Paying First and Last Respects

I stole my mom from her house a few weeks ago. I took her with me on a family history research journey into southern California. Bear with me. The next few entries will be about discoveries.

One of the stops on my itinerary was the Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum in San Diego. This is where Leonardo’s half-sister, Maria Ramirez de Barbachano is buried.

As a recap, they shared the same mother, Mariana Bustamante. She is my hero. From the 3 children I have found, she has hundreds of grandchildren who share her DNA. Maria Ramirez was her child from a second marriage to Juan Ramirez. She married Manuel Barbachano.

After working at the San Pedro Customs House for many years, they moved to San Diego. I’ve been wanting to go and connect with this elusive aunt for years.

When I drove into Holy Cross Cemetery, I could see that many had been filling the lawns and newer mausoleums on the grounds. Families were gathered around tombstones, remembering their loved ones. We were there on a weekday and I was surprised they were busy. But sometimes needing to remember is important at that moment.  Right then and there.

We drove up to the main building. I made a huge assumption. After reading all I had about the Barbachanos, I figured they would be right up in the “big place.”

Main Chapel. Holy Cross Cemetery, San Diego, CA

Main Chapel. Holy Cross Cemetery, San Diego, CA

I could say that perfect timing put us there on a weekday when the office was open. But I’d by lying. My mom and I were overwhelmed by the number of people laid to rest here. The building space is VERY well utilized. I caved and went to a nice maintenance man for assistance.

He took me to the office and kindly waited for the map. Then he took us just around a few corners.

Main Chapel, after having walked in the front doors.

Main Chapel, after having walked in the front doors.

When we walked in the front door, we entered this main chapel area. Do you see the lovely statue of the Virgin Mary on the right? That is the entrance to the small Immaculata Chapel.

Immaculata Chapel

Immaculata Chapel

We never would have found their vaults but for the map. However, I should have known that they were going to be right up front. Once we went into the chapel, we saw there were two sides. The Barbachanos were on the right side. The bottom two burial vaults were theirs.

Manuel P. Barbachano

Manuel P. Barbachano

The top vault belongs to Manuel and Maria’s son, Manuel P. Barbachano. Feb 1891 – Feb 1954.

Manuel and Maria Barbachano

Manuel and Maria Barbachano

Below their son, were Manuel A. Barbachano, Sept 1858 – Feb 1948, and his wife, Maria Ramirez de Barbachano, Aug 1870 – Nov 1957.

It was a wonderful experience to say hello and goodbye to persons that I had never met but have thought of many times. After a few quiet moments thinking about Maria’s relationship with my great-grandfather, their mom, their home experiences growing up, etc., my mom noticed something very interesting.

Visitors

Visitors

Both had recently had visitors. There were two red carnations each flower vase. It was simple. It was touching.

I think I was the first to “rediscover” where my great-grandfather Leonardo was buried over 20 years ago. At that time I thought, “well, if no one comes to see you in 80 years, cremation is the way to go.” But then I went to this gravesite. Even after 60 years, there is someone who still gets comfort from visiting their loved ones. Sharing their love for those they miss. Paying their respects.

 

 

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