Ortiz-Sandoval's mother, a few of her nine siblings and her daughter, Lydia Cardenas, listened to the priest.
In Spanish and English, he told stories of the 55-year-old's passion for life, and her courage in battling the aggressive liver cancer that ultimately took it.
acknowledged the family's suffering and the difficult task of grieving and burying a loved one in the time of coronavirus
-- and said words you wouldn't expect to hear at a funeral, reminding family members repeatedly to stay home, wear masks, and even to save the masks they wore on this day as mementos of how their sacrifice helped save lives
After the Mass, a line of friends and family watched from across the parking lot of McKenzie Mortuary Services in Long Beach, California, as Ortiz-Sandoval's orchid-pink coffin was carried into a hearse. The procession, escorted by police, drove to the Forest Lawn cemetery in Cypress.
There, again, most of Ortiz-Sandoval's family had to stay behind.
The precautions were taken, of course, so this funeral wouldn't
unwittingly become a breeding ground in the pandemic that already had claimed more than 100,000 lives
in the United States alone
In Illinois, three people had
died and 16 were infected after attending a funeral
and another event, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. In Georgia, about 20 cases had been traced back
to a double memorial. And in Mississippi, a single funeral had sparked "many, many cases," with the state's health officer saying, "We don't want a funeral to lead to more funerals."
But however necessary, funeral restrictions have forced loved ones to make trade-offs in their darkest hours, often forgoing comforting traditions and limiting circles of support. The added discipline, though, also has managed to open new avenues for grieving and for celebrating lives that ended in this historic time, whether because of the coronavirus or not.
The social distancing measures weighed heavily on Cardenas, 22, who organized her late mother's funeral with help from her aunt and her mom's fiancé, Jeff Burson. As much as it hurt to not be able to give Ortiz-Sandoval the send-off she deserved, her daughter said, the measures were not too harsh.
"I wouldn't want to expose my family, my loved ones to anything," she said. "But I also don't agree with it for the fact that so many public spaces are open, but a cemetery, which is open-air, is limited to 10 per funeral. It's just not ideal."
Stay-at-home measures were also not ideal in the weeks preceding Ortiz-Sandoval's death.
"We had planned on getting married, but the coronavirus kind of put a damper on that," Burson said, tearing up.
Ortiz-Sandoval, originally from Mexicali, Mexico, and raised in Southern California, loved sinking her feet in beach sand. "We'd be driving on the freeway, and she'd just spontaneously, you know, want to go to the beach," Burson said.