Entire Families Were Lost in the Surfside Collapse. Here Is One of Their Stories.


Her younger sister, Digna Rodriguez, said Ms. Rodriguez loved tango and salsa dancing and practiced yoga and meditation every day. Because Lucia had a peanut allergy, Ms. Rodriguez had also worked to spread awareness of food allergies and had become a fierce health care advocate.

“Anaely was very outgoing, an extrovert,” said Ms. Rodriguez, 40, who talked to her nieces almost daily. “She was very charismatic and she lived for her daughters.”

The Guaras attended St. Joseph Catholic Church, home to about 1,300 families, three blocks from their condo. One of the deacons, Roberto Pineda, baptized Emma in 2017. Two years later, Father Sosa celebrated Lucia’s First Communion Mass. And then this week, he presided over their funerals, where he offered a message of hope in the face of tragedy and of appreciating the “quality of life over the quantity of goods.”

Mr. Guara, a regional sales manager for a textile company, filled his Facebook page with photos of the family at the beach, on a hayride, at a Hurricanes football game.

Credit…via Peter Milian

Late last year, he shared a story on Facebook about Lucia, who had asked him to mail a letter for her. It was addressed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a charity the couple regularly donated to. He wrote: “She had stuffed the envelope with her piggy bank savings from birthdays and tooth fairy because ‘they need it more than I do.’”

“As a Dad,” he added, “my sense of pride was overwhelming.”

In the days after the family was found, relatives from both sides gathered in Ms. Hurst’s Miami Shores home to discuss the funeral. There was some comfort in how quickly the foursome had been found, in knowing they would be buried together. “Our peace comes from knowing they will be together forever,” Ms. Hurst said.

Because the sisters had been inseparable, the family decided to place the girls beside each other in a single white coffin. Lucia, who loved astronomy and outer space, was buried in an astronaut costume. Emma, who loved the world of princesses, was dressed in a pink gown befitting royalty.

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.



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