The last issue of every year, The Times offers a round-up of those who have passed away. It’s a mix of those we recognize, but others who are new to us.
This year, The Times added a lengthy beginning of those who died of COVID-19 or complications of the virus. Rodriguez’s story is one of various families who have lost members to some aspect of the virus. While reading the first part of the magazine, it was necessary to push away breakfast, and keep reading.
We had learned in March that Freddy Rodriguez, Sr., the superb musician who was a master of the tenor saxophone, had passed away. He and his band were known far and wide, especially at El Chapultepec (which has closed for various reasons, and another sad story in Denver’s history).
The writer of this opening compilation is Susan Dominus, who began working at The Times in 2007, and has been a staff writer for the newspaper’s Magazine since 2011. She has been a member of teams that have won three Pulitzer Prizes. But in this edition, her assignment was addressing what this country is losing.
The introduction noted this: “We spent Thanksgiving seven families for whom the holiday was defined by absence.” Reading this introduction is an eye-opener, but Dominus captured the personality of Rodriguez’s life, family and work — a mix of love and loss.
The person who took the photographs for this story is Trent Davis Bailey, who is “a photographer in Colorado whose work focuses on loss and trauma; environmental effects; and considerations of place, family and memory.” (The online magazine has extra photographs by Bailey, including the saxophone at the top of this post.)
The second part of the magazine — The Lives They Lived — includes those who have passed away this year, quite often known quite well, and others who are new to me. The end of the year – this year, this horrible year – has almost ended, and it is about time.