Adios, Josie Bustillos (1931-2021)

Mom’s funeral was on a rainy December morning at St. Killian’s Roman Catholic Church in Mission Viejo, CA. COVID seemed to effect attendance. But those there wanted to share how much mom meant to them. That was important.

I’m left with thoughts about what was important to her and what she wanted from us and for us. Like most things, we have a way to go to live up to what she wanted for and from us.

The youngest of 13 (raised with 11 because two of her siblings died before she was born), life wasn’t easy but she had a stubborn high standard for what she expected. She understood how important staying in contact with family is and that nothing else was as important. We’ll, actually her Catholicism was pretty important to how she defined herself. At the same time that didn’t stop her from marrying a non-Catholic. Try to explain that one. 

Being the youngest, she was a bit of a princess, but between her and dad, she was the more pragmatic one and he was the dreamer. All of 5’ 1” tall, but she was no timid push-over. At the same time she knew when to push back and the carefully balance of what battles were worth fighting for. Even with all of their volatile rough edges they seemed to mostly bring out the best in each other.

It is kind of amazing that this woman, who had never lived a day of her life alone or without sharing her bed with numerous sisters or her husband, lived ten-years after dad passed away by herself, and seemed to enjoy not having to share her place with anyone. Last time we talked she was just as alert as ever and was very frustrated that her body was failing her, to the point where even her fingers were useless to her. She didn’t want to go, but she didn’t like being so entirely dependent on those around her. She often commented on how one has to give up on basic pride because of how helpless one becomes in later years.

Thank you mom for never giving up on us and always wanting to offer your insights, even when we weren’t able to hear or appreciate your concern. Thank you for your love and imperfect ways of expressing it. You never gave up trying and that may have been the most important lesson. “Of course it hurts, that means you’re still alive,” you used to say. Yeah, right now it hurts a lot ‘cause we’re still here but you’re not. 

Josie Bustillos Memorial Slideshow Video
Funeral Streamcast

Bustillos family images:

2000s Bustillos Family: Ben & Josie – Last Chapters (SmugMug slideshow)

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