BY FRANCISCO GUAJARDO | SPECIAL TO THE MONITOR
Yolanda Guerra and her husband George final noticed one another in individual on Nov. 25, 2020, the day earlier than Thanksgiving. That day, she stated, “Honey, I’ve lived a great life. Thanks for all the things. I like you!”
Moments later, she was whisked away to McAllen Medical Heart, the place she died of COVID-19 problems on Dec. 4, at age 63. She was born in Edcouch on Could 21, 1957.
George bore witness to Yolanda since 1971, after they had been within the band collectively at Edcouch-Elsa Excessive Faculty: he a 15-year-old sophomore, she a 14-year-old freshman.
“She was enjoying the clarinet, when she caught my eye,” George stated. “I performed the trumpet. We didn’t hit it off at first, however when she requested me to be her chamberlain at her quinceañera, the connection was sealed.”
“She got here from a really humble household,” George added. “Her mom Toñita and her siblings all realized the way to work laborious, be accountable, and to be there for one another. They realized to like the Lord. However materially, they didn’t have a lot.”
George recounts that as a bit woman, Yolanda by no means owned a doll, and didn’t have a handbag as an adolescent.
“However in case any members of the family or pals had been ever curious,” George stated. “Yolanda turned a doll collector and had a closet full of handbags.”
She even gave dolls for Christmas, particularly to 7-year-old granddaughter Avery, who bore adoring witness to her grandmother, and who describes her as “foolish outdated grandma.”
“She taught me the way to do the hula hoop,” Avery stated.
Humorous that the train was a whole hip-action simulation — there was no hula hoop. Certainly, Yolanda was foolish.
Yolanda’s son, George Jr., stated his mom “introduced life into any room. She had a glow about her, stunning in each approach.” He and his mom talked daily.
“My day would finish with a cellphone name to her,” he stated.
Eric, Yolanda’s youthful son, stated his mom exuded love, hope and religion.
“Mother all the time instructed me to pursue my desires, to by no means let anybody inform you that you just couldn’t do one thing,” stated Eric, who noticed his mom as a valuable present.
George and Yolanda shared the accountability of rising Guerra’s Funeral House right into a revered enterprise locally. Yolanda was dedicated to the funeral residence, however she all the time labored no less than one different job.
“She was a bookkeeper and was good at it, all the time loyal and hardworking to her employer,” George stated.
Via the years George and Yolanda constructed robust relationships with the group. A educated mortician, George dealt with the mortuary science, whereas Yolanda helped with the bookkeeping, payroll and public relations.
“Generally, she’d assist me put together women’ hair,” George stated.
The Guerras took pleasure in being there for others — an indicator of the household worth system.
“Like her mom Toñita,” stated George, Yolanda embodied a beneficiant spirit.
There’s the story of a good friend of the boys, a younger man named Orlando Rodríguez, who goes by the nickname Nige.
“When he was within the eighth grade,” stated George, Nige stayed the night time after a college perform.
In line with Nige, “I used to be misplaced at that time in his life, however via Yolanda’s steerage, I discovered my strategy to the Lord, and my life was modified perpetually.”
“They took me in, as if I used to be their son, and he or she was the drive behind that,” stated Nige, who additionally bore shut witness to Yolanda.
Whereas George has been within the funeral enterprise since 1976, he stated it “didn’t fairly put together you for once you lose a member of the family. When it hits residence, it’s very completely different. I can now see how households may be so overwhelmed. I gained an appreciation for a way difficult it’s.”
“Closure has been laborious for all of us,” George stated. “I needed to costume Yolanda for remaining viewing. It was very laborious, however I felt (like) such an honor to do this.”
“The rosaries have been very useful,” George Jr. stated. “Even when we do them just about. It’s been nice to see household be there all through.”
George additionally tells the story of Max, the household Shih Tzu who took Yolanda’s dying as laborious as any human.
“Max knew,” stated George. “He received depressed and had this disappointment about him. So, I took him to see Yolanda’s physique within the funeral residence. I took him twice, actually, as a result of he wanted closure.”
Apparently, the final exchanges with Yolanda eased Max’s grief.
“He’s now again to his bouncy self,” George stated. “However solely as a result of he had an opportunity to smell her one final time. Max and Yolanda had been capable of talk — in a deeply religious approach.”
On this vacation season, we rejoice the present of the love Yolanda Guerra bestowed upon so many. Greater than something, “Yolanda believed within the Lord and in her household,” stated George.
Que en paz descanse Yolanda Guerra. Relaxation in peace.
Francisco Guajardo, chief government officer for the Museum of South Texas Historical past at 200 N. Closner Blvd. in Edinburg, authored this story as a part of an ongoing sequence entitled Bearing Witness. The museum’s effort goals to doc a number of the Rio Grande Valley lives misplaced to COVID-19. For extra details about the museum, go to MOSTHistory.org.