Haynes City, Florida. A cemetery is a special place, a place where the living can reunite with loved ones who are no longer physically with us.
For decades, Veronica Bermudez has not had the opportunity to reunite with her younger brother Ricardo.
“It took me fifty years to come and visit him,” she said.
Ricardo died when he was only 2 years old. At the time, Bermudez was only a couple of years older.
“Probably because I was the youngest, I never went out here. That’s why it took me 50 years to come here. One of my older brothers came to visit. where was my younger brother’s grave,” she said.
For many years she told the children about her desire to find a brother.
“I always told them that I wanted to go and find him. And when they told me: “Well, let’s go, mom. Let’s go find him.” But, I mean, where was I going to start?” She said.
So Bermudez decided to change that and finally find her brother’s grave.
“My whole family passed away quite young. Only myself and three other brothers remained. But two of them live in Texas, and I live in Plant City. in Plant City,” she said. “I always thought I wanted to find it because something was missing that we needed to visit.
The Bermudas decided to go to City Hall and get answers from the city clerk, Sharon Lauter.
“I don’t receive such requests. To be honest, usually the documents they need are meeting minutes and municipal type documents, legal documents. It was personal,” she explained.
However, Lauter knew that this would be a difficult task.
“When they first came to City Hall, we didn’t think we could find him. That was the first thing I said, but I said I promise you that I will do my best to find him,” Lauter said.
Their suspicions were correct. It was not an easy find.
“I worked on this every single day. In every spare moment, I just kept calling and emailing and calling and searching,” she said. “At the nth hour, on the last day, she brought me photographs. I zoomed in and said, “I’m going to the cemetery.” Actually, I’m going to go and look for this tombstone, and I found it. We have contacted our staff. We’ve come here.
Bermuda never thought this day would come. The opportunity to finally stand at her brother’s grave at Forrest Hill Cemetery in Haynes City overwhelmed her with emotion.
“I was lost. I didn’t know where to start. But I’m glad it came, and I’m glad it happened before I was gone,” she said.
A successful Bermudez quest gives Lauter a sense of pride in her duty as a town clerk.
“I can’t explain it in words. I was ashamed to realize that I had such an impact on the family. And being a city clerk, my job and what I do, is much more important to me now, ”she said. added.
Their diligence finally allowed Bermudez to chat with her brother.
We asked her what she would say to Ricardo.
“Know that I am here now. Now you will have flowers. I want to tell him that very soon he will receive his stone,” she said.
Through her perseverance and love, it shows that the bond between these siblings is unbreakable.