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Posts Tagged ‘Corpus Christi’

One Last Time

It was dark yet there was no denying that I had found the right house. It had been painted two different shades of green and there was a wheelchair ramp in the front but it was still the same house I had seen the last time I had been there to see Grandma, twelve years before. I was here to see her one last time, to say one final good bye.

Corpus Christi has some very beautiful sections. I love the oceanfront. That’s my favorite place to visit but this time I was not here for a vacation. I was here to bury my Grandma and to help my mother get through the loss of her mother. This was the toughest trip I had made in a long time. As I parked the rental car, I took a deep breath as I braced myself for the difficult days ahead.

Two days later, when we found ourselves with a block of time before we had to be back to the funeral home for the rosary, Mom asked Uncle Joe to drive us to the waterfront so that I could see how it had changed. I enjoyed that short tour of the T-heads and the waterfront, and the historic-homes-turned-museums, but there was an underlying heaviness and sadness marring the excursion. Somehow, underneath it all, I think each of us knew that we would never return here again. That unspoken knowledge weighed heavily on our minds as we each tried to soak it all in and engrave the view onto our minds.

The sky was a clear blue, just a couple of shades lighter than the ocean. The wispy clouds mirrored the foam on the sea’s waves. Palm trees bent in the wind. A tug boat pulled a barge through the narrow inlet of water. Seagulls screeched as they swooped around us. The traffic rushed by on the bridge high above us. We were the only ones aware of our pain, grief, and the heaviness of our hearts as we walked to the car and headed back to the house that held Grandma’s presence even though she would never be there again.

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The Last Time

During my trip to Texas for my Grandma’s funeral, there was no time to do much of anything that was not related to the funeral, sorting through my grandmother’s with my mom as she decided what to keep and what to give away. My grandmother had a number of home care providers which were absolutely wonderful. There were at least three at the rosary and funeral and visiting at the house. These were workers she hadn’t had in some time but they had become members of the family through their caring ways for my grandmother. Many of my grandmother’s things, especially the larger pieces of furniture, went to these home care providers. Although I would have loved to have some of that furniture, there’s no way I could have afforded to bring the pieces from Texas to northern California. I was glad to see them go to people that had cared for my grandmother and for her family.

Although I knew I was not there for a vacation, I did have this feeling that I would never return there again. I have always enjoyed being in Corpus Christi. It’s on the Texas Gulf Coast and the views of the Gulf of Mexico are beautiful. I have fond memories of playing on the seashore as a child and then of taking my own kids to play there. I wanted one more look at the coast. I mentioned to my mother that I wanted to at least drive by before heading for the airport. On the Monday that I was there, we had about a 2 1/2 hours block of down time before the private viewing for the family at the funeral home. Everyone headed back to their motels for a nap. My mom and I were with my aunt and uncle and my mom told my uncle that I wanted to go by the waterfront. He took us.

We only spent about an hour, tops, driving there (about an eight minute drive from my grandma’s house), being there and driving back. I’m glad I went. It’s the same but it’s different from the last time I was there. My mom suggested we go to the memorial built for hometown super star, Selena. I hadn’t been there since just before Selena was murdered so the memorial to her was new to me. It is on the beach. For those of you that have seen the movie, Selena, you may remember the beach side stairs in the scene where her mom was teaching her to dance. That’s where the life size sculpture and monument have been set up. Those are the steps I played on as a child.

Selena bust

New to me were also the lookouts built along this same area of the waterfront. They are called miradores del mar (ocean lookouts is a close translation). I took the picture below from inside the Selena monument. Through it you can see another one of the miradores del mar, as well as the U.S.S. Lexington which is on permanent display at the port of Corpus Christi. The Lexington, known as the Blue Ghost, is a WWII navy aircraft carrier that was in service from 1943 to 1991. It was partially damaged during the attack on Pearl Harbor but was repaired and returned to service.

Miradores del mar

We headed a short 1/2 of a mile drive to the Corpus Christi Bridge which brings traffic back and forth from Corpus Christi to Portland, Texas. Approximately 7,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily. My uncle has fished under this bridge and there were indeed people fishing on the afternoon we visited. There was also a huge barge being maneuvered through the waters by a tug boat.

Corpus Christi Bridge

It was a very nice distraction from the business at hand. I think we all felt a little melancholy, knowing that this was perhaps the last time any of us would visit this area.

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