Editorial: Light a candle, send a hug

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It has been a strange and difficult couple of weeks as normal life was upended over a virus.

Local restaurants had to stop serving indoors and only provide takeout service; many wait staff lost their jobs. Schools entered a second week of no classes. As of Tuesday (March 24), all other businesses not deemed essential by the governor had to close for the time being until the spread of COVID-19 is brought under control; many of their workers also lost their jobs. Hospital staff and first responders are working not only to protect patients, but themselves in the face of the deadly coronavirus.

Taoseños and other communities in the county have stepped up as they always do in hard times to take care of each other. Neighborhoods are organizing; volunteers and school staff have spent the last week making sure food was available to students and their families; grocery stores are giving seniors a specific time to shop so they can find what they need; people are checking in on each other via social media and phone to make sure they are OK and have what they need.

One of the most poignant ripple effects of the efforts to stop the pandemic is the impact on funerals. For now, no more than five people at a time can enter a funeral home or chapel for a service in order to meet the state’s mandates for social distancing. Some funeral homes are offering to livestream memorial and funeral services for only family and friends. But it isn’t the same as people being able to hug a friend or family member in a time of loss and heartbreak or being there to pay their respects in person.

Doreen Martinez, a lady known to many in Taos as the longtime senior operations director at Rivera Funeral Home, faces the dual heartache of losing a daughter and then not being able to surround herself physically with people who would comfort her. A memorial is planned at a later date for her daughter Patricia Medina, 31, who died unexpectedly. But the family, in the meantime, is asking that in her memory, people say a prayer for her or light a candle at 5 p.m. today (March 26) in their homes.

In this time of upended lives, this is one thing all of Taos can do, even if you didn’t know the family – say a prayer, light a candle and send a message to Doreen and her husband, Joaquin, through Rivera Funeral Home to let them know you were thinking of them. The same could be done for anyone who dies in our area over these next few weeks. 

Doreen helped provide care for many grieving families in their time of need.

Let’s show her Taos cares in return.

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