Thursday, February 21, 2013

An Open Letter of Deeply Heartfelt Thanks

To the Honorable Mayor of Culebra, Ivan Solis, Auturo, head of Culebra's Municipal Defense, Mario Albert, Seguido , the young Pastor and the other Gentlemen who assisted in Timmy Larson's burial yesterday:

As I spent time fruitlessly yesterday afternoon searching for phone numbers to find a member of Timmy's family, I was motivated by my and others' biggest fear; that his remains would be disposed of anonymously, somewhere on the big island, unknown to us and any family we will hopefully find.

I was just getting ready to head to the clinic to see if any more information could be found when I got a call from Mary Ann, who had just gotten a call from Lourdes, saying that Timmy's remains were being taken, as we spoke, to the cemetery for burial. After confirming that information with Lourdes, I really didn't know what to do next, so I stood on the roadside awhile, waiting for a vehicle that looked 'right' to come by. Nothing happened so I decided to walk over to the cemetery and wait.

Thank you all so much, for your gentle respect
 (I know it might be weird to have these photos here, it felt strange to take them, but I don't know another way to share and identify those who were so kind - though not all are pictured -  as well as for those who couldn't be there)

Half way there, Mario and another gentleman (Lo siento! I don't remember your name) pulled up beside me. You both were transporting Timmy's remains and let me have a ride, explaining that you were sorry there hadn't been more time to let people know, but that Ivan wanted Timmy given a dignified burial here on Culebra and the decision was made to do this now. He had been returned here from the funeral home on the big island and we have no means here of holding remains safely for any length of time.

Thank you, Seguido (sorry if that is misspelled), for being the liaison between Culebra and the funeral home on the big island. The simplicity of the coffin was so perfectly Timmy.

I asked if I could try to reach a few people and was told that was no problem. You all told me that would be fine to wait, even if it was an hour or more. I managed to get in touch with a few people who came to say farewell (I apologize for not reaching more, frankly, I was a little shaken and not in full organizational mode).

Pastor, you gave a lovely message of comfort and consolation; we were touched and moved by your sincerity. Auturo, your message from the Mayor still brings tears to my eyes. The decision to bring Timmy home, because of not being able to locate his blood family, but to be taken care of by his Culebra family, including taking on the financial aspect - I still don't really have words to express what that means to us, and how Timmy would have been so honored and so surprised. That you mentioned always seeing him walk about, with his little dog, and that while you didn't know him well, you knew him as part of the family of Culebra... We will never forget that gesture and honor for our friend.

To the young man who translated, word for word, sentence by sentence, the little sermon and the message from the Mayor, thank you so much.  Again, I'm sorry I don't have a memory for names.

That all this would have been done regardless of our presence, that it was arranged for there to be a Pastor, as well as representatives of the Municipality, means, again, more than mere words can express.

The young man kneeling is the Pastor
We shall, as you all invited us to do, have a memorial for him up on that hill, with that beautiful view. You all are welcome on that day, and we will let you know when. But for now, I myself and speaking for others I know feel the same, thank you deeply from our hearts for doing this for Timmy. Bless you all.

With respect and thankfullness,

MJ & friends of Timmy

p.s. To the young couple on the tandem bike who offered to ride me over to the cemetery, and who got a big dose of the real Culebra, I thank you again and hope you understand even more what you've felt and enjoyed since you got on the island. There is a heartbeat here, the rhythm of which  certain people tune into immediately, and you are two of those people.


  1. Bless you for writing this.

  2. Wonderful and very touching.

  3. To all who have written, via personal email, here, and/or facebook, if what I wrote gave you even a small amount of what it felt like at that moment, then I am so thankful. Culebra is so many things and sometimes I have no idea how to even try to put words around her.

  4. What a great narrative and missive, MJ. I can't believe that I haven't met Timmy, but I don't recollect a Timmy from my Culebra friend list, ever. But if we were never introduced, he is well known to me by the caliber of his friends.

    1. Doug, I have no doubt you saw him many times, but his hang out places were more Happy Landing than Dinghy Dock and in the last year or so (before that he was in St. Croix for a few years), he wasn't out for more than the time to get what he wanted and get back home, at Pan's.

    2. Yeah, I could only stay inside Happy Landings (the bar, not the restaurant namesake) for long enough to pick up some cold beer. The volume on that jukebox was pretty lethal.

    3. It still is. But sometimes, it isn't on at all, or Juan Juan had music outside so inside wasn't ear bleeding...I've only been in once since Mesine stopped leasing it.