The bodies of two little sisters, who were salvaged from the ruins of a South Florida condo complex and were so small that the 4 and 10-year-olds were placed in the same casket, were buried alongside their parents on Tuesday, their white coffin wrapped in innocent pink and purple ribbons.
“Lulu bear” Lucia Guara enjoyed watching “Jeopardy” with her father, as well as dancing and practising yoga with her mother. Emma, her baby sister, was the family’s princess, a natural artist who adored her father’s piggyback rides and cuddling with her mother, according to family member Digna Rodriguez.
The Guara sisters, their parents, Marcus and Anaely Guara, and 42 others were killed when the Champlain Towers South building partially collapsed, killing them all. The hour-long funeral was held in the family’s Catholic parish, St. Joseph, just three blocks away. More than a hundred people are still missing. Rescuers in Surfside resumed digging amid mounds of pulverized concrete and twisted steel for the 13th day on Tuesday, despite severe rains and winds from a tropical storm.
The parking lot of the church where Emma was baptized in 2016 and Lucia received her first communion in 2019 overlooks the now-demolished condominium building.
The Rev. Juan J. Sosa requested that prayers be continued.
“About 15 of our other parishioners are still missing,” he continued. The pastor reminded the congregation that death does not define them, and that God’s strength is always present, especially during difficult times.
Throughout the service, family members wiped away tears and embraced each other in heartfelt embraces, especially during the singing of “Amazing Grace” as the caskets were brought out of the church at the conclusion.
“May we all be able to connect with our families as Lucia did. May we all move as gracefully as Emma. “May we all be as dedicated and faithful as Marcus and Anaely,” Rodriguez said.
Peter Milián, Marcus Guara’s cousin, encouraged others to follow the family’s lead by totally embracing the present moment and loving everyone around them.
“This dad was so cool he melted all over his daughters. Milián described how he enthusiastically participated in Lucia’s made-up news shows and Emma’s obstacle courses, saying, “He adored being a parent.”
Marcus, 52, a talented athlete and successful salesperson, relished the simple pleasures of life, such as going on the beach with his family. Anaely was a thinker and problem solver, as well as a protective mother who encouraged Emma’s creativity and served as a role model for Lucia, according to Rodriguez.
Lucia was a big-hearted child who quickly connected with others and had a passionate love for her extended family. She urged her father to send all of her birthday and tooth fairy money to St. Jude Children’s Hospital a few months ago, saying, “They need it more than I do,” according to her father’s Facebook post.
Milián considered it a blessing that the family died together.
He remarked, “I firmly believe God protected them by not allowing them to suffer without Lucia and Emma.”