He was near each and at occasions will get unhappy that he cannot speak to them, however a therapist has taught him to refocus his thoughts on blissful reminiscences when he will get down, Rodriguez mentioned. John smiles recalling a visit to the zoo, a toy they introduced him or when his mother and father instructed them to not deliver him hen nuggets or doughnut holes however they did anyway.
Considered one of John’s favourite reminiscences, he tells his mother and father, is once they took him to Gatorland and his grandmother — no fan of reptiles — “held a snake for me so I might a take an image whereas I used to be holding an alligator,” Rodriguez relayed to CNN.
It is doable they by no means will.
Like his son, Rodriguez, 41, misses them painfully, particularly on Saturdays once they’d come to his Miami house and spend the day, “breakfast by dinner,” taking part in video games, swimming or visiting the park, he mentioned.
“It was at all times good simply to be collectively,” he mentioned.
Rodriguez likes to consider the matriarchs — lovingly dubbed the “Dos Elenas” — handed peacefully, by no means waking when the constructing got here down, however his recurring nightmares inform him in another way. He can tamp his creativeness when he is awake and push the ideas out of his head, however they sneak up on him when he is sleeping,
“The very best I can describe it’s a mixture of (filmmakers) Michael Bay-and-Quentin Tarantino violence,” he mentioned. “I am contained in the condominium unit seeing it, they usually’re awake and operating and the small print are very, very vivid.”
A lot has occurred in a 12 months
Surfside will maintain a memorial Friday commemorating the lives of these misplaced. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell is slated to attend the occasion with Mayor Shlomo Danzinger, and First Woman Jill Biden is scheduled to ship remarks.
The cogs of presidency have been whirring for the final 12 months, attempting to ship some measure of reparation to the survivors and family members of these killed, however there hasn’t been a lot in the best way of accountability.
The legislation might result in substantial prices for 1000’s of apartment house owners throughout Florida, which initially led to an deadlock amongst lawmakers who ended the common session of the Legislature in March with out passing any modifications to state legislation. They sorted it out weeks later in a particular session.
“It isn’t an ideal answer,” mentioned state Sen. Jason Pizzo, whose district contains Surfside. “There are some powerful love measures, however the state has … a compelling curiosity to enhance and save folks’s lives that reside in cooperatives and condominiums — and this may try this.”
What it did not present is accountability for the collapse. Nor did the settlements, which didn’t delineate any blame.
‘Complete households had been misplaced’
Rodriguez has been combating closure. He thought he would possibly attain some semblance final month when he visited the Miami-Dade Police Division after being knowledgeable family members might decide up any belongings that had survived the collapse and made it by the decontamination course of.
The police had been heat and delicate, Rodriguez mentioned, however they did not disclose what had been recovered. Members of the family discovered solely once they arrived. Rodriguez collected a thumb drive — containing a couple of paperwork, no pictures — and a toaster oven. The merchandise with probably the most sentimental worth was his grandmother’s Ray-Ban aviators. The lenses had been scuffed, however the sun shades Elena Chavez wore on a regular basis had been in in any other case strong situation.
“Very shocking as a result of I anticipated the lenses to be popped out and the frames to be destroyed,” Rodriguez mentioned.
He is apprehensive in regards to the settlement course of — and never simply because the cash is being delivered to victims and survivors with out holding anybody to account. Much more disheartening is the prospect of proving to a court docket what his mom’s and grandmother’s lives had been price, he mentioned.
Florida legislation establishes limits on what youngsters and prolonged relations can acquire — which Rodriguez, a lawyer, finds “extraordinarily antiquated and out of contact with actuality,” particularly in a mass casualty occasion. He has till the center of subsequent month to submit his declare after which he’ll go earlier than a committee and a decide to ship his case for a portion of the settlement.
“It is positively one thing I am not wanting ahead to: sitting there in entrance of a gaggle of individuals and…” he paused, conceding he has but to gather his ideas. “I am not even certain what.”
To Rodriguez, it seems like firms concerned within the settlement are merely throwing cash at victims, hoping they will quietly go away, whereas grief-ridden family members are left to kind out who will get a minimize of the “monetary I am sorry,” he mentioned.
“Folks misplaced their youngsters, siblings, wives, husbands,” he mentioned. “Complete households had been misplaced, and everybody simply threw their fingers up and mentioned, ‘I am not accountable. Right here is my insurance coverage firm.'”
As for what’s going to ship closure, Rodriguez is uncertain. He visited a therapist shortly after the catastrophe, however he wasn’t in the precise mindset, he mentioned. He’ll attempt once more later.
“The closest factor can be having some type of accountability, however even then I am undecided that may deliver me the closure, however it would possibly deliver me a bit bit nearer,” he mentioned. “They proceed to say, ‘Time heals the whole lot,’ and over time I am certain that’s right, however approaching a 12 months now … I am not wherever close to being OK.”
CNN’s Leyla Santiago, Jaide Timm-Garcia, Carlos Suarez, Steve Contorno, Jamiel Lynch and Tina Burnside contributed to this report.