Things That Matter

An El Paso Widower Made A Heartbreaking Plea For Strangers To Attend His Wife’s Funeral Because She Was His Only Family

The community of El Paso continues to mourn the loss of the victims from the massacre of nearly two weeks ago. But it’s not just the El Paso community that is in mourning, much of the nation (and, in fact, world) is mourning right there alongside El Paso. 

And thanks to one man’s heartbreaking tragedy, all of us are feeling the sorrows of El Paso. 

This man lost his wife in the El Paso Massacre and now he says he has no family left.

Antonio Basco had been sleeping on the pavement next to his wife’s new cross for nearly a week. The 61-year-old, who goes by Tony, isn’t sure what else to do. He’s been waking up next to Margie Reckard every morning since he met her 22 years ago in Omaha, Nebraska. “She was my world,” he said.

Basco and his wife, Margie Reckard, 63, met 22 years ago and quickly became inseparable. She became the love of his life and his only living relative, he said.

Upon news of the shooting at Walmart, Basco searched for Margie in local hospitals for hours, hoping to reunite with her, but the medical staff wouldn’t tell him anything. It wasn’t until Sunday that law enforcement officers contacted Basco and “told me that my wife had been murdered,” he said.

His wife who had been his angel, his partner and, without a doubt, the love of his life was not returning home.

To help celebrate his late wife’s memory, Antonio invited the whole community to her funeral.

When faced with the overwhelming task of planning his wife’s funeral, Basco realized that he didn’t really have anyone to invite. He decided to ask everyone, Harrison Johnson, the director of Perches Funeral Homes, told BuzzFeed News. So on Tuesday, the funeral home’s Facebook page posted details for the event and invited anyone to the service.

Since then, so many people have vowed to attend that the home said Wednesday night that it was moving the service to a larger venue.

“It’s going to be full,” Basco chuckled. “Makes me feel wonderful.”

Feeling this man’s grief, the community of El Paso rallied around him and vowed to attend the funeral.

The Facebook post and photo of Basco leaning over rows of glowing candles in front of his wife’s cross has now gone viral. More than 11,000 accounts have shared it, and scores of people from all over the US have left comments.

“We have people calling saying they’re flying in from all over — New Mexico, California, Nevada — and asking how to get here,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be an amazing turnout.”

Even people from as far as LA, New York, and even London, were finding ways to support this man in his time of need.

People from all over the world were tweeting their support. Many said they had sent flowers to the funeral home while some were flat out planning on flying into El Paso to attend the funeral.

And papers from the UK to Australia and across the US covered the man’s heartbreaking tragedy.

One woman on Twitter shared that she couldn’t make the service but had sent flowers to the funeral home instead.

In fact, more than 50 people have sent flowers to the funeral home and dozens more have sent cards and offered to help pay for the services.

Even Beto O’Rourke, who is an El Paso native, tweeted his support of Antonio.

The native of El Paso, who is also running for president, retweeted a news story about Antonio encouraging the public to show up and offer their support to the widower.

So many people are planning on attending his wife’s service, that the funeral home has had to change the location to a larger venue.

So many people have vowed to attend, the funeral director said, that the home said Wednesday night that it was moving the service to a larger venue. The chapel can hold about 250 worshippers, Johnson said, but they’re expecting “triple that.”

“I’ve been in this industry for 35 years. Never seen a funeral of this magnitude for a normal person, for not a high-profile citizen,” he added.

Although Antonio may have lost his wife and with her his last family member, he’s gained an entirely new family in the city of El Paso.

Tony Dickey, a chaplain for Disaster and Victim Services International, told CNN that crowds of strangers have approached Basco with words of support, or simply to offer a hug.

“He was basically just mumbling to himself that he had no one anymore, that she was everything he had. He didn’t know what he was going to do,” Dickey said about the day he met Basco. “He kept repeating that he was going to be so alone now.”Dickey said he told Basco, “No, they are your family. El Paso is now your family.”

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