GOIAN BEGO: Jaime Brown Heguy (1993-2012)
Los Banos' Jaime Brown in her brief 19
years left quite an impression. She
embodied much of what our federation hopes
to accomplish: creating positive connections
among Basques throughout our various
story @ EuskalKazeta
As an international federation of Basque
organizations it is not possible to pay
proper respect to all those Basques who have
passed away; generally that is something
that is done at the local level among family
and friends. But the recent death of
Jaime Brown (Heguy) of Los Banos, California reminds us about
something special that we have as a Basque
community--a community that notices when
people die, and a culture that always allows us to
express ourselves beyond the spoken word in
music, song and
DOLUMENAK. First and foremost our condolences go out to Jaime's family and friends. She finally surrendered after a two year battle with cancer. In her young life Jaime had forged many a connection with people young and old, Basque and non-Basque alike. This was attested to by the overflow crowd at the funeral. As the priest presiding at the funeral mass Father Mike Lastiri stated: let us pray for the repose of Jaime's soul and for the consolation of her family and friends.
Jaime's friend Christian Jauregui dancing "Agurra" at the end of the service. The word "agur" in Basque doubles for both hello and goodbye. The dance is performed as a tribute.
RITUAL. When she was laid to rest on
Dec. 10, 2012 there was a huge outpouring of
support; Los Banos' St.
Joseph's Catholic Church was filled to
capacity with people from the local area but
also from many other parts of California and
beyond. Jaime was very active in her
local Basque club in Los Banos, and beyond
that forged bonds with many other
she also participated in NABO's Udaleku (Basque Summer Culture Camp) as one of our
aides working patiently and diligently with the kids in
her charge. It was an impressive
testament to her that so many young Basques
from outside Los Banos also made the trip
to her funeral.
Young dancers from various California Basque communities assembled to pay their last respects here holding hoops as a final tribute to their friend Jaime.
There are many strengths living when and where we do; for example, until recently, for many everyday life was much more harsh and many more generally lacked comfort, plenty and opportunity—just ask the older folks in our community how things were harder when they were young. However modern society has not yielded a perfect society nor will it ever: note that the word for this perfect society is ‘utopia’ that derives from an imaginary island. Thus every strength brings with it a weakness, and one of those is that in our modern, individualized and secular society, people can pass away with hardly anyone noticing. In our Basque community, however, this rarely happens, because people are still connected at a more local level—we know each other—and we still get together to partake of Basque and Catholic rituals that keep us connected. One of these rituals is that we go to funerals. They are not easy to attend because frankly they are sad events; Basque weddings are much more fun. But it is important that we participate in these rituals.
Klika members from San Francisco made the trip to play their last respects with music.
The funeral service was a celebration of
Jaime's life, and it was celebrated with
Basque music, song and dance. These
Basque rituals give us a means as a
community to express ourselves when finding
the words is difficult or when words are not
enough. During the funeral mass Klika
players played the bugle and drums while
dancers held hoops as an honor guard for
their departed friend. Txistu music
was played, and Basque was the main language
for the mass songs. It was a nice
touch that people were able to respond in
non-verbal ways. At the reception, for
example, it became apparent how fortunate
Basques are to have these alternative means
of communicating. Not all cultures offer as many options,
Rodney Gallop noted a century ago when he
referred to Basques has having a "living museum"
of continuing many traditions that many of their
neighbors had let go. Basque culture
affords various non-verbal ways of
expressing ourselves. For example, the
Basque dance "Agurra" is a performed as a
tribute in place of giving a speech, as was
done at the Funeral Mass.
Several hundred people attended, Basque but mostly non-Basque. It was impressive that a group of family friends got together to make the meal for so many; others put together audio and visual remembrances as well. But it was a nice touch that Basques were able to fulfill Jamie's family's request to dance a few of her favorite dances.
The family requested that dancers perform some of Jaime's favorite dances, that included this Fandango at the reception.
Jaime's death leaves a void and it is not
easy for her family and friends without her
around. She didn't have much time with
us, but she made quite a positive
impression. There's a good lesson in
that as well.
He knew that
you were suffering
It broke our
hearts to lose you