Brought together by tragedy

Family and friends gather inside St. Catherine of Siena Parish for the viewing of Griselda Sandoval. Photo: Jose Romero



Gathered together by a side entrance of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, her family said a short prayer as the body of Griselda Sandoval was brought in to the church.


Hundreds gathered in support of the family to pray for Sandoval’s soul –in tradition with Catholicism– during a viewing on Monday, July 2 in Reseda, Calif.


Sandoval died on Monday, June, 25 during a vehicle collision when a suspected drunken driver struck the passenger side, according to authorities.


Samuel Arreguin,30, grew up with Sandoval and remembered her peaceful nature as he stood in the back of the church.


“I never saw her fight with anyone,” Arreguin said. “She was peaceful and cheerful.”


He, as well as the rest of the Sandoval family, has turned to religion in order to make sense of everything.


“We are letting God watch over us and get us through this,” Arreguin said. “God is going to make this better.


Sandoval is survived by her 6-year-old son Andres Ruiz who wore all white and crystal rosary on Monday night.


He was all smiles as his grandfather Rodolfo Sandoval chased him around the church.


At 6, he was not phased by the circumstances and not fully aware that his mother would not be coming back.


It was all too real for Emma Sandoval, Griselda’s mother who found comfort in her husband’s arms.


Emma held back her tears but could not hide her emotion while the congregation recited “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Hail Mary.”


Rodolfo remembers his daughter when he looks at his grandson.


“He was her life,” Sandoval said. “Andres, school, and work was all Griselda had time for.”


She would soon find time for her husband, as Sandoval was scheduled to get married on Saturday, June 30, only days before she died, according to family.


Enmeida Aguilar,31, arrived at the parish to support her cousin, Joana Mora, Sandoval’s older sister.


Aguilar and Mora went to school together but lost touch after graduating from California State University Northridge.


Aguilar texted Mora when she found out about the accident and offered her condolences.


When they finally saw each other Monday night, Mora apologized for not responding to her text.


“That just shows how loving the Sandovals are,” Aguilar said. “Even in this time, they are thinking about others.”


Sandoval was buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery located in Mission Hills, Calif. on Tuesday.




A funeral wreath donated by Mimi’s Cafe where Griselda Sandoval worked. Photo: Jose Romero