Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Taking Ned to Mexico

This blog is coming to you from San Miguel de Allende. Yes, I'm back. Arrived Sunday afternoon. The last few days in Houston were kind of crazy. I was worried about how to get most of my clothes that have collected in Houston over the last two years back to SMA. Would my two suitcases be overweight? What about my camera equipment? But my biggest worry last week was Ned's ashes. I wanted to bring some of his ashes to SMA.

The Funeral Home told me that they had sent cremated remains back to Mexico and they would provide the proper documentation for Mexican customs. I received a sealed box, a death certificate in Spanish and a letter in Spanish stating that the deceased had no communicable diseases. Okay. But I was still worried. I know that "rules" change from location to location, from day to day and from agent to agent in Mexico. I could just envision Mexico confiscating Ned's ashes from me and who knows where they would end up. The last couple of nights I was in Houston I took sleeping pills!

Okay, so I'm prepared for anything that might happen in Mexico. Little did I expect a problem North of the Border.

I get to the security line and I found out that since I'm 75 years old, I don't have to take my shoes off. I don't like being old but not having to take your shoes off is an advantage. I dutifully load up the plastic trays with shoulder bag with Ned's ashes and a carry-on. I have to go through the scanner and then turn to collect my stuff. The security person tells me to move over to the table that they have to check out the shoulder bag.

"Mam, what is in this bag?"
That official police voice which means she will not tolerate any objection.
"My purse, my Kindle and my husband's ashes."
She takes the sealed box out of the suede bag provided by the Funeral Home.
She wipes the inside of the bag with one of those explosive wipes.
"Mam, I'm going to have to take this box for a special scan."
She starts to walk away with the box.
"Where are you taking my husband?"
 Tears start rolling down my cheeks.
She gets a wire basket and puts the box in it.
"Over here for the special scan."
Now my nose is running and my breath is coming in hiccups.
She is back in less than a minute and gently puts the box back in the suede bag.
In a kind and gentle voice
"Mam, I'm sorry for your loss."

The flight was uneventful. In flight I fill out the entry form and the Custom Declarations form although I was not quite sure how to check it to declare Ned's ashes. I'm afraid if I don't tell them that I have the ashes and I get the red light that they will surely confiscate Ned's ashes.

Now Mexican Immigration and Mexican Custom. No problems though immigration. I get a porter to help with the luggage. I get to the Customs Agent.

"I'm not sure how I should fill out this Customs Declarations form but I have my husband's ashes."
"You have your husband with you????"
"No, my husband has died. I have his ashes with me and the paperwork to bring them into Mexico."
"Oh, push the button."
I pushed the button and got a green light.
She said
"Buenos Dias" and reached for the next person's Declarations form.
The porter and I walked out with my luggage and Ned's ashes.

I think that Ned is happy that at least a part of him is here in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, a place he loved dearly.


Steve Cotton said...

Welcome back. Your tale gave me a sense of peace.

I am sorry that I missed you on this trip. I left on Saturday morning. But both you and Ned are in my prayers.

Brenda Maas said...

Thinking of you.
I am sure Ned is happy that you are both back in Mexico.
Take care.

Tina said...

Billie, you are a strong woman...and I think Ned helped you through once again. May you continue to find peace and comfort in San Miguel.

1st Mate said...

Billie, I'm glad you were able to accomplish your mission and I hope now you can get some sleep.

Babs said...

I was never worried ab out Mexican customs = it was the people at TSA that I was concerned about.......glad all went well, sorta.

Misty said...

Glad to see you are headed back home. Though not the one you probably ever thought you would have, it's still a magical, special place. I think of it every day and love to think that a place like SMA would take care of me someday too.

I hope to meet you there someday soon - Misty


Matthew Smith said...

This post made me cry. The stark reality that you were returning to Mexico but things were different. Speaking this out loud at the airport when you were trying to keep this in.So sorry you had to go through this. I bet your family in Texas had a hard time letting you go.It is a new phase of your life. Thanks for sharing something so raw. You are in my thoughts and prayers. We lost my father-in-law to lung cancer a year ago. Lost my brother to it four years ago. Damn you cancer. Ned lives on in you. Hope to see your pictures soon. Jan in Mississippi

Matthew Smith said...

I tried to comment 2 days ago but it was all erased by the word you type thingy. I was very moved by your post.I cried reading it. My husband is my best friend and don't know what I would do without him. This is a new chapter,but Ned will still be there with you .Just in different form. Damn you cancer for taking away our loved ones. I lost my brother 4 years ago and my FIL 1 year ago to this awful disease.Looking forward to seeing new photos and updating on how you are doing. You are in my thoughts. Jan in Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Billie. I have followed your blog for years and I am so sorry for your loss. Since I read about your husbands passing - I always think about that lovely picture you posted of him in the jardin passing out candy to the children last Hallow'een. I am so happy you brought his ashes back here with you. You are so often in my thoughts - God Bless.