In Puerto Rico, Waiting for Power, for Tourists, for the Flowers

Repeating Islands


This one truly breaks my heart. Mireya Navarro (The New York Times) writes, “Months after Hurricane Maria, the island is struggling to regain its balance. The flora tell a melancholy story.”

Last November, with Puerto Rico thrown into chaos after Hurricane Maria, I was frantically trying to reach a funeral home in San Juan. My dear cousin Alma Otero-Pérez, a free-spirited poet who was my mentor and model growing up on the island, had died overnight at her home for patients with Alzheimer’s. I loved her and the loss pained me, but as her guardian, I needed to focus on medical and legal paperwork and making the necessary funeral arrangements from New York.

I had a relationship with the reliable funeral home that had guided my family through another emotional passage when my mother died several years ago. I called, but the telephones were still out months after…

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