Ya Vienen: Chapter Two | Part Three
I checked the electric kettle. It was still hot. I topped off my tea and headed back to my office. I needed to get my mind off my tia’s garden and cousin Giselle’s phone call.
I knew I needed to write the obituary but instead chose to return to my client’s project. I continued until I couldn’t ignore the setting sun and my promise anymore.
I spent the next hour and half trying to fit my Tia’s life into 1,100 characters or less. Less I laughed to myself in disgust.
How can I fit her lifetime into some tiny square in a newspaper? Some barren, stock imaged web page?
After an hour of rewrites, I ultimately settled on an earlier version. I sent the copy to my cousin Giselle, rather than my Tia Victoria directly. I wasn’t ready to face her yet. If she didn’t say something, I knew I would.
Valéria Eloisa Contreras
Daughter to one. Sister to three. Tia to many.
Retired botanist, guitarist, and curandera.
A lover of music, Valéria spent her formative years developing her skills as a performer. She would later go on to entertain across the state at festivals and community events.
After graduating with both a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Seattle University, Valéria left Washington for California. She entered a Master’s program at Humboldt State University where she would later complete her Ph.D. Valéria would then spend her career cultivating and advocating for the use of plant medicines within Western practice. After retiring at the age of 55, Valéria committed herself to curanderismo, eventually becoming a respected healer for nearly 15 years.
Valéria spent her off hours volunteering as a crisis hotline operator and maintaining her community garden. Which had provided food to neighbors and Domestic Violence shelters around the city for over 40 years.
She is survived by her mother, two sisters, brother and eight sobrines.