thought. Yet she was my godmother, and she could be the soul of both propriety and kindness.
So, I mourn her, and wonder at the irony that her ashes will spend eternity adjacent to my father's in a mausoleum on the road to Sada -- a town where she was happy, and he was not.