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Death of Fame: In Honor of Felipe Acevedo

January 29th, 2012

Growing up in Spanish Harlem during an era in which ‘el Barrio’ carried its own social identity encompassed an inner-city diversity that only those who lived there could fully understand. For me, the character of ‘el barrio’ provided a plethora of paths from which to choose. Those who chose erroneously would surely fall through the cracks to be consumed perhaps by the destructiveness of the heroin plague that besieged both Spanish and Black Harlem during the 1940′s and 1950′s. The psychological and physiological addiction to such a powerful opiate also included acts of criminality, family rejection and other maladaptive behavior that forever blemished the character of the individual by imposing permanent labels of negativity that lead straight to the pitfalls of social disgrace. I was fortunate to have been reared in a nuclear family that was held together by a generous love that provided an all-around nurturing foundation. My upbringing was epitomized further by a superb mother who possessed the wisdom of Solomon, the perseverance of Job and the pure love of God.

The memories of my childhood triggered emotional references of unique experiences that were simultaneously sad, happy, frightening and exuberant. Such is the foundation of any normal rearing, inside any society and by any individual practicing any religion. The biggest exception, of course, is that this compelling story references my history and no one else’s. It was the combination of these unique experiences that paved my character and personality to what they are today, notwithstanding the genetic input by both my mother and father. After all, we are each the product of our genetic makeup and environmental learning, which has made all the difference in the world to me. The rest, as they say, is history.

The one particular event that set the stage for my future in death-care was connected to the death of my maternal uncle, Felipe. At the age of twenty three, he had risen to fame as guitarist and vocalist in the Latin sensational group called El Trio San Juan. I was almost four when he died, an age that was emotionally tender, but old enough to allow conscious memories to instill permanent influence. I recall vividly the details of his funeral service, which was held at the popular Gonzalez Funeral Home on the corner of Madison Avenue and 109th Street in Manhattan. The three days of his funeral wake before the open casket containing my uncle’s body was tantamount to overkill, leaving an emotional scar that forever marked the most somber of all human experiences. Even I felt that at such a young age.

Perhaps it was the manner of his death that carried such an emotional burden. You see, he died when his car crashed with a tree outside Newburg, New York, on his return trip to his home after The Trio played at a concert in an upstate New York villa for three days. Perhaps physical exhaustion, lack of sleep and an abundant level of emotional exuberance proved too mentally distracting for the lone driver. All I know was that my mother was totally devastated at the loss of her baby brother. She was close to Felipe since childhood. My mother’s older brother, Frank, also felt the emotional torment that overtook him at the passing of his brother. My uncle’s wife, Damaris, and their three children, Felipe Jr, Iris and Veronica were also affected immensely by his untimely death.

As if my uncle’s death hadn’t already affected enough members of my family, let me add that as a public figure, his demise also brought his fans to their knees, tearing at their emotional seams and slaughtering the smiles and laughter Uncle Felipe had provided as an entertainer. His three day wake at the funeral home was a spectacle to behold as hundreds of thousands of emotionally depleted people cried, screamed, ranted and raved over the loss of their most beloved latin star. Felipe Acevedo may have died, but his music will live forever. Such a dichotomy of emotional sensation and cognitive intellectuality left me overly-stimulated and forever curious about death and dying. Not even Elisabeth Kubler Ross, herself, could shed light on the obscurities associated with death that would satisfy my intellectual thirst many years later.

When I realized how much pain and sorrow death could actually bring, I had to pursue the art of emotional healing, at first through religious application, but finally through the more hands-on approach involving human cremation. I had finally found my niche in the overall scheme of things. I learned that I could best help humanity by handling their dead. For many years I excelled in the death-care industry, eventually coming full-circle when I founded Guiding Light Cremations. I have finally earned my badge of honor through an art that provides a true sense of closure that when performed honorably and with dignity, it is the best show of human fulfillment and satisfaction.

I have learned wholeheartedly that only in extending a helping hand to our fellow human being at a time of need can we truly demonstrate the pureness of our thoughts, the kindness of our souls and the love in our hearts. Only by giving can we truly show our humanitarianism. Each and every time I sit with a family who is prepared to trust us with the remains of their love loss, I do recognize how fortunate I am to be able to come to their aid. I value my profession and vow to always fulfill the wishes of my families. The way I see it, personal satisfaction and inner fulfillment cannot possibly exist without honorable interactions.

Experiencing losses is part of our humanity. Why not let Guiding Light Cremations guide you through your loss. Avoid having to undergo the labyrynth of emotional ups and downs that are so inherent whenever the wrong death-care provider is in charge. We are sensitive professionals who have been trained for the expressed purpose of bringing emotional stability, psychological support and financial closure that relieves monetary burdens. Give us a call today and ask for me, Geronimo. I will first listen attentively, then I will speak. I guarantee that our facility will provide an instant passivity not found anywhere else. Call 954-729-8827. Don’t be surprised when I answer!

Geronimo Mena, Jr., LDD
Chief Operating Officer
Guiding Light Cremations
Hollywood, Florida 33023

Guiding Light

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