Mercedes, Texas (KVEO) — Sunday was the first day of Dia de los Muertos, and this year, the Rio Grande Valley mourns more than 3,000 lives lost to COVID-19.
KVEO attended a celebration to see how people are remembering their loved ones taken by the virus.
“It was very sad for us to lose him the way we did,” Mercedes resident San Juanita Torres said.
Torres has been mourning her uncle since he died from COVID-19 two months ago.
“My uncle meant a lot to me because he was always there for me and my family whenever we needed him,” she said.
She and her family visited his grave at Sacred Park Cemetery today for its annual Dia de los Muertos celebration featuring music and a blessing of the graves.
Though funeral home and cemetary owner Carla McCaleb says this year’s observance is on a much smaller scale for safety reasons, it’s still important.
“It’s very cultural, it’s the day you celebrate the lives of those that were special to you — that meant something to you — and bring them things they liked,” she said.
Other funeral homes throughout the Rio Grande Valley saw a spike in COVID-19 related deaths in the summer, but it is now slowing down, according to McCaleb.
For Torres, while she says she will continue to miss her uncle each remaining day of her life, she is focusing on the good that resulted from the situation and is grateful for where he has moved on to.
“He’s not suffering with any complications the coronavirus had,” she said. “Now he can live freely.”